John Fennelly, Lead Writer
When it comes down to predicting the Giants’ final roster every year, there are several pervading themes one must keep in mind.
First, GM Jerry Reese coddles his draft picks. Second, the players kept have to possess the ability to play more than one position (in most cases).
This year’s roster consists of both of those types. This logic has kept the Giants competitive for the past decade or so. Here’s my take on how the Giants’ arrived at these 53 players…
QB – Eli has not missed a game since 2004, so backing him up, to some, might be considered an afterthought. Curtis Painter outplayed David Carr this preseason, but not by much. Painter was Manningized by Peyton in Indianapolis and may be better suited as a caddy for Eli going forward. Ryan Nassib looked lost at times this summer, but Reese spent two draft picks on him, so his spot was never really in jeopardy.
RB – David Wilson was a first-round pick and the Giants are treating him like one. He’s going to get the ball – a lot. Andre Brown will probably go on temporary IR, so rookie Michael Cox and Da’Rel Scott will get his touches until he returns. Scott was probably going to be cut, but a solid performance in the final preseason game (plus Brown’s injury) saved him. He and Cox will be used as KRs as well. FB Henry Hynoski was the only pure fullback on the roster. He should be ready for this week’s game.
WR – The only bubble player here was Jerrel Jernigan, a former third-rounder who the Giants are going to give another shot to. He isn’t going to see a whole lot of passes with Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz, Rueben Randle and Louis Murphy around. His ability as a returner is what the Giants’ value most. Ramses Barden is still with the team, btw. He was placed on IR with a knee injury. Kevin Hardy had a good camp, but in the end there was just room for him.
TE – Let’s be clear. Larry Donnell earned his way on the team this summer. Brandon Myers’ poor blocking and Adrien Robinson’s foot injury made his selection a slam dunk. Bear Pascoe is the best of the group, but his availability at TE depends on Hynoski’s status.
OL – The Giants love David Diehl, so get over yourself. He’s got one year left on his deal and both sides plan on honoring that. David Baas, Chris Snee, Will Beatty, Kevin Boothe and top pick Justin Pugh were all locks. The Giants have invested a lot in James Brewer, so he was being kept. Brandon Mosley played well this summer and the Giants like his potential. That left Jim Cordle, who made the team because of Baas’ injury history. Many felt rookie Eric Herman might crack the roster, and some day he may, but he’s likely to be a member of the practice squad.
DE – JPP is a superstar, Justin Tuck is the captain, Mathias Kiwanuka is a former first-rounder and Damontre Moore has unlimited potential. Add to the equation that Cullen Jenkins can slide over and there’s little room for anyone else. Of the remaining group, Justin Trattou played the best and took the final roster spot.
DT – Jenkins leads the group of “big guys” as Reese would put it. Shaun Rogers and Mike Patterson played too well this camp to part ways with. That left three second-rounders to fill two spots. Jonathan Hankins and Linval Joseph won out over Marvin Austin, who the Giants tried to trade yesterday afternoon. The group is much improved over last year, which was the goal.
LB – The sore spot. Keeping only five LBs is practically unheard of, but why keep a player if you have better ones at other positions? Mark Herzlich amped up his game after losing his spot to free agent Dan Connor. Mission accomplished by Reese. Spencer Paysinger, Jacquain Williams are both a year better and Keith Rivers actually showed some signs of life this camp. Too bad Kyle Bosworth had to go, because he played well on both defense and specials this summer.
S- Only three, which sounds crazy, but it will only be for the first four weeks until Will Hill returns from suspension. Antrel Rolle and Ryan Mundy are being backed up by rookie Cooper Taylor, who has all of one preseason game under his belt. Cross your fingers.
CB – Prince Amkamara had a strong camp. Corey Webster did not but is still a starter. Aaron Ross and Terrell Thomas are back, and will help out at safety as well. Veteran Trumaine McBride simply played his way onto the roster. Still convinced Jayron Hosley is too short, but as a third-round pick he had some latitude and made the roster.
The specialist jobs were never in question. K Josh Brown, P Steve Weatherford and LS Zak DeOssie were basically uncontested all summer.