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Giants vs. Patriots: 6 Giants offensive players who are on the roster bubble

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Which Giants are playing for their jobs Thursday night?

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

The final preseason game is here for the New York Giants, and as is their annual tradition, they will be playing the New England Patriots.

It is almost always a great game when these two teams square off, but unlike some of their past meetings (particularly the ones numbered in Roman numerals), these games don’t count officially.

But they are also far from meaningless.

Every year there is a group of players at the back end of the roster who need to use the final week of practice, and the game, to make one last positive impression. Even if they don’t make the Giants’ roster, there is still the chance that they could land on the practice squad or with another franchise. Let’s look at six players who need to take this opportunity to secure a spot for themselves.

Chad Wheeler

Brought in as an undrafted free agent in the 2017 off-season, Wheeler has been the Giants’ primary backup at offensive tackle. Though athletic, Wheeler is still working on building an “NFL” strength base to stand up against defenders at this level. He has made some nice blocks on occasion, but more often has found himself back on his heels or pushed in to the backfield.

He has played both left and right tackle for the Giants, but the team could well look elsewhere for a more capable veteran back-up once teams begin roster cuts.

John Jerry

Giants fans just can’t seem to be rid of Jerry, but this season might finally be it for him in New York. The trade of Brett Jones likely solidifies John Greco’s position on the roster, but it has also taken away another backup interior lineman. Jerry Has been playing with the second team, has played both right and left guard, and is well-regarded as a professional. However, his struggles as a run blocker could convince the Giants to look elsewhere.

Jerry will have one last chance to prove that he should be one of the Giants’ reserve linemen and that they don’t need to scan the waiver wire for a better option.

Hunter Sharp

Sharp surprised by jumping up the depth chart to play with the starters in the offseason, and carried that momentum through to training camp and the preseason.

He finally showed why the coaches kept giving him opportunities as the starting return specialist when he took a punt return 55 yards for a touchdown against the New York Jets, followed by a return for 11 yards in the second quarter. However, he has not impressed on the field as a wide receiver. Playing with the starters in the absence of Odell Beckham Jr., Sharp has fought the ball, most notably dropping two would-be third down conversions against the Jets. He also showed issues with ball security in the Giants’ first two preseason games.

Sharp faces competition from Kalif Raymond, who had punt returns for 35, 10, 1, and 19 yards after Sharp’s night was done, as well as from potential returners who could be cut from other teams.

Scott Simonson

The Giants have long based their offense on the 11-personnel package, even before Ben McAdoo took the idea past the point of excess. This year, however, they seem to be emphasizing the two-tight end 12-personnel package when the starters are in the game.

However, most roster projections leave Simonson on the outside looking in with respect to the tight end position. A tight end-heavy offense could certainly use the depth provided by a fourth tight end, but the numbers game is working against Simonson.

Robert Martin

Martin landed with the Giants as an undrafted free agent out of Rutgers after an impressive performance at the team’s rookie mini-camp. The Giants will probably only keep three running backs on the 53-man roster — particularly if they keep fullback Shane Smith.

However, Martin has proven exciting in games, consistently averaging 7.8 and 6.7 yards per carry in his two appearances.

Another strong performance could force the Giants’ hand and keep him on the roster at the expense of depth elsewhere. New signee Jhurell Pressley is in the same situation, having shown enough less than a week after signing to make you want to see more.

Roger Lewis

Lewis has been a Giant since 2016, and was the recipient of Eli Manning’s 300th touchdown pass. However, he has yet to capitalize on his flashes and become a consistent threat as a receiver — though he has worked to be a solid and reliable special teams player.

Lewis has certainly flashed ability as both a possession receiver and as a big-play threat, but he remains inconsistent and has the dubious honor of being the target of the largest number of Manning’s interceptions — a title previously held by Reuben Randle.

Lewis was buried on the depth chart for much of the spring and summer, but has ascended to playing with the second team in games. Because of his flashes and ability on special teams, Lewis Jr. has the chance to make the roster as the fourth receiver, but he faces pressure from the likes of Russell Shepard, who fills a similar role.