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Way-too-early New York Giants 53-man roster projection

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The Giants aren’t done tinkering with the roster, but let’s take a guess, anyway

NFL: New York Giants at Arizona Cardinals Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

With the 2018 NFL Draft in the rearview mirror, let’s take a guess at what the New York Giants roster might look like if they had to play a game this Sunday.

Realize that this probably isn’t going to be all that close to what the final 53-man roster looks like in September. GM Dave Gettleman says roster building is a 12-month job and that the Giants will continue shuffling the bottom portion of the roster. They showed that on Wednesday by adding cornerback C.J. Goodwin, defensive tackle A.J. Francis and quarterback Alex Tanney.

This prediction also does not include any undrafted free agents. While a number of names have been associated with the Giants, those signings are not yet official. I won’t consider them for spots of the 53-man roster until the team acknowledges which UDFAs have actually been added to the current 90-man roster.

Offense

Quarterback (3)
Starter: Eli Manning
Reserves: Davis Webb, Kyle Lauletta
Cut: Alex Tanney

Just stop with the nonsense that Pat Shurmur supposedly opened the door for Webb or Lauletta to take the starting job away from Manning THIS YEAR. Manning is the starter. The two young quarterbacks will compete for the backup role, and long-term will compete to be Manning’s successor.

Running back (4)
Starter: Saquon Barkley
Reserves: Wayne Gallman, Jonathan Stewart, Paul Perkins
Cut: Jalen Simmons, Terrell Watson

Any doubt who starts? The only thing I’m wondering, to be honest, is if there will actually be a place on the roster for Perkins.

Fullback (1)
Starter: Shane Smith

He’s the only one they have. I wouldn’t be shocked if they went out and found a more experienced one.

Tight end (4)
Starter: Evan Engram
Reserves: Rhett Ellison, Jerell Adams, Kyle Carter
Cut: Ryan O’Malley

The only surprise here would be if Ellison, signed to an unnecessarily-large 4-year, $18-million contract with $8 million guaranteed, were to be cut. This wouldn’t be about the cap — the Giants would save only $475,000 by making Ellison a post-June 1 cut. It would happen only if Pat Shurmur and his staff decide they like Adams, the former Viking Carter, and perhaps Ryan O’Malley better.

Wide receiver (5)
Starters: Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Shepard
Reserves: Cody Latimer, Roger Lewis Jr., Hunter Sharp
Cut: Marquis Bundy, Amba Etta-Tawo, Keeon Johnson, Kalif Raymond, Travis Rudolph, Canaan Severin

In all honestly, beyond Beckham, Shepard and Latimer anything goes. I have Lewis on the roster because he’s been there the past two seasons, and Sharp simply because somebody has to return punts and he looked decent doing it during a brief stint last season.

Offensive line (8)
Starters: Nate Solder (LT), Will Hernandez (LG), Brett Jones (C); Patrick Omameh (RG), Chad Wheeler (RT)
Reserves: John Greco, Jon Halapio, To Be Determined
Cut: John Jerry, Kristjan Sokoli, Adam Bisnowaty, Ethan Cooper, Damien Mama, Ereck Flowers (or traded)

I’m not putting Ereck Flowers on the roster until I become convinced he at least remains with the team until training camp. I left a “to be determined” because I just don’t see how the Giants would go into the season with Adam Bisnowaty as their swing tackle. That means a veteran currently on somebody else’s roster will likely fill that spot. As for John Jerry, I’m not sure why he’s still around. He was already behind Jon Halapio on the depth chart, and that was before the Giants drafted Will Hernandez. Kristjan Sokoli is listed as an offensive lineman, but I’m not sure at this point whether the Giants consider him an offensive or defensive player. He has done both.

Defense

Defensive line (6)
Starters: Damon Harrison, Dalvin Tomlinson, Robert Thomas
Note: Josh Mauro is suspended for the first four games. Otherwise, he would be listed as the starter here.
Reserves: B.J. Hill, R.J. McIntosh, Kerry Wynn
Cut: Josh Banks, A.J. Francis, Jordan Williams

This is kind of difficult. Some of the outside linebackers could also function as defensive ends, and probably will when the Giants are in 4-3 alignments.

Linebacker (8)
Starters: Alec Ogletree, B.J. Goodson, Olivier Vernon, Kareem Martin
Reserves: Lorenzo Carter, Calvin Munson, Avery Moss, Romeo Okwara
Cut: Mark Herzlich, Derrick Mathews, Ray-Ray Armstrong, Thurston Armbrister

Again, kind of difficult to figure out. Beyond the starters and Lorenzo Carter, anything could happen. In this configuration, Munson is the only backup as an inside linebacker.

Cornerbacks (7)
Starters: Janoris Jenkins, Eli Apple
Reserves: William Gay, Brandon Dixon, C.J. Goodwin, B.W. Webb, Curtis Riley
Cut: Donte Deayon, Jeremiah McKinnon, Tim Scott, Teddy Williams

Beyond Jenkins, Apple and probably Gay, this is pretty much an exercise is throwing names against the wall and seeing what sticks. At least one of these guys could end up playing some safety. I truly have no idea. Pretty much any of the guys listed in the “cut” category could wind up with roster spots. Right now, anybody’s guess.

Safeties (4)
Starters: Landon Collins, Darian Thompson
Reserves: Michael Thomas, Andrew Adams
Cut: Ryan Murphy

Not much to see here. Only four true safeties. It follows that at least one corner will end up at least being cross trained.

Special teams (3)

Punter: Riley Dixon
Placekicker: Aldrick Rosas
Long-snapper: Zak DeOssie
Cut: Marshall Koehn (PK), Austin Rehkow (P)

I have no idea if Rosas will be the placekicker. I will give him the benefit of the doubt, though, until it’s clear the Giants have a better option.