The New York Giants initial 53-man roster, one which could begin changing as soon as the waiver claiming period ends at noon on Sunday, is full of surprises. Including the fact that, for now, the Giants are keeping four quarterbacks.
Let’s start with this from my Saturday afternoon Twitter mentions.
Feel like we cut damn near the whole secondary— Joe Anderson (@Joe_The_Icon) September 1, 2018
Yes, umm, yes it does. Andrew Adams and Darian Thompson are out at safety. Chris Lewis-Harris, Leonard Johnson and Grant Haley are out at cornerback. Mark Herzlich, after years of seeming to hang on to his Giants career by a fingernail, is out. Roger Lewis Jr., whom we have been telling you for months was in trouble, is out.
- Giants roster cuts 2018: S Darian Thompson waived/injured
- Giants roster cuts 2018: Linebacker Mark Herzlich reportedly released
- Giants roster cuts 2018: DL A.J. Francis among notable cuts
- Giants roster cuts 2018: Kalif Raymond out, Hunter Sharp likely punt returner
- Giants roster cuts 2018: WR Roger Lewis, S Andrew Adams released
“As I’ve said, I feel like we’re on the right track,” coach Pat Shurmur said in a statement released by the team. “We had a competitive training camp that forced us to make some tough decisions. We will continue to look to improve the roster in any way we can.
“This day is never easy because you are dealing with people who have made a commitment to your program, and while we all understand the reality of the business we’re in, it doesn’t make it any easier.
“When we started camp, I told the players that my hope for all of them is that if they don’t make our roster, I want them to make somebody else’s. So that’s my desire for the men we parted ways with today.”
The Giants surprisingly kept all three backups for Eli Manning — Davis Webb, Kyle Lauletta and veteran Alex Tanney.
Four undrafted rookies and first-year players (center Evan Brown, safety Sean Chandler, linebacker Tae Davis, and running back Robert Martin), plus defensive tackle Josh Banks, a second-year pro who was signed as a rookie free agent in 2017 and spent the entire season on injured reserve with a shoulder injury.
The Giants can begin assembling a 10-man practice squad once at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday, an hour after the waiver period expires.
Let’s go through the full 53-man roster and offer some initial thoughts.
Quarterback (4) — Eli Manning, Davis Webb, Kyle Lauletta, Alex Tanney
Valentine’s View: Quarterback intrigue marked the final half-hour or so before the 4 p.m. roster deadline. There had been speculation all day that the Giants might be trying to get something in exchange for Tanney. As the deadline approached, there was speculation that the Giants were working the phones trying to find a taker for one of their young quarterbacks, probably Webb.
Even though Webb has been the No. 2 quarterback throughout camp, he wasn’t drafted by Shurmur and Dave Gettleman. He may also have more value than Lauletta right now because he is a second-year player. The roster will continue to evolve, and I can’t imagine that the Giants will keep four quarterbacks long-term. Something is going to give there.
Running back (5) — Saquon Barkley, Wayne Gallman, Jonathan Stewart, Shane Smith, Robert Martin
Valentine’s View: For weeks we have been wondering if one of the Giants’ young running backs, probably former Rutgers Scarlet Knight Robert Martin, could play well enough to force the Giants to keep an additional running back. Turns out, that is exactly what happened.
We had always wondered if the Giants would keep fullback Shane Smith. They did.
Tight end (4) — Evan Engram, Rhett Ellison, Jerell Adams, Scott Simonson
Valentine’s View: In my final 53-man roster projection I had Simonson making the cut. It makes sense purely because the Giants will be relying heavily on two-tight end sets in their offense. They are built to try to run, to try and control the clock with the run and the short passing game, then look for the home run ball. Simonson is a blocking tight end who might help them there.
Wide receiver (5) — Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Shepard, Cody Latimer, Russell Shepard, Hunter Sharp
Valentine’s View: What happened here is precisely what we thought was going to happen. Russell Shepard made the roster because of his ability to help on special teams and as a receiver. Roger Lewis Jr., obviously not a favorite of the new Giants regime, has been cut. Hunter Sharp won the competition with Kalif Raymond to be a return man/reserve wide receiver.
Offensive line (9) — Starters: Nate Solder (LT), Will Hernandez (LG), Jon Halapio (C), Patrick Omameh (RG), Ereck Flowers (RT); Reserves: John Greco, Chad Wheeler, John Jerry, C Evan Brown
Valentine’s View: I figured nine offensive linemen were going to make the roster. I just didn’t figure Brown, the undrafted rookie free agent center from SMU, was going to be the ninth. After the trade of Brett Jones, though, it is logical because Brown is a pure center and the veteran Greco is a guard who can play center. I still believe this is an area where the Giants could look to free agency or the waiver wire in hopes of finding a veteran swing tackle. One of these backups, probably either Brown or Greco, might not be on the roster for long.
Defensive line (5) — Starters: Damon Harrison, Dalvin Tomlinson, B.J. Hill; Reserves: Kerry Wynn, Josh Banks
Valentine’s View: Stunning. The addition of Banks to the roster rather than veteran defensive tackles A.J. Francis and Robert Thomas, both of whom I had making the roster, is one that came out of nowhere. I figured the Giants might choose between Francis and Thomas, but not cut both. And keeping Banks, a player who drew little attention during training camp or the preseason? Not sure anyone, including Banks, saw that coming. But, hey, having a guy on the roster with the last name Banks can’t be a bad thing, right?
Linebackers (9) — Starters: Alec Ogletree, B.J. Goodson, Olivier Vernon, Kareem Martin; Reserves: Lorenzo Carter, Ray-Ray Armstrong, Connor Barwin, Tae Davis, Romeo Okwara
Valentine’s View: Mark Herzlich’s surprisingly long run with the Giants is over. Calvin Munson is gone after a season. Not a real shock that Okwara made the roster. Shurmur has been praising him recently, and with Vernon’s status uncertain due to his ankle injury, Okwara could give them some pass rush presence. Davis played well in the preseason finale against the New England Patriots, but his addition to the roster is another of Saturday’s many surprises.
Cornerbacks (4) — Starters: Janoris Jenkins, Eli Apple; Reserves: B.W. Webb, Donte Deayon,
Valentine’s View: Whoa! You had the feeling all along that the Giants would be searching the waiver wire for help at corner, but I didn’t think the moves would be this extensive. Chris Lewis-Harris had seemed to play his way into a spot, but the Giants thought otherwise. They also moved on from veteran Leonard Johnson and undrafted rookie Grant Haley. I have to think Haley lands on the practice squad. I also wouldn’t be surprised if the Giants use their No. 2 waiver wire priority to add to this position.
Safeties (5) — Starters: Landon Collins, Curtis Riley; Reserves: Michael Thomas, William Gay, Sean Chandler
Valentine’s View: More big changes. Darian Thompson waived/injured and Andrew Adams also sent packing. The Giants chose to keep the 33-year-old Gay and the undrafted rookie Chandler. They know what they are looking for, and the skill sets of Thompson and Adams weren’t it. This is what happens when you go 3-13 and change regimes. I’m not sure I fully agree with cutting Adams, but he wasn’t James Bettcher’s cup of team and that’s that.
Placekicker — Aldrick Rosas
Punter — Riley Dixon
Long-snapper — Zak DeOssie
Valentine’s View: No surprises. Rosas earned the placekicking job. I believe, though, that he will be on a short leash. Early struggles could send the Giants looking for a veteran upgrade.