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Tuesday, July 15, 2014
Giants roster preview: Linebackers

By Dan Graziano
ESPN.com

Two weeks ago, we took a position-by-position look at the New York Giants' offense heading into training camp. We're doing the same with the defense this week, one position group per day. Today, it's the linebackers' turn.

Projected starters: Jon Beason (inj.), Jameel McClain, Jacquian Williams

Projected backups: Spencer Paysinger, Mark Herzlich, Devon Kennard

Others competing for spots: Spencer Adkins, Justin Anderson, Dan Fox, Terrell Manning

Beason is hoping to return in time for Week 1 and resume his starting middle linebacker role. If he can't, McClain will move to the middle and either Paysinger or Kennard would start in his place on the strong side. Williams is the leading candidate to start on the weak side, though Paysinger could beat him out for that spot in camp. Even if that happens, the Giants likely would still use Williams on the weak side when they go to their nickel packages.

Herzlich hasn't contributed much as a linebacker, but he's a decent enough backup and his performance on special teams likely makes his spot on the roster safe. Kennard was a fifth-round pick this year and opened eyes in minicamp. He could move up the depth chart quickly. Among the others, Fox is somewhat interesting, but it's a tough road for anyone from that group to make a roster that's going to have to strain to carry six linebackers as is.