The New York Giants have completed two of their five preseason games. With less than a month to go before the Sept. 8 regular-season opener vs. the Detroit Lions let's update our 53-man roster projection. The farther along we get in the preseason the tougher some of these choices are becoming, and I have at least one omission to this roster that even I am not happy about.
For reference, here is my last 53-man roster projection.
Despite Curtis Painter going 7-for-7 in the game-winning drive Saturday vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers I still don't see the Giants keeping three quarterbacks. I have said all along that if the Giants keep only two quarterbacks Ryan Nassib is the second guy no matter what Painter does in the preseason. Even though Painter took second-team reps Monday I am not backing off that yet. It is going to take more than one day to make me believe the Giants keep three quarterbacks again.
Running Back (4)
Change: Kendall Gaskins in
The loss of David Wilson opens a spot here, and I have that going to Gaskins instead of second-year man Michael Cox. Gaskins carried 10 times for 46 yards Saturday, and added three catches for 19 more yards. Gaskins has 51 yards in 15 carries through two games (3.4 yards per carry). Cox has just seven yards in 15 carries (0.5 yards per carry). Of course, Andre Brown is also now available after being cut by the Houston Texans.
The fullback competition between Henry Hynoski and John Conner is too close to call. For our purposes, though, I will stick with Hynoski simply because he seems to be getting more reps and snaps with the first team. The choice here could just as easily be Conner. Could the Giants keep both fullbacks rather than a fourth true running back like Gaskins? Theoretically that is possible, but it seems unlikely.
Tight End (3)
It seems more and more likely that the Giants will be scouring the waiver wire for a tight end when teams begin making cuts later this month. Donnell is inconsistent. Robinson isn't getting the job done, and still isn't moving up the depth chart. Fells missed Saturday's game with a knee injury. There is nothing special about Kellen Davis. Xavier Grimble has missed considerable time with a hamstring injury.
Wide Receiver (6)
Odell Beckham Jr.
Change: Mario Manningham out, Marcus Harris and Corey Washington in
Manningham isn't showing much thus far. Harris was terrific in the Hall of Fame Game and had a great week of practice before being blanked by the Steelers. Harris is getting looks as a punt gunner and forced a fair catch Saturday. Washington has made impressive touchdown catches in each preseason game, including a game-winner on Saturday. The 6-foot-4 Washington had a spectacular practice on Monday while getting first-team reps. Until now I have had him going to the practice squad. The more you watch him, though, the more you think he won't get there if the Giants cut him.
Offensive Line (9)
I don't know what to do here when it comes to the reserve linemen. Charles Brown and John Jerry, brought in to provide experienced depth, have yet to impress. Second-year man Eric Herman is suspended for the first four games. I will leave this group alone for now, but I'm pretty sure this won't be the final group.
Defensive Tackle (5)
Jay Bromley has been very impressive in the first two preseason games. He might develop faster than had been anticipated. Patterson has not practiced since before the Hall of Fame Game due to a shoulder injury. Perhaps it is time to be concerned about the veteran defensive tackle.
Defensive End (4)
Damontre Moore has looked good. So has Mathias Kiwanuka. Jason Pierre-Paul is looking healthy. Robert Ayers got his first game action vs. Pittsburgh.
With uncertainty over the health and availability of Jon Beason to start the season the Giants have to keep six linebacker. Mark Herzlich would be the one guy in jeopardy, and the challenge at this point appears to be coming from Spencer Adkins. Right now, though, there is no reason to think Herzlich won't keep his job.
Charles James muffed a punt vs. Pittsburgh, but he still belongs in this group of cornerbacks. I still don't see how sixth-round pick Bennett Jackson makes the roster. Jayron Hosley? Suspended for the first four regular-season games, terrible in the first two preseason games. Do we need to say more?
Change: Berhe out
When you add somewhere, you have to subtract somewhere else. In this roster projection I added a sixth wide receiver to make room on the roster for Washington, who is becoming increasingly difficult to cut. The result of that is that Berhe, the fifth-round pick, doesn't make the roster. Do I like cutting him? Not at all. Berhe is a good player and deserves a spot. If this scenario plays out I believe there is a strong chance the Giants lose Berhe via a waiver claim before they can get him to the practice squad.
There are a couple of other things that could happen. If Patterson doesn't get healthy soon the Giants could go with four defensive tackles. They could also drop a cornerback, in which case James or McBride would end up as the odd man out. As I said above, I don't see going with five linebackers due to concerns about Beason.
P -- Steve Weatherford
I think Brandon McManus deserves to be the kicker on somebody's NFL roster. I just don't see how the Giants cut a reliable, proven veteran like Brown. McManus can boom the ball, but Brown has matched him kickoff-for-kickoff, and maybe even been a little better in that department. Brown is also still capable of hitting field goals from beyond 50 yards. With all of that in mind, I think Brown keeps the job.