The New York Giants play their final preseason game Sunday against the New York Jets. By Tuesday, Aug. 30 at 4 p.m. ET, the Giants have to trim their roster to the regular season limit of 53 players.
Let’s take a look at the roster as we enter the final weekend of the preseason. This is not a 53-man roster projection. It is really a depth chart/roster analysis.
Starter: Daniel Jones
Backups: Tyrod Taylor, Davis Webb
Head coach Brian Daboll set Twitter ablaze not that long ago by saying that backup Tyrod Taylor might get some first-team reps during camp. Well, for me, that’s a non-story. Did you happen to notice that in the Week 2 preseason game Taylor played behind the starting offensive line and with the primary skill position players?
Daniel Jones has been pretty darn good in two preseason games. He’s 20 of 26 (76.9 percent completion rate) for 185 yards and an interception. There is no quarterback controversy, and won’t be unless we get into the regular season and Jones and the offensive are floundering.
“The games matter the most,” said head coach Brian Daboll “Again, we’re trying to script and do a lot of different things in practice. Again, you’d like to have a perfect practice every time you step out there. But the great thing about practice is it doesn’t count. It counts if you learn from it.”
Davis Webb, No. 3 on the depth chart and still without having thrown an NFL pass since being drafted by the Giants in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft, has looked like a competent NFL backup. The question is whether he lands on the 53-man roster or the practice squad.
Starter: Saquon Barkley
Backups: Matt Breida, Antonio Williams, Jashaun Corbin, Gary Brightwell
Saquon Barkley is healthy, happy and has been making a habit of shooting back at his critics during training camp.
The question for the Giants is who else will be at running back. Veteran Matt Breida is the presumptive No. 2 back, but he has missed a week or more of practice with an injury. Gary Brightwell has also been injured, and might be behind Antonio Williams and undrafted free agent Jashaun Corbin regardless.
I still wonder if this might be a spot where the Giants add someone once teams trim their rosters to 53.
Starter: Daniel Bellinger
Backups: Chris Myarick, Austin Allen, Tanner Hudson
The Giants re-made their tight end room during the offseason, letting Evan Engram, Kyle Rudolph and Kaden Smith go. Now, they are in the process of re-making the room again — only somewhat by choice.
The Giants began training camp with seven tight ends. They have cut Jeremiah Hall, terminated the contract of Jordan Akins and placed Ricky Seals-Jones (toe) and Andre Miller (broken forearm) on injured reserve.
The Giants now have rookies Daniel Bellinger (fourth-round pick) and Austin Allen (undrafted free agent), blocking tight end Chris Myarick and the newly acquired Tanner Hudson, signed after being cut by the San Francisco 49ers.
Will there be room for all four players on the 53-man roster? Doubtful. Are the Giants done adding players at this position. Probably not.
Starters: Kenny Golladay, Kadarius Toney, Wan’Dale Robinson
Backups: Sterling Shepard (PUP list), David Sills, Alex Bachman, Richie James, C.J. Board, Darius Slayton, Keelan Doss, Jaylon Moore
Golladay, Toney, Robinson, Shepard and Sills are making the roster. Beyond that, who knows? Does the Collin Johnson injury open the door for Darius Slayton? Even if they want to keep Slayton, can they do that considering their salary cap situation? Can they keep both C.J. Board and Richie James? If not, I would give the nod to James. What about Alex Bachman? Is there time for Jaylon Moore to earn a roster spot?
Starters: Andrew Thomas (LT), Shane Lemieux (LG), Jon Feliciano (C), Mark Glowinski (RG), Evan Neal (RT)
Backups: Joshua Ezeudu, Ben Bredeson, Garrett McGhin, Will Holden, Eric Smith, Josh Rivas, Jamil Douglas, Max Garcia, Roy Mbaeteka, Devery Hamilton
Will Shane Lemieux be ready to open the season? Beyond that, the situation with the backups remains jumbled. Joshua Ezeudu has not practiced since the first preseason game. Ben Bredeson has an elbow injury. Devery Hamilton probably deserves a roster spot. Who stays and who does among guys like Jamil Douglas, Max Garcia and Will Holden?
Starters: Leonard Williams, Dexter Lawrence
Backups: Justin Ellis, D.J. Davidson, David Moa, Jalyn Holmes, Nick Williams, Ryder Anderson
The Giants’ ‘base’ defense is a three-man front. With all the sub-packages employed by defenses now, though, defensive coordinator Wink Martindale admits teams — the Giants included — are in their base only a small percentage of the time. That is why I only have Williams and Lawrence listed as starters.
I think the Giants probably keep five true defensive linemen. The player to watch here is undrafted free agent Ryder Anderson. Can the 6’6, 276-pounder out of Indiana take a roster spot away from a veteran like Justin Ellis, Nick Williams or Jalyn Holmes? Maybe.
Starters: Azeez Ojulari, Kayvon Thibodeaux
Backups: Jihad Ward, Elerson Smith, Oshane Ximines, Quincy Roche, Tomon Fox
Injuries have impacted this position during training camp. Azeez Ojulari missed the first portion of camp with a hamstring injury. Kayvon Thibodeaux is out now and questionable for the season opener with a sprained MCL. Jihad Ward and Elerson Smith have not been practicing for the past couple of weeks with injuries.
Between Oshane Ximines, Quincy Roche and undrafted free agent Tomon Fox who will take advantage of the available snaps to make the roster?
Starters: Blake Martinez, Tae Crowder
Backups: Carter Coughlin, Micah McFadden, Austin Calitro, Cam Brown
The unfortunate season-ending injury suffered by rookie Darrian Beavers opens a roster spot. In my view, Carter Coughlin and Austin Calitro are likely the players competing to fill it. I can’t make an overwhelmingly strong case for either guy. Cam Brown is still more special teams player than linebacker.
Starters: Adoree’ Jackson, Aaron Robinson, Darnay Holmes
Backups: Rodarius Williams, Darren Evans, Olaijah Griffin, Zyon Gilbert, Cor’Dale Flott, Khalil Dorsey, Harrison Hand
The Giants have been awarded Olaijah Griffin and Harrison Hand on waivers the past two weeks. Cor’Dale Flott hasn’t practiced in a couple of weeks. Can you give him a roster spot if he doesn’t get on the field? Rodarius Williams has been a ghost since the first couple of days of camp.
Starters: Xavier McKinney, Julian Love
Backups: Dane Belton, Yusuf Corker, Andrew Adams, Trenton Thompson, Nate Meadors
How many safeties will the Giants keep? That might depend on Dane Belton’s recovery from his broken collarbone. Andrew Adams is probably safe. Among the two undrafted free agent safeties, the consensus seems to be that Trenton Thompson is ahead of Yusuf Corker. We’ll see.
Punter: Jamie Gillan
Placekicker: Graham Gano
Long-snapper: Casey Kreiter