With the New York Giants opening their preseason on Thursday night against the New York Jets, let’s update our 53-man roster projection. What we see in game action the next few weeks will likely change some of these, but this is where I think things stand as of now.
Starter: Eli Manning
Backups: Daniel Jones, Alex Tanney
Pat Shurmur said the other day that he has been around teams that have kept two quarterbacks. He has also been around teams that kept four. I will stick with the belief that the Giants like the veteran Tanney enough to keep him around.
Running backs (4)
Change: Gallman out
Starter: Saquon Barkley
Backups: Rod Smith, Paul Perkins
Fullback: Elijhaa Penny
I’m going to stick with the idea that Perkins will take a job away from Wayne Gallman. The long pass Perkins caught from Daniel Jones the other day, which was a pretty nice grab in addition to being a terrific throw, is the kind of splash play I don’t ever recall seeing Gallman make.
Tight ends (4)
Starters: Evan Engram, Rhett Ellison
Backup: C.J. Conrad, Scott Simonson
Conrad keeps impressing. I keep believing he is making the roster
Wide receivers (6)
Starters: Sterling Shepard, Bennie Fowler
Backups: Cody Latimer, Darius Slayton, T.J. Jones, Russell Shepard
Change: Tate (suspension) and Coleman (IR) out, Fowler and Jones in
This is the position where there has been the most upheaval during training camp. Unless things change, Tate faces a four-game suspension at the start of the season. Coleman, of course, is already out for the year.
I have gone back-and-forth on Fowler, who has 72 receptions in five NFL seasons. The more you watch, though, he has a nice connection with Eli Manning that the Giants might be able to capitalize on.
Jones, picked up when injuries struck the wide receiver position, wasn’t re-signed after five seasons with the Detroit Lions. He has 49 receptions over the last two seasons, and could be an intriguing slot option while Tate is out.
Reggie White Jr. has flashed some, but at this point I still think he is ticketed for the practice squad.
I’m concerned about Slayton. Shurmur keeps saying the fifth-round pick will be back soon, but he’s been out the entire camp at this point and “soon” is already out the window. To my eyes, he hasn’t looked good walking around, and he’s missed a lot of valuable development time.
Offensive linemen (9)
Starters: Nate Solder (LT), Will Hernandez (LG), Jon Halapio (C), Kevin Zeitler (RG), Mike Remmers (RT)
Backups: Spencer Pulley, Chad Wheeler, James O’Hagan, Nick Gates
Change: Gates in
Beyond Pulley, I remain uncertain of any of the backups here.
Gates is a guy who was undrafted a year ago and spent the season on the Giants’ IR list. Offensive line coach Hal Hunter has spoken highly of him and he has worked with the second team. So, I will give him a spot.
Wheeler could lose out to Brian Mihalik. Or, both could make it. Former Houston Texans guard Chad Slade could figure in somewhere, as well. Evan Brown could hold off O’Hagan. Lots of question marks.
If I’m GM Dave Gettleman I’m scouring the waiver wire for veteran castoffs during the preseason to bring in as depth players.
Defensive linemen (6)
Starters: Dalvin Tomlinson, B.J. Hill, Dexter Lawrence
Backups: RJ McIntosh, Chris Slayton, Olsen Pierre
Nothing to see here. The one thing I wonder about is whether or not Slayton will actually make the final 53-man roster.
Edge defenders (4)
Starters: Lorenzo Carter, Markus Golden
Backups: Oshane Ximines, Kareem Martin
I root for Avery Moss, but I don’t know how he makes the roster. Newly-acquired rookie Joey Alfieri is probably an edge guy for the Giants, and we will have to see if he can make a run at a roster spot.
Inside linebackers (4)
Starters: Alec Ogletree, B.J. Goodson
Backups: Tae Davis, Ryan Connelly
Change: Tauaefa out
I have gone back-and-forth on undrafted free agent Josiah Tauaefa. Here, I leave him off. I just haven’t see enough from him yet.
Starters: Janoris Jenkins, DeAndre Baker, Julian Love (slot)
Backups: Sam Beal, Grant Haley, Corey Ballentine, Antonio Hamilton
Beal needs to get back on the field or he is going to wind up surpassed by Ballentine on the depth chart.
Starters: Jabrill Peppers, Antoine Bethea
Backups: Michael Thomas
Again, I am going to go with only three safeties. Love’s ability to play free safety as well as cornerback costs either Sean Chandler or Kenny Ladler a roster spot.
Special teams (3)
Punter: Riley Dixon
Placekicker: Aldrick Rosas
Snapper: Zak DeOssie
Unless injury dictates a switch somewhere in here, there is no reason to make any changes to this group.