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New York Giants 53-Man Roster Analysis: Mild Surprises, And A Trade, But No Shockers

What did the Giants do in setting their 53-man roster?

NFL: New York Jets at New York Giants
Chad Wheeler
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Now that the 4 p.m. ET deadline has passed and we know what the New York Giants’ 53-man roster looks like — at least for now — let’s analyze some of what happened on Saturday.

About Travis Rudolph

This was a cut that upset the fan base. The comments here and in the @bigblueview Twitter feed are evidence of that. And yes, I had Rudolph on my final 53-man roster projection. Still, the fact that Rudolph won’t make the 53-man roster really isn’t that much of a surprise. At least, it shouldn’t be.

The young man is a really nice story, and it was easy to root for him. He had a good preseason, 9 receptions, 157 yards (17.4 yards per catch), no touchdowns. He also adequately, not spectacularly, returned punts and kickoffs. Make the Victor Cruz analogy if you must, but Rudolph’s preseason didn’t come close to matching what Cruz did back in 2010 — 15 receptions, 297 yards (19.4 yards per catch), 4 touchdowns.

Rudolph was, in retrospect, never ahead of Roger Lewis Jr. He was never ahead of Tavarres King, either. King’s ankle injury gave Rudolph a chance, but the Giants remember what King did at the end of last season vs. the Washington Redskins and in the playoffs against the Green Bay Packers. Darius Powe was probably more likely than Rudolph to make the final roster before he was waived/injured.

Maybe Rudolph clears waivers and gets to the practice squad. If he gets claimed and placed on a 53-man roster, good for him. There is always at least one of these players who becomes a fan favorite in the preseason, but doesn’t make the roster. Most times, the Giants end up proven right. Let’s see what happens here.

Geno Over Josh

No big surprise that the Giants chose Geno Smith over Josh Johnson as No. 2 quarterback. As training camp and the preseason rolled along, it became increasingly obvious the job was Smith’s to lose. That said, the Giants will be thrilled if Smith never has to play a meaningful snap.

Youth Is Served

It seemed obvious after Thursday night that 22-year-old Aldrick Rosas was going to be the Giants’ placekicker. With Josh Brown entrenched in the job prior to last season’s events, the Giants let young kickers Brandon McManus and Chris Boswell slip through their grasp. With the job open this time, going with the young kicker who has a chance to hold the job for several seasons if he performs well is the right idea.

Bye Bye, Mr. Tye

The Giants made improving the tight end position an offseason priority, adding first-round pick Evan Engram as a pass-catcher and free-agent Rhett Ellison as a blocker. Will Tye was a nice story, first NFL player from Stony Brook and all that, but he wasn’t big enough or fast enough to be a pass-catching force in the middle of the field, and his blocking was inadequate. He will get another job, maybe even with the tight end-needy New York Jets, but moving on from Tye shows just how much the Giants believe they have upgraded the tight end position.

Offensive Line Thoughts

Undrafted free agent offensive tackle Chad Wheeler made the roster. Sixth-round pick Adam Bisnowaty did not. There’s a simple explanation for that — Wheeler played better than Bisnowaty, who will likely make it through to the practice squad, during the preseason. Bisnowaty, incidentally, is the first Giants’ draft pick since 2009 to be cut before his rookie season. That is not insignificant.

The Giants might not be done tinkering here. Among the more than 1,100 player released on Saturday were several intriguing offensive linemen. Among them were guard Alex Boon by the Minnesota Vikings, offensive tackle Eric Winston by the Cincinnati Bengals and guard/tackle Emmett Cleary, a former Giant, by the Dallas Cowboys. Watch for at least one waiver claim or free agent signing in this position group.

End Of An Era?

The news that the Giants have plaed Mark Herzlich (stinger) on IR will not only end his season, it may end his Giants career, and perhaps his NFL career. Since the Giants placed him on IR before the 53-man roster was set, Herzlich will not be eligible to return this season.

The fact that Herzlich, 30, had an NFL career at all after being diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma while at Boston College was amazing enough. The fact that he played six full seasons with the same team while never starting more than a handful of games was pretty amazing. Each year it seemed you waited for the Giants to move on from Herzlich. Now, it may finally have happened.

Defensive Ends

I wasn’t surprised at all to see the Giants part ways with Devin Taylor. He started late because of an injury and never really made an impression. I was a little surprised to see them waive Jordan Williams. Maybe I let Jonathan Casillas’ praise of Williams during an appearance on the “Big Blue Chat” podcast cloud my judgment there.

Cockrell At Corner

We’ve said for a while now that the Giants needed to find an experienced cornerback for depth behind their Big Three. They swung a deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers for Ross Cockrell to do just that. Cockrell started all 16 games for the Steelers last year. The Giants could still be making a move here as they assess players cut on Saturday.