The New York Giants have to cut their roster to 53 players today, and I am on record as saying that fullback Nikita Whitlock needs to be one of those 53. In my final roster projection I have the Giants doing that by making the unusual decision this day and age of keeping two fullbacks. Our man Alex has trashed that idea. Art Stapleton of The Record isn't buying it, either.
In a league that continues to phase out the fullback, I do find it humorous there is even thought given to Giants keeping not one, but two.— Art Stapleton (@art_stapleton) September 5, 2015
Here's the thing. Whether it's one fullback, two fullbacks or no fullbacks the idea is to keep players who can help you win football games. The Giants, in case you somehow haven't been paying attention, haven't done very much of that the past two seasons.
Why am I so adamant about the idea of finding a way to keep Whitlock, a 24-year-old converted defensive tackle who was on the Dallas Cowboys practice squad before ending up in the same spot with the Giants last year? Because if the Giants keep him he will find a way to help them football games. That's why.
Watch the kid play. He's all out on every play. Whether that's at fullback, where he tries to hit anything that moves as hard as he can, or on special teams, where he seems to be around the ball on every play, he is constantly doing things that help football teams. It was fun to watch him even try to play defensive tackle the other night at 250 pounds. That isn't something he could do in real games, but it shows the lengths to which he will go to try to make, and help, a football team.
I will say it again, because it is the crux of what this is about. Whitlock is the kind of player you win with.
Would the Giants actually keep two fullbacks? Tom Coughlin is a coach who remembers a different era, and he is one of the few who just might.
"There have been times when teams have kept more than one fullback; that certainly is nothing unusual," Coughlin said. "Obviously, they were then categorized as worthy in terms of being --- whether you rank them 1 through 53 or however, they are worthy of being on the team, so that is not something unusual if in fact those players have fallen into the top part of your evaluation."
If the Giants keep just one fullback, it brings to bear an agonizing, and unexpected, decision between Whitlock and incumbent Henry Hynoski. The popular Hynoski is one of the league's better fullbacks. He is an excellent blocker, a capable pass receiver and can get a tough yard or two running the ball. He is also a good guy. Thing is, it appears all of those qualities also apply to Whitlock.
I honestly don't know how the Giants figure it out. And Hynoski is a guy who is more than deserving on an NFL job. All I know is the Giants are making a mistake if they lose Whitlock to another NFL team.
UPDATE 10:21 a.m. ET: It looks like Whitlock is making the roster.
Giants released FB Henry Hynoski.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 5, 2015