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Giants preseason Week 1 53-man roster projection

Who’s in, who’s out in our latest prediction?

Philadelphia Eagles v New York Giants Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

Jobs are on the line as the New York Giants open their 2021 NFL preseason on Saturday vs. the New York Jets. With less than a month to go before the Giants have to set their initial 53-man roster, let’s update our roster projection.

Offense (25)

Quarterbacks (2)

Current roster: Daniel Jones, Mike Glennon, Clayton Thorson

In: Jones, Glennon
Out: Thorson

Nothing to see here. One thing that would be nice to see is Glennon, who has been scatter-armed throughout camp, completing a few more passes.

Running back (4)

Current roster: Saquon Barkley, Devontae Booker, Corey Clement, Alfred Morris, Gary Brightwell, Sandro Platzgummer

In: Barkley, Booker, Clement, Morris
Out: Brightwell, Platzgummer

As a sixth-round pick, Brightwell is hardly guaranteed a roster spot. He has been sidelined from practice for a week or so at this point, and with Morris on the roster and Clement appearing to have a nice camp the young man is falling behind. Right now, I would guess he is headed to the practice squad.

Fullback (1)

Current roster: Elijhaa Penny, Cullen Gillaspia

In (1): Penny
Out: Gillaspia

I continue to be curious about what will happen here. I don’t see any real reason to move on from Penny unless you have a clear upgrade at the position. I don’t think Gillaspia is that, but Gillaspia was working as the personal protector on punt team recently. So, we will see how this plays out.

Tight end (3)

Current roster: Evan Engram, Kyle Rudolph, Kaden Smith, Nakia Griffin-Stewart, Rysen John, Cole Hikutini, Jake Hausmann

In: Engram, Rudolph, Smith
Out: Griffin-Stewart, John, Hikutini, Hausmann

This one is interesting. Engram, Rudolph if he ever gets on the field, and Smith will make the roster. I had four tight ends making the 53-man roster before Levine Toilolo was lost for the season with an Achilles tendon tear. If the Giants keep four tight ends it probably comes down to John or Hikutini. I’m just not sure they will keep a fourth from this group.

Wide receiver (7)

Current roster: Kenny Golladay, Darius Slayton, Sterling Shepard, Kadarius Toney, John Ross, Dante Pettis, Austin Mack, C.J. Board, Alex Bachman, David Sills V, Matt Cole, Damion Willis

In (7): Golladay, Shepard, Slayton, Toney, Ross, Sills, Board
Out: Pettis, Mack, Cole, Willis, Bachman

Sills and Board are having excellent training camps. As of now, both deserve to make the roster more than a fourth tight end or ninth offensive lineman.

Offensive line (8)

Current roster: Andrew Thomas, Shane Lemieux, Nick Gates, Will Hernandez, Matt Peart, Jonotthan Harrison, Nate Solder, Chad Slade, Kyle Murphy, Kenny Wiggins, Jackson Barton, Brett Heggie, Jake Burton.

In: Thomas, Lemieux, Gates, Hernandez, Peart, Solder, Wiggins, TBA (not on the roster)
Out: Harrison, Slade, Murphy, Barton, Heggie, Burton

Judge was justifiably non-committal this week about any of the backup offensive linemen beyond Solder, upon whom he has heaped praise. Beyond the starting five and Solder as a backup tackle, I have no idea what might happen. I believe at least one or more of the reserve offensive linemen who will be on the 53-man roster are not on the current 90-man roster.

Harrison was signed to be the backup center, but he’s been hurt and hasn’t done much. He could still make the team, but I need to see more. Wiggins has gotten some first-team burn, but I’m not sure that means much. I have him making the roster, for now, but I won’t be shocked if he doesn’t stick. I have thought for the past couple of seasons that the Giants really liked Murphy, but to this point he hasn’t been able to push past Wiggins, an aging journeyman. That could change.

GM Dave Gettleman said he really wanted to get through a preseason game before shuffling the depth. Saturday’s game against the New York Jets is going to be huge for young players like Murphy, Heggie and Burton. Truthfully, beyond the starting five and Solder I’m not comfortable right now giving anyone a roster spot. Changes are coming. If you have paid attention to training camp, you know they have to.

Defense (25)

Defensive line (5)

Current roster: Leonard Williams, Dexter Lawrence, B.J. Hill, Danny Shelton, Austin Johnson, David Moa, Willie Henry, Elijah Qualls

In: Williams, Lawrence, Hill, Shelton, Johnson
Out: Moa, Henry, Qualls

The Giants shuffled their depth this week, adding Qualls and Henry while waiving R.J. McIntosh. To me, that isn’t really about the 53-man roster. That is about adding depth to get through at least this first preseason game without having to expose the Giants primary players.

