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Will these former practice squad players make Giants roster?

Can any of the players from the Giants’ 2016 practice squad make the leap to the final roster?

NFL: Preaseason-New England Patriots at New York Giants Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Every year there is turnover on NFL rosters, and the New York Giants are no different.

Players leave via free agency, rookies are added, fringe players fail to hang on for another year, and players who were on the practice squad make a run at surviving final cuts this year.

With a largely young, talented, but veteran core of players, the Giants’ roster looks to be in a good place heading in to 2017. Many of their position groups are set with veteran players. However, there are always places for players who can work their way on to the final roster.

Let’s take a look at some of the players who were on the Giants’ practice squad in 2016 who have a chance to make the final roster in 2017.

Donte Deayon (CB)

Why He Should Make The Roster

Put simply, the Giants like Deayon, and, honestly, it’s hard not to. He was one of the hardest working players in camp in 2016, and reportedly did so with a smile on his face.

On the field he brings quite a bit to the table.

Deayon is competitive in coverage with fluid hips and quick feet to stick in tight to his man. He also brings absolutely top-shelf instincts, awareness, and ball skills in coverage — he had 16 interceptions and 25 passes defensed in three years at Boise State.

Finally, he is reportedly a very intelligent player with great study habits, who throws himself into his game prep. He credited his work studying opponents on tape for his college success. That kind of professionalism translates to the NFL and is what is needed in the Giants’ read-heavy and call-intensive defense.

Why He Won’t Make The Roster

It’s a bitter pill to swallow, but he just might not be big enough to play in the NFL.

Steve Spagnuolo runs a complicated “multiple” defense, but one of the core principles of that defense — and one of the things that sets him apart from his mentor, Jim Johnson -- is an insistence on physical, man coverage. Deayon will likely be in competition for the slot corner job behind Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, but even modestly sized slot receivers could bully Deayon in coverage. He might also have problems tackling NFL-caliber athletes.

Prediction - Makes The Roster!

When Jerry Reese and the Giants don’t seriously “address” a roster spot in need of depth in the off-season, it’s because they are expecting players already on the roster to step up and fill the holes. That suggests confidence that either Deayon or Michael Hunter will rise to the occasion. Deayon’s ability and competitiveness are a mark in his favor, and if he has been able to add enough mass without compromising his athleticism, he stands a good chance of making the final roster.

Darius Powe (WR)

Why He Should Make The Roster

The Giants had one of the smallest groups of skill position players of any team in the NFL in 2016. They addressed that, at least in part, by signing wide receiver Brandon Marshall after he parted ways with the New York Jets. At 6’4”, 230 pounds, Marshall brings plenty of size, but at 33 years old, he is a two-year rental at most.

Powe brings almost the same size as Marshall and is listed at 6’3”, 220 pounds, and is an excellent athlete for his size. He made a strong case for making the roster in 2016, but at the end of pre-season was visibly edged out by journeyman Tavarres King and fellow UDFA rookie Roger Lewis Jr.

With a year of seasoning in the Giants’ offense, Powe might be set to unlock his impressive potential.

Why He Won’t make The Roster

It isn’t one of the higher profile roster battles — with Odell Beckham Jr, Brandon Marshall, and Sterling Shepard the top of the Giants’ receiving corps is locked in — but the back end of their receiving corps is going to be hotly contested. Lewis became an important special teams player and could become a solid receiving option with an NFL season and a full off-season under his belt. King’s speed and ability to stretch the field won him a spot last year and it could do so again in 2017.

There will also some intriguing undrafted rookies in camp again this year.

There is always a brutal numbers game at the back end of the roster, and Powe might once again find himself just outside the roster and looking in.

Prediction - 50/50 Chance

Powe’s odds might have a better than 50 percent chance of making the roster, but there are a lot of factors at work. Not only will he have to show improvement over what he showed in his rookie camp, but Powe will have to leapfrog at least one receiver (King or Lewis) while holding off other receivers.

That’s if the Giants keep six receivers on their final roster. That seems like the most likely number, but performances elsewhere on the roster, or a change in scheme, could force them to change the calculus. Ultimately, Powe can only account for his work, and that will play the biggest role in whether or not he makes the team.

Ishaq Williams (LB/DE)

Why He Should Make The Roster

The Giants seem fascinated by Williams. He brings a versatile skill-set, able to play defensive end or outside linebacker, providing depth behind SAM linebacker (and occasional defensive lineman) Devon Kennard.

Williams has good size and athleticism and looked as though he belonged on the field with the rest of the Giants in preseason, and he reportedly made plays in camp at both linebacker and defensive end.

The Giants gave him a vote of confidence late in the 2016 season when they promoted him to the 53-man roster, both to provide depth in the front seven and to protect him from being signed by another team.

Why He Won’t Make The Roster

Williams spent two years out of football in college after an academics scandal at Notre Dame, and has since just played in last year’s four preseason games. His potential may be fascinating, but as a player is something of an enigma. Presumably, the Giants would have a better handle on him than those of us on the outside, but there is still considerable uncertainty with regards to what kind of player he can be.

Prediction - 40/60 Chance

Again, there are too many factors at work to really put numbers on Williams’ odds of making the team. In fact, he might be one of the biggest wild-cards in camp this year.

Will the numbers game at linebacker and defensive line edge him off the roster once again? Will he show enough improvement to force his way on to the roster?

But the Giants do seem to have a quiet fascination with the former Notre Dame player. They were reportedly interested in T.J. Watt and Tyus Bowser in the lead-up to the 2017 NFL Draft, two “EDGE” players who would have played similar roles in the defense. This is also the final year of SAM linebacker Devon Kennard’s rookie deal, and the Giants could view Williams as a potential back-up plan if he should leave via free agency.

All in all, I think Williams has an up-hill battle to make the final roster. But, he was also the only one of these players who spent time on the 53 man roster last year, so maybe he actually has the inside track.