During the 2011 season the New York Giants watched one cornerback after another go down to injuries, including starter Terrell Thomas and 2011 first-round draft choice Prince Amukamara. The Giants went from a situation where they looked to have tremendous depth at the position to being forced to use safety Antrel Rolle as a slot cornerback for much of the season.
Aaron Ross played well in Thomas' spot last season, but left for the Jacksonville Jaguars in free agency during the offseason. Despite that loss, the Giants appears to be well-stocked at the cornerback position entering the 2012 season.
Let's take a quick look at the depth chart entering training camp.
Likely Starters: Corey Webster, Terrell Thomas
New Faces: Antwaun Molden (free-agent signee); Dante Hughes (free-agent signee); Jayron Hosley (third-round draft choice); Janzen Jackson (UDFA)
Remaining Reserves: Prince Amukamara, Justin Tryon, Michael Coe, Bruce Johnson, Brandon Bing
Webster is the leader of this group. A seven-year veteran, he led the Giants with a career-best six interceptions last season, and had 11 passes defensed. Quarterbacks had a 71.6 passer rating targeting Webster last season.
Thomas appeared headed for stardom after a terrific 2010 season, but a torn ACL in the preseason cost him the 2011 season. Thomas is intent on re-claiming his starting job, for which he will have to fight Amukamara.
The 2011 first-round pick broke his foot in training camp last season and missed the first nine games. He played in only seven games and did fare particularly well. Amukamara should be healthy entering training camp, and the Giants hope to see the form that made him the 19th overall selection in the 2011 NFL Draft.
Hosley is a diminutive 5-foot-10, 178-pound corner from Virginia Tech who was selected in the third round. He will compete for time as a slot corner, helping to free Rolle to play his natural safety position.
Molden, a four-year veteran and Hughes, a five-year veteran, were signed as free agents in the offseason and will compete for roster spots as reserves.
Tryon, Coe and Johnson all finished last season on injured reserve. Brandon Bing, a Rutgers grad, was on the Giants' practice squad last season. All four of them will fight Molden, Hughes and Jackson for spots on the roster.
If Thomas and Amukamara are healthy the Giants should have an outstanding trio of cornerbacks -- a necessity for a quality defense in today's NFL. Hosley could find a role covering slot receivers when the Giants go to nickel or dime defensive packages.
Tryon is a favorite of fans and coaches after displaying his toughness a season ago by making a tackle on special teams despite having suffered a broken arm that cost him the remainder of the season. He is also a good player and should find his way onto the roster.
That would leave the remaining players fighting to make the roster.