The New York Giants’ offseason workouts are over and they have begun their summer “prep-cation.” Let’s send the Giants into summer with a post-mandatory minicamp 53-man roster projection.
This, basically, would be how I would structure the roster today. Injuries, training camp and preseason performances and any acquisitions made along the way will, of course, change things. For now, though, this is what it might look like.
Quarterback (2) — Eli Manning, Ryan Nassib
I have a suspicion that the Giants would like to keep a third quarterback. B.J. Daniels, though, is not that guy.
Running back (4) — Rashad Jennings, Shane Vereen, Andre Williams, Paul Perkins
I am really torn here. If you read my recent profile of Orleans Darkwa you know I think he’s a good player who deserves a roster spot. I simply don’t think there is one for him with the Giants as long as they are committed to keeping Williams. The other thing is that it’s apparent offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan likes Bobby Rainey, who played for him when Sullivan was offensive coordinator of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I just don’t see where Rainey fits unless there are injuries.
Fullback (1) — Nikita Whitlock
I’m going to be honest. I REALLY struggled with this one, and with the tight end position. Truth is, I think there is a strong possibility that the presence of Will Johnson makes Whitlock expendable and that the popular fullback ends up the odd man out while the Giants keep four tight ends. The only reason I have him on this version of the 53-man roster is that with his special teams ability and the long-shot possibility of seeing him at defensive tackle a little bit I see him as more useful overall than either of the tight ends I end up leaving off.
Tight end (3) — Will Tye, Will Johnson, Matt LaCosse
There are two very obvious omissions here — veteran Larry Donnell and sixth-round pick Jerell Adams. My instinct is that Tye has surpassed Donnell, and since both Johnson and LaCosse are better blockers that makes Donnell superfluous. Adams? He could well make the roster, but he struggled all spring with drops. Adams was considered a long-term prospect when he was drafted and unless he shows better in training camp the guess here is he could see some time on the practice squad until he gets a better grip on the NFL game. Of course, LaCosse struggled with injuries last year and currently he is hurt again, having missed minicamp. He is a talented guy, but if he can’t stay healthy everything changes.
Wide receiver (6) — Odell Beckham, Sterling Shepard, Victor Cruz, Dwayne Harris, Geremy Davis, Myles White
Davis had a really nice spring, which should give him a leg up on a roster spot heading into training camp. White has ability, but still drops too many balls for my taste. Still, he’s been with McAdoo for several years now here with the Giants and previously with the Green Bay Packers. Undrafted free agent Roger Lewis might be the guy with the best chance of cracking this group, possibly ousting White.
Offensive line (9) — Starters: LT Ereck Flowers, LG Justin Pugh, C Weston Richburg, RG John Jerry, RT Marshall Newhouse; Reserves: Bobby Hart, Adam Gettis, Shane McDermott, [one spot to be determined].
Let’s start with “To Be Determined.” I am leaving one spot because, whether it is Eugene Monroe, Phil Loadholt or a veteran simply brought in to add depth I am absolutely convinced there will be at least one lineman on the 53-man roster who is not currently a member of the Giants.
It is virtually impossible to judge line play without pads in what are theoretically non-contact practices. What I can say about McDermott, who spent part of last season the practice squad, is he received a lot more reps in the spring than I would have expected.
Defensive ends (4) — Jason Pierre-Paul, Olivier Vernon, Owamagbe Odighizuwa, Kerry Wynn
Defensive tackles (4) — Damon Harrison, Johnathan Hankins, Jay Bromley, Montori Hughes
I will lump the tackle and end positions together. I have said this before, but I would like to see at least one more lineman on the roster than the eight I have here. Right now, though, I have no clue who that ninth lineman would be.
Linebackers (7) — Devon Kennard, J.T. Thomas, Jonathan Casillas, B.J. Goodson, Jasper Brinkley, Keenan Robinson, Kelvin Sheppard
Ideally, my roster would have one more defensive lineman and one fewer linebacker. Until that extra lineman emerges, though, I’m not choosing which veteran linebacker to send packing. As for Mark Herzlich, you look at that group of linebackers and tell me who he should replace. Herzlich always seems to find a way to stick around. This time, though I don’t see it unless there are injuries.
Cornerback (5) — Janoris Jenkins, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Eli Apple, Trevin Wade, Donte Deayon
I’m keeping the 158-pound Deayon in my roster projections until he proves during a preseason game that he can’t tackle NFL receivers, or until the Giants sign a veteran corner who would take his place.
Safety (5) — Landon Collins, Darian Thompson, Nat Berhe, Bennett Jackson, Mykkele Thompson
This grouping would ticket Cooper Taylor for extinction. This, actually, seems like it might be one safety too many. It is, though, what I end up with for the time being.
Special teams (3)
Placekicker — Josh Brown
Punter — Brad Wing
Long-snapper — Zak DeOssie
The only question I had here was the health of DeOssie coming off elbow surgery. He looks fine.
“He has done a good job. He came out better than we had expected,” special teams coordinator Tom Quinn said on Wednesday. “He has done more than I expected him to do before training camp.”