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Giants’ initial 53-man roster projection: Giants facing lots of tough choices

This is one of the most difficult roster projections I have ever done

The New York Giants have to set their initial 53-man roster by 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday. This will be my final 53-man roster projection.

In all honesty, this is one I do not undertake with a great deal of confidence. It is never easy to predict what a new coach will do, and with both a new coach (Brian Daboll) and GM (Joe Schoen) you can absolutely expect some roster surprises.

The Giants’ injury situation, especially along the offensive line and at edge defender, also complicates things.


Quarterback (3)

Starter: Daniel Jones
Backups: Tyrod Taylor, Davis Webb
Out: None

I have Webb making the roster because he deserves to be on it. Still, carrying three quarterbacks is a luxury since the No. 3 (Webb) will be inactive provided the guys in front of him are healthy. Of course, this is complicated right now because we don’t know the extent of the injury Taylor suffered on Sunday.

The Giants might have to pass Webb through waivers and sign him to the practice squad because of needs elsewhere. I am not sure they would be able to do that.

NFL: AUG 11 Preseason - Giants at Patriots
Jashaun Corbin
Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Running back (4)

Starter: Saquon Barkley
Backups: Matt Breida, Antonio Williams, Jashaun Corbin
Out: Gary Brightwell (practice squad), Sandro Platzgummer (practice squad)

Maybe I will be wrong here, but right from the start Corbin (a rookie undrafted free agent) has gotten more opportunities that Brightwell, a 2021 sixth-round pick. Brightwell played in the first half Sunday and Corbin in the second, but Corbin was farm more productive with his opportunities.

Tight end (3)

Starter: Daniel Bellinger
Backups: Chris Myarick, Tanner Hudson
Out: Austin Allen (practice squad)

When Bellinger left Sunday’s game it was Hudson who stepped in. I think the Giants keep Myarick and try to get Allen to the practice squad. I also wouldn’t be surprised if they add a tight end after Tuesday’s cuts. When I talked to Myarick on Sunday he said he would prepare like he will be with the team when they practice on Tuesday. We’ll see

Cincinnati Bengals v New York Giants
David Sills
Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

Wide receiver (6)

Starters: Kenny Golladay, Kadarius Toney, Wan’Dale Robinson
Backups: Sterling Shepard, David Sills, Richie James
Out: C.J. Board, Darius Slayton, Keelan Doss, Jaylon Moore (practice squad), Travis Toivonen, Alex Bachman, (practice squad)

I had a difficult time leaving Board and Bachman off the 53. Board is a useful NFL player, but he and James have roughly the same skillset. James, I think, is slightly better as both a receiver and a returner.

Darius Slayton? He has been working exclusively with the second and third teams. One final time — I just don’t see how it is financially feasible to keep Slayton, who won’t help special teams, as basically receiver No. 6 or No. 7. Slayton said Sunday it wouldn’t surprise him to be on a different team’s roster after Tuesday.

Bachman? I’d like to keep him on the 53. I can’t justify the seventh wide receiver, though, and I think James is the kickoff and punt returner.

Offensive line (9)

Starters: Andrew Thomas (LT), Shane Lemieux (LG), Jon Feliciano (C), Mark Glowinski (RG), Evan Neal (RT)
Backups: Joshua Ezeudu, Ben Bredeson, Jamil Douglas, Devery Hamilton
Out: Roy Mbaeteka (practice squad), Garrett McGhin, Josh Rivas, Eric Smith, Will Holden, Max Garcia

Don’t be surprised here if Lemieux goes to injured reserve after the initial 53-man roster is finalized, and Garcia is brought back. Or, someone is scooped up once final cuts are made. Hamilton has had a terrific summer and has guard-tackle flexibility, but if a proven swing tackle shakes loose I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Giants make a move there, as well.


Defensive line (5)

Starters: Leonard Williams, Dexter Lawrence
Backups: D.J. Davidson, Jalyn Holmes, Ryder Anderson
Out: David Moa, Nick Williams, Justin Ellis

Anderson, an undrafted free agent out of Indiana, has had a good summer. When I was looking at the choices here I kept thinking about the Giants’ decision to cut Andrew Adams, a youthful veteran player, to go younger. I’m thinking that might be bad news for veterans Nick Williams and Justin Ellis.

Edge (5)

Starters: Azeez Ojulari, Kayvon Thibodeaux
Backups: Jihad Ward, Elerson Smith, Oshane Ximines
Out: Quincy Roche, Tomon Fox (practice squad)

Honestly, I’m throwing darts when it comes to the spots behind Ojulari, Thibodeaux and Ward. We haven’t seen Smith in weeks and he could be one of those players who makes the roster and is then sent immediately to IR, opening a roster spot for one of the players released.

I’m not sure why, but Ximines. At some point, I have to believe what I’m seeing and it looks like this staff prefers Ximines to Roche. When I spoke to him Sunday night, Roche seemed to realize he might be seeking a new opportunity soon.

As for Fox, I wouldn’t be shocked if the Giants decide to go with the rookie instead of Ximines or Roche. I am guessing, though, that they try to get him through to the practice squad.

NFL: AUG 28 Preseason - Giants at Jets
Austin Calitro
Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Inside linebacker (5)

Starters: Blake Martinez, Tae Crowder
Backups: Micah McFadden, Austin Calitro, Cam Brown
Out: Carter Coughlin (practice squad)

The Darrian Beavers’ injury opened a spot. At some point, you have to reward performance and the journeyman Calitro has par outplayed Coughlin this summer. Brown sticks because he is probably the best special teams player the Giants have.

Cornerback (6)

Starters: Adoree’ Jackson, Aaron Robinson, Darnay Holmes
Backups: Olaijah Griffin, Cor’Dale Flott, Darren Evans
Out: Rodarius Williams, Khalil Dorsey, Harrison Hand, Zyon Gilbert (practice squad)

Before he got burned for a 29-yard touchdown by Denzel Mims on Sunday, I thought Hand would make the roster. Evans, undrafted out of LSU, was far from perfect this summer, but he is competitive, has the length Wink Martindale likes (6’2¼) and has some upside. Griffin played only eight snaps Sunday, and my guess is that is because the Giants had already made their decision about him. This is another position I could see the Giants supplementing once cuts are made.

Safety (4)

Starters: Xavier McKinney, Julian Love
Backups: Dane Belton, Nate Meadors
Out: Trenton Thompson (practice squad), Yusuf Corker (practice squad)

I entered Sunday thinking the Giants would keep Thompson, a UDFA, instead of Meadors. After Sunday’s 12-tackle, nullified interception performance where he didn’t make any obvious mistakes, I think Meadors is deserving. Besides, even though he is in his fourth NFL season, the 25-year-old Meadors in actually younger than the 26-year-old Thompson. I think Thompson and Corker could land on the practice squad.

Special teams (3)

Punter: Jamie Gillan
Placekicker: Graham Gano
Long-snapper: Casey Kreiter
Out: PK Ryan Santoso