EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- In 2012, Jayron Hosley was a New York Giants third-round draft pick who showed promise. In 2013, he was an injury headache. When 2014 dawned, he was on the roster bubble and facing a four-game drug suspension to start the year. Hosley's is not a career that has trended in the right direction.
But injuries constantly create opportunity in the NFL, and with nickel cornerbacks Walter Thurmond and Trumaine McBride out for the year, Hosley has ascended to the role of nickel corner for the Giants as they prepare for Sunday's game against the Dallas Cowboys.
"I grew in that position, learned to play that position and I feel more comfortable there than I did my rookie year," Hosley said Wednesday. "So at this point, I feel more prepared. Just being able to see things and recognize things and not worry about what you're doing as much as what the offense is doing."
Hosley might not have made the team at all if not for the suspension, which allowed the Giants to delay a roster decision on him until such time as Thurmond was on injured reserve and they needed him to back up McBride. After McBride broke his thumb in Sunday night's loss to the Eagles, Hosley became even more important to the Giants, and he said he's fully ready to go in spite of missing those first four weeks.
"It was a long four weeks," Hosley said. "I worked out and I was in shape, but it's football, and you can't just show up and expect things to go your way. I'm in better football shape now."
The Giants are thin overall at cornerback. Starting outside corner Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie came out of Sunday night's game with back spasms and missed practice Wednesday with continued back and hamstring issues. If Rodgers-Cromartie can't go, the Giants' nickel defense would feature Zack Bowman and Prince Amukamara in the outside corner spots with Hosley in the slot.