Camp preview: Defensive backs

July, 24, 2013
7/24/13
9:00
AM ET
As training camp approaches, we're counting down to camp by taking a look at the Giants, position by position.

Position: Defensive backs.

Projected starters: CB Corey Webster, CB Prince Amukamara, S Antrel Rolle, S Stevie Brown.

Projected reserves: CB Aaron Ross, CB Jayron Hosley, CB Terrell Thomas, S Ryan Mundy, S Will Hill, S Cooper Taylor, S Tyler Sash, CB Terrence Frederick, DB Laron Scott, CB Antonio Dennard, DB Trumaine McBride, DB Charles James, DB Junior Mertile, DB Alonzo Tweedy, DB David Caldwell.

New faces: Ross, Mundy, Taylor, Dennard, McBride, James, Mertile, Tweedy, Caldwell.

Going, going, gone: Kenny Phillips, Justin Tryon, Brian Witherspoon.

Player to watch: Webster. The Giants need a big-time bounce-back season from Webster. According to ProFootballFocus.com, Webster allowed eight touchdown receptions, tied for second-most among cornerbacks. The website also had Webster ranked last against the run with one tackle for a loss among the 26 cornerbacks on the field for 75 percent of run plays. Webster, who broke his hand early in the season but kept playing, is still considered the Giants’ top corner and has to play like it for Perry Fewell’s defense to improve upon last year’s 31st ranking in total defense.

[+] EnlargeCorey Webster
Jim O'Connor/USA TODAY SportsCan Corey Webster bounce back in the Giants' secondary? Big Blue needs him to rebound.
Potential strength: The Giants have the ability to create turnovers in the secondary. Brown had eight interceptions and 307 return yards last season, and Webster added four picks. Rolle hopes to roam and be more of a playmaker and cover less in the slot. If Webster plays closer to his normal form, Prince and Hosley continue to improve and Thomas can come back healthy, the Giants’ secondary has the potential to be much better. Safeties coach Dave Merritt said the Giants might use a defensive back to play the third safety role but added that Mundy impressed in OTAs and minicamp.

Potential weakness: Health and depth at corner. Without knowing how Thomas’ comeback will play out, the Giants basically have four cornerbacks with experience in Webster, Amukamara, Ross and Hosley. One or two injuries to that group will seriously hurt the Giants' secondary. Losing Phillips’ experience at safety also could have an impact, especially with the chemistry in the back of the defense. Hill will have to serve a four-game suspension to start the season. And if Webster is on the decline and doesn't rebound from last year, the Giants' secondary could be in for a long season.

Wild card: Thomas. If Thomas’ third comeback from an ACL injury is a successful one, the Giants’ secondary will greatly benefit. Thomas can help at corner, in the slot and even perhaps as a third safety. Before getting injured, Thomas was one of the Giants’ best tacklers. Thomas could be the difference between a solid secondary and a good one. "The Giants have a great plan for me this upcoming season," Thomas blogged on his website. "We are going to start off slow like counting my reps and going in that direction. I am excited about camp starting this week, I feel like a big question mark on defense and I love it... I feel like I am the X factor for the defense, I think I can be a big key for our defense this year as far as my physical play combined with my knowledge, communication and leadership skills."

Tell us what you think of the secondary going into camp.
Ohm Youngmisuk has covered the Giants, Jets and the NFL since 2006. Prior to that, he covered the Nets, Knicks and the NBA for nearly a decade. He joined ESPNNewYork.com after working at the New York Daily News for almost 12 years and is a graduate of Michigan State University.
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