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Updated 53-Man Roster Projection: Who’s In, Who’s Out After First Preseason Game

There are just a few changes

Pittsburgh Steelers v New York Giants
Geno Smith
Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

With one preseason game in the books, let’s take an updated look at a 53-man roster projection for the New York Giants.

By the way, the more I do these the more it becomes clear that the Giants have several viable ways to fill the last few roster spots. How they choose to do it is going to be very interesting.


Quarterback (3)

Starter: Eli Manning
Backups: Geno Smith, Davis Webb

Geno Smith and Josh Johnson both have good and bad moments. Thing is, Smith’s good moments can be really good. There is just more upside with Smith than with Johnson.

Running Back (4)

Starter: Paul Perkins
Backups: Shane Vereen, Orleans Darkwa, Wayne Gallman

Fullback (1)

Starter: Shane Smith

I keep flip-flopping on whether or not the Giants will keep a fullback. I’m still not sure, and I don’t believe they are, either. Smith had a nice game Friday against the Steelers, though, and his work showed the value of a true, road-grading fullback. For now, he’s in. Question is, where am I going to steal a roster spot?

Tight End (3)

Starter: Evan Engram
Backups: Rhett Ellison, Jerell Adams

Change: Matt LaCosse out

I really, really don’t want to cut LaCosse. But, to keep a fullback on the roster I have to take a spot from somewhere. I could take a linebacker (Mark Herzlich) or a wide receiver (Darius Powe), but for now the choice is LaCosse. Herzlich is a core special teams guy and could play tight end in an emergency. Plus, undrafted free agent Colin Thompson is sneaky good — he has better hands than I thought — and could get stashed on the practice squad.

Wide Receiver (6)

Starters: Odell Beckham Jr., Brandon Marshall, Sterling Shepard
Backups: Tavarres King, Dwayne Harris, Darius Powe

Powe continues to make the cut, and Roger Lewis Jr. is still odd man out. It’s entirely possible, though, that because of Engram’s versatility the Giants keep only five wide receivers. That would likely be bad news for Powe.

Offensive Line (8)

Starters: Ereck Flowers, Justin Pugh, Weston Richburg, John Jerry, Bobby Hart
Backups: D.J. Fluker, Brett Jones, Adam Bisnowaty

The Chad Wheeler train came to a screeching halt Friday night. The undrafted free agent left tackle simply wasn’t good against the Steelers.


Tackle (4)

Starters: Damon Harrison, Jay Bromley
Backups: Robert Thomas, Dalvin Tomlinson

The change here is not in personnel, it is the same four players. I have, though, moved Jay Bromley into the starting role instead of Robert Thomas.

End (6)

Starters: Olivier Vernon, Jason Pierre-Paul
Backups: Kerry Wynn, Romeo Okwara, Avery Moss, Devin Taylor

Six defensive ends is a lot, but right now I just can’t cut Taylor or Wynn, though I think both guys sit precariously on the roster bubble. If I had to lop one off the roster it would, unfortunately, be Wynn.

Linebacker (6)

Starters: Jonathan Casillas, Devon Kennard, B.J. Goodson
Backups: Keenan Robinson, Mark Herzlich, Calvin Munson

Undrafted free agent Calvin Munson is always around the ball on special teams. He held his own at linebacker Friday, as well. Basically, Munson looks like a young Herzlich. If the Giants were to choose to keep only five linebackers, Munson might even make Herzlich expendable.

Cornerback (5)

Starters: Janoris Jenkins, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Eli Apple
Backups: Michael Hunter, Valentino Blake

Change: Blake in, Donte Deayon out

Despite corralling an interception, Blake wasn’t good Friday night. But, Deayon didn’t help himself, either. I have been using my heart and not my head to put the 163-pound Deayon on the roster, and I have to stop. I continue to think the Giants will be scouring the waiver wire for a veteran corner.

Safety (4)

Starters: Landon Collins, Darian Thompson
Backups: Andrew Adams, Nat Berhe

Berhe had a rough night against the Steelers, but I still think his roster spot is safe. For the time being. Eric Pinkins could earn a roster spot with his special teams play, I’m just not sure how good of an option he is as a backup safety.

Special Teams (3)

Placekicker — Aldrick Rosas
Punter — Brad Wing
Long-snapper Zak DeOssie

As long as Rosas keeps answering the challenge of Mike Nugent, making kicks and driving kickoffs into the end zone, the placekicking job is his.