The Final 53 – Who's in and who's out - Part 1

The Final 53 – Who's in and out on New York's roster? Part 1 of 2. Let's start with the offense...

First a little background. Each summer the New York Giants beat-writers compete in what is called a roster pool. The goal is to predict New York's final roster before kickoff of the opening preseason game. Obviously the person who comes the closest is deemed the winner. Since all writers are such upstanding citizens, there is no monetary reward, unless you win of course.

Bergen Record NFL columnist Vinny DiTrani was a dynasty of sorts when he covered the Giants full-time. But the competition has opened up some the last couple years, enough so that yours truly has even taken the prize.

Fortunately for those reading along, my original list has already been scrapped. The list that follows includes two preseason games as evidence. That should help us all out – hopefully!

Here goes with New York's final roster breakdown.

QBs – If only all positions were this easy to handicap. The only question regarding the QBs is whether or not Jesse Palmer can hold onto the backup job. So far, he's given every indication that he can and will, leaving Jason Garrett as the third-stringer, behind Kerry Collins, of course.
Total QBs – 3: Collins, Palmer, Garrett.

RBs – The locks are obvious – Tiki Barber and Ron Dayne will open the season as New York's twin tailbacks. Behind them, it seems like Damon Washington and Sean Bennett are pretty safe as well. Jim Fassel has said this is his deepest group of running backs since he's been here. He normally likes to keep only five. But with a fullback also required, Fassel may add Delvin Joyce or Antonio Warren to the mix as a sixth RB, especially if they can help out on special teams. The biggest question is whether New York's starting fullback will be Charles Stackhouse or Darian Barnes. The Giants liked Stackhouse a lot coming out of college, but love what they've seen of Barnes since signing him the day camp opened. We're sticking with Stackhouse.
Total RBs – 6: Barber, Dayne, Washington, Bennett, Stackhouse, Warren

WRs – This is another position where Fassel would like to keep only five, but will be forced to keep six. The starters – Amani Toomer and Ike Hilliard – are safe. So are the draft picks – Tim Carter and Daryl Jones. That leaves either one or two spots for Ron Dixon and Jonathan Carter. Since Dixon has had such a good camp and preseason and Carter figures prominently in the club's kickoff return plans, it says here that both will make it. Sean Riley and Derek Dorris have both been impressive at times, but there are no openings this year.
Total WRs – 6: Toomer, Hilliard, Tim Carter, Daryl Jones, Ron Dixon, Jonathan Carter

TEs – I guess it's pretty safe to say that Jeremy Shockey will be on the final roster, don't you think? Dan Campbell has shown enough ability to stick around as a fullback/H-back. Marcellus Rivers should also be kept as the club's third TE, but the coaching staff would like to see a little more consistency from Rivers.
Total TEs – 3: Shockey, Campbell, Rivers

OL – Instead of struggling to cut down the final number of linemen, New York's going to have a tough time determining exactly who's worthy of staying. The top six, which includes Mike Rosenthal, are safe, although the health status of starting C Dusty Zeigler could throw everything out of whack. If third-round pick Jeff Hatch is healthy enough, he's also in. Tam Hopkins appears to have proven enough in the first couple of weeks to warrant a spot. But New York usually keeps at least nine, if not 10, offensive linemen. This is where it becomes a crapshoot. Does New York keep a tackle (Andy Stensrud), a guard (Pat Crummey) or a center (Terance Wagner)? We're saying it's going to be Stensrud.
Total OL – 9: Luke Petitgout, Rich Seubert, Zeigler, Jason Whittle, Chris Bober, Rosenthal, Hatch, Hopkins, Stensrud

Check in later today for Part 2 - The Defense...

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