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New York Giants 53-man roster projection: Final edition

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Who’s in, who’s out?

NFL: Preseason-New York Giants at New England Patriots
Alonzo Russell
Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

I waited until the conclusion of Thursday’s preseason game between the New York Giants and New England Patriots to finalize my official Giants’ 53-man roster projection. I figured some things would happen in the game that would impact construction of the roster, and they did.

Injuries and a promising performance by Kyle Lauletta changed some of the decisions I would have made prior to the final preseason game.

So, here’s my final prediction. By 4 p.m. ET on Saturday we will know how I did.

Offense (26)

Quarterbacks (3)

Starter: Eli Manning
Backups: Daniel Jones, Kyle Lauletta
Out: Alex Tanney

All along I have had the Giants keeping three quarterbacks, with the third being veteran Alex Tanney.

Had I done this prediction before Thursday’s game, I would actually have kept only two quarterbacks. After Kyle Lauletta went 22-of-40 for 247 yards and two touchdowns, including a final play game-winning throw to Alonzo Russell, there is no way you can expose him to waivers. He won’t get through to the practice squad.

Tanney? Four-of-12 this week after 2-of-6 the week before isn’t good enough.

Running backs (4)

Starter: Saquon Barkley
Backups: Rod Smith, Wayne Gallman
Fullback: Elijhaa Penny
Out: Paul Perkins, Jon Hilliman

This is what I predicted last time, and I will stick with it. Perkins had a good game Thursday, but overall he hasn’t done enough to oust Gallman or Smith.

Tight ends (4)

Starters: Evan Engram, Rhett Ellison
Backups: C.J. Conrad, Garrett Dickerson
Out: Scott Simonson, Jake Powell

Simonson’s injury made this one easy. As I type this there has been no announcement on the severity of the left ankle injury Simonson suffered Thursday, but it looked bad. He was carted off the field, and left the stadium in a boot and on crutches. IR might be in his future.

Wide receivers (6)

Starters: Sterling Shepard, Bennie Fowler
Backups: Cody Latimer, Darius Slayton, Russell Shepard, Alonzo Russell
Out: T.J. Jones, Alex Wesley, Reggie White Jr., Brittan Golden, Golden Tate (suspension)

For the past few weeks I’ve been wondering how Alonzo Russell could make the roster. After Thursday, it seems pretty much impossible to deny him a spot.

Russell played nearly every snap, caught a team-high five passes for 92 yards (albeit in 15 targets). He had the game-winning 14-yard catch. Probably should have been rewarded with a defensive pass interference call on a challenge Pat Shurmur lost, and simply continued to find a way to contribute and impress.

Brittan Golden, who missed time earlier in training camp with a groin injury, left the game early with a calf injury. That probably ended his chance to make the team. T.J. Jones suffered an ankle injury, and in this prediction might have ended up losing his spot to Russell, anyway.

If he is healthy, it wouldn’t shock me if the Giants find a way to keep Jones. Here, though, he’s out.

Offensive linemen (9)

Starters: Nate Solder (LT), Will Hernandez (LG), Jon Halapio (C), Kevin Zeitler (RG), Mike Remmers (RT)
Backups: Spencer Pulley, Evan Brown, Nick Gates, Chad Slade
Out: Chad Wheeler, Brian Mihalik, George Asafo-Adjei, James O’Hagan, Victor Salako, Malcolm Bunche

This is really a “soft” vote for Brown, Slade and Gates. I still believe the Giants have to scour the waiver wire to find a backup swing tackle. Maybe a backup guard. Gates and Slade are unproven outside, and Wheeler and Mihalik are proven to not be very good.

Defense (24)

Defensive linemen (5)

Starters: Dalvin Tomlinson, B.J. Hill, Dexter Lawrence
Backups: Chris Slayton, Olsen Pierre
Out: John Jenkins, Freedom Akinmoladun, Jake Ceresna, RJ McIntosh

I had to pick one stunner on the 53. The stunner here is that McIntosh, the 2018 fifth-round pick, is out. He’s really done nothing noticeable throughout the summer and the Giants like Slayton, their seventh-round pick. They steal a roster spot here by going with five instead of six, since they so often are in nickel or dime with edge defenders aligned as defensive ends.

Perhaps one of McIntosh, Akinmoladun and Ceresna lands on the practice squad.

Edge defenders (5)

Starters: Lorenzo Carter, Markus Golden
Backups: Oshane Ximines, Kareem Martin, Terrence Fede
Out: Joey Alfieri, Avery Moss, Keion Adams, Jake Carlock

Fede, who played in 51 games the past four seasons with the Miami Dolphins, gets the spot I have had pegged for McIntosh. At 6-foot-4, 267 pounds he can play both standing up and with his hand in the ground.

NFL: AUG 16 Preseason - Bears at Giants
Our latest roster projection has B.J. Goodson on the outside looking in.
Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Inside linebackers (4)

Starters: Alec Ogletree, Tae Davis
Backups: Ryan Connelly, Nathan Stupar
Out: B.J. Goodson, Jonathan Anderson, Josiah Tauaefa

Tauaefa has lots of tackles and nice Pro Football Focus grades. He hasn’t, however, done any of that against front-line competition. Stupar makes me nervous on defense, but he makes it because of special teams play. Goodson played well Thursday night, but I think his fate has been sealed for a while.

Cornerbacks (7)

Starters: Janoris Jenkins, DeAndre Baker, Grant Haley (slot)
Backups: Julian Love, Corey Ballentine, Antonio Hamilton, Sam Beal
Out: Henre’ Toliver, Terrell Sinkfield, Ronald Zamort

I’m starting to wonder if Beal is going to spend another year on IR. Hamilton could still be on the bubble also, though I believe his special teams value will earn him a spot. This might actually be one more cornerback than I would like to keep, but the health of Hamilton and Beal makes carrying this many necessary. Pat Traina’s idea of putting Beal on the inital 53 and then moving him to IR, opening the possibility of bringing him back halfway through the season, might be a good one.

Safeties (3)

Starters: Jabrill Peppers, Antoine Bethea
Backups: Michael Thomas
Out: Sean Chandler, Kenny Ladler, Tenny Adewusi

I really want to find a spot for Chandler, but I’m still not sure how. I would have to drop someone from another position, and because of Love’s versatility and the injuries at cornerback right now I’m not willing to do that.

Special teams (3)

Punter: Riley Dixon
Placekicker: Aldrick Rosas
Snapper: Zak DeOssie
Out: LS Taybor Pepper, P Johnny Townsend

Dixon over Townsend. I see no reason for it to work out otherwise.