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2017 NFL preseason: Giants positional battles to watch

There will be plenty of players gunning for roster spots in the coming weeks.
Geno Smith (3) will have to earn his place on the Giants' roster this preseason. (Photo: Getty Images)

While the New York Giants will finally be playing against other teams once their preseason starts, there will be plenty of competition within the roster as countless hopefuls look to either solidify their spot as a top option or just to simply make the team. 

Here are some of the most intriguing positional battles to watch heading into the exhibition season:

 

Who is Eli Manning's main backup?

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For the 14th-straight season, Eli Manning will be the main man under center as he looks to continue his impressive streak of 192-consecutive games played. 

But the situation behind him is a little murky. 

The Giants have a trio of arms vying to be the No. 2 quarterback on the depth chart while two of them are attempting to just stay on the roster. 

Regardless of performance, Davis Webb's spot on the roster is likely safe. The rookie was drafted in the third round out of Cal and is viewed to be Manning's successor as Giants starting quarterback.

That leaves Josh Johnson and former Jets starting quarterback Geno Smith to duke it out for the third and probably final QB spot. 

Johnson hasn't appeared in an NFL game since 2013 with the Cincinnati Bengals. Appearing in 29 games in a four-year stretch beginning in 2009, Johnson completed 54.2-percent of his passes with five touchdowns and 10 interceptions. 

Smith has played in just three games since 2015, a disappointing end to a Jets tenure that began with him holding the starting job for two seasons.

 

Battle for free safety is on

Darian Thompson was expected to be New York's starting free safety last season after being taken in the third round of the 2016 draft. 

However, the injury bug limited his season to just two games, leaving the Giants looking for answers at the free safety position. 

In stepped undrafted rookie Andrew Adams out of UConn, who performed admirably in Thompson's absence. In 14 games, he recorded 44 total tackles, five pass breakups and an interception as a part of the team's resurgent secondary.

Given his performance last season, Thompson's hold on the starting job likely won't be as firm as it was, which makes the preseason an important one for the two free safeties.