The New York Giants report to training camp in just two days, and our position preview series stops today at cornerback.
Who's in the slot? A year ago, the Giants had signed former Seahawk Walter Thurmond specifically to man the nickel cornerback role -- a role at which he was among the best in the league. Thurmond got hurt in the second game and missed the rest of the season, so that didn't work out. This year, no one was brought in specifically for that role, but McBride, who took over in the slot after Thurmond got hurt (and before he suffered his own season-ending injury), is probably the leading candidate for the role, though Harris and Gordy also have been mentioned by coaches as possibilities. McBride is a bit undersized and has injury issues, but when he has been on the field the past couple of years the Giants have been impressed with his work ethic, his attitude and his physicality. I wouldn't be surprised to see him win the job.
Can the starters stay healthy?: Not to sound like a broken record, but a year ago, cornerback depth appeared to be a clear strength of the Giants. Not only had they signed Thurmond for the slot, but they had also signed Rodgers-Cromartie to start alongside Amukamara and added veteran Zack Bowman for depth. This year, as you can see from that list above, there's less experience behind the starters, which makes it even more important that they stay healthy. Amukamara has played a full 16-game season just once in his four-year career and missed the final eight games of 2014 with a torn biceps tendon. He's back healthy, but he has to stay that way if he wants to talk to the team about a long-term free-agent contract next spring. Rodgers-Cromartie didn't miss any games in his first season as a Giant, but persistent back and leg injuries limited him severely in quite a few games, and he believes he'll be better this season if he can stay away from the nagging stuff. The gap between the starters and the backups has widened this year, and these two guys are under a lot of pressure to play every game.
Last chance: Hosley might have been cut last year if he hadn't been suspended for the first four games for a drug offense. By the time he came off suspension, injuries had created an opening for him, so the disappointing 2012 third-round pick was able to stay around. But even with the team desperate for help at his position in the final month of the season, Hosley was a weekly fixture on the inactive list. He would have to blow everyone away in camp (or benefit once again from other people's injuries) in order to make the team. If they do cut ties with him, that would leave just seven of the 38 players the Giants drafted between 2008-12 on the roster -- a number that could fall as low as five depending on whether fellow 2012 picks Adrien Robinson and Brandon Mosley stick.