COOPER TAYLOR, S A last chance to make a first...

A last chance to make a first impression for the fifth-round draft pick who has missed the first three preseason games with a hamstring injury. With Stevie Brown gone for the year and Will Hill suspended for the first four weeks, the Giants are looking for reliable depth at the position and a possible candidate for their three-safety looks. | Credit: James Escher

As a safety, Cooper Taylor is used to being the last line of defense. But being the only one? That’s a little jarring.

So when the rookie looked at the depth chart after this weekend’s cuts and realized that he’s the only other true safety on the roster besides starters Antrel Rolle and Ryan Mundy, it caught his attention.

“It’s something you definitely see, that there are no other guys with me behind them,” Taylor said. “But we have a lot of good veteran DBs to teach me and hopefully school me up. It’s a learning process every day now.”

The Giants used a three-safety look on the field in recent years. This week they're going with a three-safety look on their 53-man roster. Tom Coughlin said there are others who can play safety, they just aren’t listed that way. Nor will they practice the position.

“It will be more of a classroom knowledge type thing and you may get a couple (or reps), but that will be the extent of it,” he said of using cornerbacks such as Terrell Thomas and Aaron Ross at safety. In fact, Antrel Rolle said he started calling Thomas “Little ‘Trel” because he has so many possible roles in the defense.

"It doesn’t matter if we keep one safety or two safeties, we’ll find a way to make it work," Rolle said. "That’s what we do in our defense ... We have depth at each and every position, and more importantly I think we have the right guys here."

The Giants also have Will Hill on the reserve/suspended list for four weeks. They like Jawanza Starling, a rookie from USC who was signed to the practice squad. And they have the option of bringing in a veteran safety if they need to.

Taylor, a fifth-round pick this spring, said his job is to make sure none of that is required.

“With two established vets like Ryan Mundy and Antrel, I’d love to see them play the whole year and both go to the Pro Bowl,” he said. “But as an athlete I’d like to get in there and compete as well. I think I have to start first on special teams and show the coaches from there.”

Maybe he can even develop his own niche in the defense.

“I hope so,” he said. “I don’t know yet. I think as the year goes on if I show I can compete at this level consistently I think I can fit in somewhere … I guess I was able to show enough in the one (preseason) game and practices and hopefully I’ll be able to establish myself here in the next few weeks.”

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