The ink is barely dry on the 2016 season. The New York Giants, though, have already taken their first steps toward building the 90-man roster that will assemble this Spring when the Giant re-convene to begin preparing for the 2017 NFL season.
The Giants on Monday signed eight players to reserve/futures contracts. These are all players who were not on any team’s 53-man roster at the end of the 2016 regular season. The eight players are:
DE Jordan Williams; QB Keith Wenning; WR Kevin Norwood; WR Darius Powe; DE Stansly Maponga; CB Michael Hunter; RB Jacob Huesman; CB Donte Deayon
All spent at least some time on the Giants’ practice squad last season.
Each year it seems that someone from this group emerges and makes the roster. Two years ago, that was cornerback Trevin Wade. Last season, WR Tavarres King made the roster after signing a futures contract.
Who will it be this time? Let’s take a brief look at each player to see if we can get a hint.
DE Jordan Williams — Undrafted, he spent time on the practice squads of the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins in 2015, appearing on one regular-season game for Miami. Williams began this season on the Dolphins’ practice squad, was cut in September and signed by the Giants last month.
QB Keith Wenning — His addition to the practice came in late December, after the Giants had placed backup quarterback Ryan Nassib on IR. The Giants have only veteran Josh Johnson as a backup to Eli Manning. Johnson hasn’t taken a regular-season snap since 2013 and hasn’t thrown a pass since 2011. A 2014 sixth-round pick by the Baltimore Ravens, Wenning has also spent time with the Cincinnati Bengals. He has yet to play in a game. A 2014 pre-draft scouting report from NFL.com called him a “Heavy-bodied, dink-and-dunk, rhythm passer who could be challenged to fit the ball into tight NFL windows. Has the makeup desired in a No. 3 QB and could develop into a functional backup in a West Coast passing game.”
WR Kevin Norwood — A fourth-round pick by the Seattle Seahawks in 2014, he played in 10 games with nine receptions as a rookie. Norwood appeared in one 2015 game for the Carolina Panthers. A pre-draft scouting report indicates the 6-foot-2, 198-pound Norwood might be best in the slot.
WR Darius Powe — The Giants signed Powe as a free agent out of Cal after the 2016 NFL Draft. Powe, 6-foot-3, 220 pounds, has an intriguing skill set but lost the battle for a roster spot with King and Roger Lewis Jr. He spent the entire season on the Giants’ practice squad.
DE Stansly Maponga — A 2013 fifth-round pick by the Atlanta Falcons, the Giants signed him simply to fill a roster spot due to injuries at the end of the 2015 season. He spent last year on the Giants’ practice squad. Maponga will be 26 when the 2017 season begins and isn’t exactly a prospect, but he keeps hanging around.
CB Michael Hunter — Undrafted out of Oklahoma State, Hunter made the Giants’ practice squad last summer. He ended up playing two game (Weeks 4 and 5) due to injuries, was waived and re-signed to the practice squad. Hunter will apparently get another chance this Spring.
RB Jacob Huesman — A college quarterback at Tennessee-Chattanooga, Huesman went to the CFL in 2016 and converted to running back. The Giants signed the 6-foot-2, 225-pound Huesman after reportedly evaluating him at a number of positions.
CB Donte Deayon — One of the sensations of the preseason for the Giants a year ago, Deayon is a personable mighty-mite of a cornerback, 5-foot-9, 158 pounds. He was a teammate of third-round pick Darian Thompson at Boise State. Deayon made the practice squad, but suffered an injury and finished the season on injured reserve.
- Here is an interview I was able to do with Deayon last season.