Unsettled and unpredictable. With the New York Giants playing their final preseason game on Sunday against the New York Jets, and having to set their 53-man roster just two days later, that is the best way to describe the state of the Giants’ roster.
There are questions and competitions at nearly every position. There is a first-year GM and a first-year head coach with no roster construction track record we can lean on for clues. There are also several injuries to work around and compensate for.
With that said, here are seven position battles to keep an eye on during the game against the Jets. Want a hint how the roster is going to turn out? Watch for bubble players who do not play, or barely play, Sunday afternoon. Those guys should probably have their bags packed.
I’m pretty sure at this point that Antonio Williams is going to make the 53-man roster as the No. 3 running back. The fourth ... if there is a fourth? It feels like the Giants are giving undrafted free agent Jashaun Corbin every chance to take a spot away from 2021 sixth-round pick Gary Brightwell.
Corbin has 15 carries for 50 yards and nine receptions for 43 yards this preseason compared to seven carries for 40 yards and two receptions for 19 yards by Brightwell. Corbin has also averaged 23.5 yards on four kickoff returns.
Rookie fourth-round pick Daniel Bellinger is making the 53-man roster. Chris Myarick, Austin Allen and Tanner Hudson? I’m not so sure. It feels like those three are competing against the waiver wire, trying to convince the Giants they don’t need to go out and get more help.
Barring injury, I think five spots are locked down. Kenny Golladay, Wan’Dale Robinson, Kadarius Toney, Sterling Shepard and David Sills should be on the season-opening 53-man roster.
I think Richie James is the likely sixth guy, but C.J. Board, Alex Bachman and newly-acquired Jaylon Moore might have something to say about that. Or, perhaps one of them convinces the Giants to keep a seventh receiver.
Joshua Ezeudu and Ben Bredeson have both done enough to earn backup spots. Both, though, are hurt and that complicates everything. So, too, does the Shane Lemieux injury. Especially since Ezeudu and Bredeson would be 1 and 1a as the likely replacements if they were healthy.
So, how many linemen do the Giants keep? Which ones do they keep? Devery Hamilton has had a terrific summer playing both guard and tackle. Has he already made the roster, or does he need one more solid performance? Are veteran interior offensive linemen Max Garcia and Jamil Douglas competing for one spot? Could either Will Holden or Eric Smith do enough to earn a spot?
This is another one of those positions where I think GM Joe Schoen will be watching closely to see what players become available after Tuesday’s roster cuts.
Leonard Williams and Dexter Lawrence are the anchors of this group. Rookie fifth-round pick D.J. Davidson is almost certainly making the roster. That leaves undrafted free agent Ryder Anderson and veterans Nick Williams, Justin Ellis and Jalyn Holmes competing for what will likely be two spots.
The fact that the Giants released veteran Andrew Adams, a perfectly capable NFL backup, might indicate they will opt to keep younger players whenever possible. If that’s the case, that would be good news for Anderson. This is one of those positions where you should keep a keen eye on playing time Sunday afternoon.
Quincy Roche, Oshane Ximines and Tomon Fox might be competing for one spot. If Elerson Smith’s foot injury lands him on IR, perhaps two.
Ximines has gotten a surprising amount of first-team reps all summer. Equally surprising is that Roche has been buried on the second and third teams. Fox got a lot of attention after his big hit at the end of last week’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals. Can he turn that into a spot on the 53?
I think four spots are settled. Adoree’ Jackson, Darnay Holmes, Aaron Robinson and Cor’Dale Flott. I have to believe newly-acquired Olaijah Griffin and Harrison Hand are favorites to make the roster.
Could one of the undrafted free agent cornerbacks, Darren Evans or Zyon Gilbert, force his way on to the roster? Will the Giants be hunting for more help after roster cuts?