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Giants vs. Patriots: Position battles to watch in preseason finale

Last chance for “roster bubble” players to prove they belong

NFL: Preseason-New York Giants at New York Jets
Andrew Adams returns an interception against the Jets.
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The outcome of Thursday night’s New York Giants vs. New England Patriots preseason game means nothing. For many of the players at the end of the roster fighting for a spot on the Giants’ 53-man roster or practice squad, however, what happens during the game could mean everything.

This is the final chance for those “roster bubble” players to impress the team’s decision-makers. Let’s take a look at some of the position battles to focus on during the game.

Wide receiver

Four spots are obvious, with Odell Beckham, Sterling Shepard, Victor Cruz and Dwayne Harris. Geremy Davis, a 2015 sixth-round pick, seems safe despite being limited throughout the preseason by a hamstring injury.

If the Giants keep six receivers, which seems like the safe bet, then Tavarres King, Roger Lewis, Darius Powe and Anthony Dable have one final shot at one final spot. If I was to handicap this, I’d say King has the best shot after his two-touchdown game last week. Don’t underestimate Lewis, especially if he has a big game against New England. Powe and Dable are probably practice squad candidates.

Offensive line

The Giants have added Will Beatty, but it would seem unlikely that Beatty would play Thursday. He has yet to go through a full practice, so that doesn’t seem fair to him at all.

The interesting competition here is for the backup spots. Bobby Hart will make the team, giving the Giants seven linemen. Who gets the last spot or two? Thursday night’s playing time might give us a hint. Guys like Adam Gettis, Ryan Seymour, Brett Jones and Emmett Cleary are vying for a spot.

Running back

I’m going to add this, but there is a possibility this position is already settled. Rashad Jennings, Shane Vereen and Paul Perkins appear certain to make the team. I will be very, very surprised if Andre Williams doesn’t join them. I’m not sure Orleans Darkwa or Bobby Rainey can do much Thursday night to sway the decision. There might be a space for Darkwa if the Giants value his special teams play enough to keep a fifth running back.

Defensive tackle

We have been debating who the fourth defensive tackle might be since training camp began. Montori Hughes, Louis Nix III and six-year veteran Jermelle Cudjo all get one more chance to make a bid for that spot Thursday night. I honestly have no clue how that one will turn out.


The Giants have more veteran linebackers than they can possibly keep.

On the outside, they have Devon Kennard, Jonathan Casillas, Keenan Robinson, J.T. Thomas III and Mark Herzlich.

At middle linebacker, they have veterans Jasper Brinkley and Kelvin Sheppard, along with rookie B.J. Goodson.

I believe somebody from the group of Robinson, Thomas and Herzlich is going to end up being left off the roster. I also wonder increasingly if the loser of the middle linebacker competition between Brinkley and Sheppard will be out of a job.


Landon Collins and Darian Thompson are your starters. Nat Berhe seems almost certain to be one of the reserves. Mykkele Thompson, Andrew Adams and Justin Currie are in competition for what is likely the final safety spot. I believe Mykkele Thompson has the inside track, but we’ll find out.