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Giants’ Roster Bubble Watch: Twelve Players With A Lot At Stake Thursday

Lots of spots still up for grabs on 53-man roster

NFL: New York Jets at New York Giants
Donte Deayon returns an interception for a score Saturday vs. the Jets.
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Roster cuts are Saturday for NFL teams. With those looming, we have already discussed the competitions for the placekicking and backup quarterback jobs with the New York Giants. Let’s look at some of the other players on the roster bubble as cut-down day approaches.

Tavarres King

At the beginning of training camp, I never would have expected King to end the preseason on the roster bubble. I figured he would likely be the fourth wide receiver. He still might be, but a gimpy ankle has been keeping him off the field, and the recent performances of Travis Rudolph and Roger Lewis Jr. might make him expendable. King did not practice Monday, meaning he probably won’t play Thursday against the New England Patriots.

Asked about King on Monday, coach Ben McAdoo had an ominous message:

“It’s tough to say somebody’s safe. In this game, this week will have a big impact on things for a lot of guys. You hate to see somebody lose an opportunity because of an injury, but yet, nobody’s safe.”

J.T. Thomas

The veteran linebacker, still working his way back from knee surgery that limited him to one game last season, saw his first action when he played 10 snaps on Saturday vs. the New York Jets. With Keenan Robinson (concussion) and Mark Herzlich (stinger) sidelined, there is a huge opportunity for Thomas. He has versatility, and is really the only experienced player among those competing for reserve linebacker spots.

Mark Herzlich

See what McAdoo said above about King. Also see what happened last season to Will Johnson, who ended up on IR with a stinger. That same injury has kept Herzlich sidelined, and it could cost him a roster spot.

“He’s just trying to get healthy,” McAdoo said.

If he’s not healthy, he could land on IR instead of the 53-man roster. For that matter, so could Robinson.

Matt LaCosse

The former undrafted free agent from Illinois has been a spring superstar with the Giants for three seasons now. Injuries cost him his first two seasons. This year, he is still healthy but he has yet to transfer what he did in the spring, and in training camp, to the playing field. He has five preseason receptions, but for a miniscule 4.6 yards per catch average with a long catch of 6 yards. He needs to show the ability to make an impact on Thursday vs. the Patriots.

Will Tye

Like LaCosse, the starting tight end last season is also on the bubble. I didn’t notice him in the game vs. the Jets last week until mid-way through the third quarter, which is not a great sign. I’m not really sure Tye can do anything one way or the other on Thursday that would affect his roster status. Whether he stays or goes might come down to how many tight ends the Giants decide to keep, and whether the guys currently in front of him are all healthy. Or, if perhaps someone offers the Giants a draft pick in exchange for him.

Devin Taylor

I had the former Detroit Lions defensive end making the team in my last roster projection. I still believe he does, especially in light of the league-imposed four-game suspension of Owamagbe Odighizuwa. Still, I find it odd that Taylor played only six snaps Saturday. I can’t decide if that’s good news for Taylor in that the Giants have already chosen to keep him, or bad news that they have chosen not to.

Nat Berhe

Like Taylor, I had had Berhe making the team all along. I still think he does. What nags, though, is that the only times I have really noticed Berhe during the preseason are on tackles he has missed or plays he hasn’t made. He could use a good game Thursday night.

Eric Pinkins

As a safety, the Giants have better options — like Berhe and even Duke Ihenacho. As a special teams player, Pinkins is one of the best guys on the team. Can he make the 53-man roster on that basis alone?

New York Jets v New York Giants
Robert Thomas (99) breaks through to stop Elijah McGuire on a game-deciding two-point conversion Saturday night.
Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Robert Thomas

I left Thomas off the 53-man roster in my last projection. Entering Thursday’s preseason finale, I’m not so sure. I had been thinking that the Giants might elect to keep only three “true” defensive tackles since several of the Giants defensive ends can swing inside on passing downs. The knee injury suffered by Jay Bromley, even if it isn’t a long-term one, might alter that. Plus, Thomas is a pretty good player.

Adam Bisnowaty and Chad Wheeler

I have to lump these two rookie offensive tackles together. They have been second-team bookends since the beginning, with Wheeler on the left and Bisnowaty on the right. Plus, they both have the long, flowing hair.

I think only one is making the team, and you have to favor Bisnowaty for the simple fact that he is a draft pick. In fact, a draft pick the Giants traded up to get. GM Jerry Reese does not quickly discard players like that. But, Bisnowaty hasn’t been good the past couple of weeks.

That’s not encouraging, and it might leave Wheeler an opening to steal a roster spot.

Donte Deayon

I think the diminutive corner, who has two interceptions in three preaseason games, has done everything he possibly can to make the roster. The problem remains that he is 5-foot-9, 163 pounds. That means he is limited to the slot, where the guys he is covering are still bigger than he is. Also, it makes it difficult for the Giants to use him on the punt and kickoff teams. He really can’t block anybody, and at 163 pounds he isn’t difficult to knock off his path in coverage.

“Donte plays with a lot of energy, he’s a productive player in the slot and he’ll have another golden opportunity on Thursday night,” McAdoo said. “Special teams, he’s not the biggest guy in the world. He does provide energy and a passion for the game and special teams is a focus for that spot on the roster.”

Deayon’s spot on the roster could depend simply on whether or not the Giants find anyone on the waiver wire they like better once teams trim their rosters on Saturday.