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Updated 53-Man Roster Projection: Changes After Second Preseason Game

An educated guess halfway through the preseason

NFL: New York Giants at Cleveland Browns
Donte Deayon makes an interception Monday against the Browns. A penalty nullified the play.
Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants are halfway through their preseason and just more than a week away from having to set their season-opening 53-man roster. Let’s make our latest projection that is sure to be wrong.

Offense (25)

Quarterback (3)

Starter: Eli Manning
Backups: Geno Smith, Davis Webb

No change. Geno Smith is a classic “Kwillie,” meaning that at times he helps both teams. At this point, though, the Giants seem to prefer him to Josh Johnson.

Running Back (4)

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

The pecking order might change here at some point, but it will be a surprise if these aren’t the backs. I will continue to say that even though the Giants don’t have a star back, the blocking is the problem with the running game.

Fullback (1)

Starter: Shane Smith

If the Giants keep a fullback — and that remains a big if — Smith is the guy.

Tight End (3)

Starter: Evan Engram
Backups: Rhett Ellison, Jerell Adams

Matt LaCosse and Will Tye still end up getting the short end of the stick here.

Wide Receiver (6)

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

Change: Lewis in, Darius Powe out

I’ve had Powe beating out Lewis until now, but Powe’s hamstring injury cost him his roster spot this week. I’ll give that spot to Lewis for now. Watch out for Travis Rudolph, though. Jerome Lane, too. King’s health could also affect how this turns out. Also, if the Giants keep a fourth tight end perhaps they only keep five wide receivers. We’ll see. There are a lot of moving parts here.

Offensive Line (8)

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

I’m less certain about Bisnowaty than I have been, but someone has to be the eighth offensive lineman.

Defense (25)

Tackle (3)

Starters: Damon Harrison, Jay Bromley
Backups: Dalvin Tomlinson

Change: Robert Thomas out

This seems light, but the reason is that the Giants use extra defensive ends frequently, and both Kerry Wynn and Jordan Williams can move inside.

End (7)

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

Change: Jordan Williams in

Jonathan Casillas told us recently that Williams deserves to make the team, and I agree. Williams has considerable experience at defensive tackle as well as end. Seven defensive ends is a huge number, but the Giants started out last season with eight linebackers. This is about keeping the best 53, and Williams is in that group.

Linebacker (5)

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

Change: Mark Herzlich out.

I’m doing it again. Every year I count Herzlich out, and every year he makes me look bad. But, here we are again. This time, I’m wondering if the stinger that has kept Herzlich out of contact work for roughly two weeks ends up as his demise, perhaps pushing him to IR. That is what happened to Will Johnson a year ago.

Cornerback (5)

Starters: Janoris Jenkins, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Eli Apple
Backups: Michael Hunter, Donte Deayon

Change: Blake out, Deayon in

Someone has to benefit from Blake leaving the team. Right now, that looks like Deayon.

Safety (5)

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

Change: Pinkins in

Pinkins is a work in progress at safety, but he’s a really good cover guy on special teams. He gets the spot that would have gone to Herzlich.

Special Teams (3)

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