Edge (6)

Current roster: Lorenzo Carter, Azeez Ojulari, Ifeadi Odenigbo, Ryan Anderson, Oshane Ximines, Elerson Smith, Cam Brown, Niko Lalos, Trent Harris, Raymond Johnson III

In: Carter, Ojulari, Odenigbo, Ximines, Smith, Brown
Out: Anderson, Lalos, Speaks, Harris, Johnson

In previous projections, I have had Anderson making the cut and Ximines being cut. I’m flip-flopping that here. There is virtually no training camp evidence to go on, as both players have barely begun practicing. I just need to see something — anything — productive from Anderson before I drop a third-round pick with potential who is still on his rookie deal.

I also have Elerson Smith making the roster. Lalos has been getting some first-team reps, but that has mostly been because there have not been other options. I wonder about Smith’s readiness to open the season, but there is no way the Giants expose him to waivers and try to get him to the practice squad. He will never get there.

Linebacker (4)

Current roster: Blake Martinez, Tae Crowder, Reggie Ragland, Devante Downs, T.J. Brunson, Carter Coughlin

In: Martinez, Crowder, Ragland, Coughlin
Out: Downs, Brunson

Honestly, in my view this one is pretty clear. I just don’t see Downs or Brunson taking a job from any of the other four.

Cornerback (5)

Current roster: Sam Beal, James Bradberry, Darnay Holmes, Adoree’ Jackson, Jarren Williams, Quincy Williams, Aaron Robinson, Rodarius Williams, Madre Harper, Isaac Yiadom, Joshua Kalu, Chris Milton

In: Bradberry, Jackson, Holmes, Yiadom, Rodarius Williams

Jackson couldn’t stop smiling and praising Rodarius Williams, the sixth-round pick out of Oklahoma State, when he was asked about him on Thursday.

“Man, I like his game, what he brings, his enthusiasm, his competitiveness. He’s a dog out there, man. Every day at practice, I say, ‘you know who I came to see.’ I come to see him work, see him play,” Jackson said. “Like, I watch him and everything that he does. I’m just trying to improve, and see what he does, and I try to add it to my game, so I appreciate having him. It keeps everybody on edge. So, he’s [a] talented player, he’s special. I just like seeing him go out there and competing

“t’s just impressive. I don’t want to say it’s rare or nothing, but that’s just the way he is. It’s good to have that. He doesn’t waver, he doesn’t change, and he does what’s got him here and it’s working, so I like that about him.”

In previous predictions, I have had third-round pick Aaron Robinson making the roster. Here, I have left him off in favor of Yiadom. We haven’t seen Robinson on the field since rookie mini-camp, and it’s getting late. I can’t hand him a roster spot until he gets on the practice field and earns it. As with Elerson Smith, I don’t want to see the Giants lose him to waivers. I’m wondering if Robinson remains on PUP to start the season, which would cost him at least the first six games.

Safety (5)

Current roster: Logan Ryan, Jabrill Peppers, Xavier McKinney, Julian Love, Montre Hartage, Chris Johnson, Jordyn Peters

In: Ryan, Peppers, McKinney, Love, Nate Ebner
Out: Hartage, Peters, Johnson

Judge has been insistent that Ebner, the veteran special teamer who isn’t currently on the roster, will be part of the team. Ebner is apparently still rehabbing an injury from last season, something that caused him to drop a bid to make the U.S. Olympic Rugby Team.

Here is what Judge said about Ebner earlier this week:

“Nate’s continuing his rehab right now at home. He’s been in touch with our medical team regularly. I’m not going to go fully into his deal, but I will say this, Nate obviously was competing for a spot on the Olympic team. The nature of Nate is, he doesn’t know how to slow down, so there was a point where he was kind of pushing and pushing his body and he had to make a decision at one point. He could talk more directly about it, but obviously he had to step away from the Olympics and kind of focus more on the football season and he’s at a point right now where he had to kind of step back and refocus on the rehab process instead of worrying about going to Tokyo with the competition. I know he’s working hard. That’s the way Nate is and how he’s wired. We’re looking forward to getting him and as soon as we get a chance to get him back, I’m anxious to see him back.”

Special teams (3)

Current roster: PK Graham Gano, PK Ryan Santoso, P Riley Dixon, LS Casey Kreiter, LS Carson Tinker

In: Gano, Dixon, Kreiter
Out: Santoso, Tinker

I continue to wonder if the Giants might bring in veteran competition for Dixon, but with the current group there is no reason to expect changes from last season.