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Giants’ 53-man roster analysis: Who’s in, who’s out, what happens next

The initial roster is set, but changes will be coming over the next few days

The New York Giants’ initial 53-man roster for the 2022 NFL season is set. There are plenty of surprises, including wide receiver Darius Slayton still being with the team and quarterback Davis Webb having been released.

The roster is bound to change, perhaps significantly, as soon as 24 hours from now. Waived players will be awarded to claiming teams beginning on noon on Wednesday, Aug. 31. There are also vested veteran players who are not subject to waivers and became free agents as soon as they were cut. Plus, the Giants likely have several players on the initial 53-man roster who will likely end up on the Injured Reserve list.

Coach Brian Daboll said Tuesday afternoon that the Giants were “still working through some things.”

Initial 53-man roster

Quarterback (2)

Starter: Daniel Jones
Backup: Tyrod Taylor

The Giants ultimately decided to keep two quarterbacks. Davis Webb was cut despite his outstanding preseason. Ultimately, Webb should be back if he isn’t claimed by another team. Whether that is on the 53-man roster or practice squad when the inevitable shuffling gets done remains to be seen.

Running back (4)

Starter: Saquon Barkley
Backups: Matt Breida, Antonio Williams, Gary Brightwell

I had undrafted free agent Jashaun Corbin making the roster instead of Brightwell. The Giants decided to go with Brightwell, who could end up returning kickoffs and being a key member of the special teams coverage units.

Tight end (3)

Starter: Daniel Bellinger
Backups: Chris Myarick, Tanner Hudson

The Giants dropped undrafted free agent Austin Allen, who could return as a member of the practice squad if he clears waivers. Myarick and Hudson are not inspiring backups, so you have to think GM Joe Schoen will be scouring today’s list of cuts for upgrades.

Wide receiver (7)

Starters: Kenny Golladay, Wan’Dale Robinson, Kadarius Toney
Backups: Sterling Shepard, David Sills, Richie James, Darius Slayton

Yeah, yeah, I can hear all the Slayton fans now saying “I told you so.” I still would not count on Slayton being part of the Giants’ Week 1 roster against the Tennessee Titans. Technically, we have not reached the 4 p.m. deadline as I type this. Also, things will be fluid around the league as teams shuffle their rosters for the next few days, especially the next 24-28 hours. So, we’ll see.

Some folks are upset about the release of Alex Bachman. Despite his 19 preseason receptions, Bachman was always facing an uphill battle. All of his playing time, and practice time, came with the third team. That was an obvious tell that he wasn’t a likely roster candidate.

Offensive line (9)

Starters: Andrew Thomas, Shane Lemieux, Jon Feliciano, Mark Glowinski, Evan Neal
Backups: Joshua Ezeudu, Ben Bredeson, Devery Hamilton, Max Garcia

The one move that fooled me was the Giants choosing Garcia over Jamil Douglas. For most of the summer it seemed like the Giants gave Douglas more and better opportunities, so it was natural to believe they preferred him to Douglas as a backup interior offensive lineman. In the end, Garcia has the better resume and got the job.

It would not be a surprise is Shane Lemieux ends up on IR. That could lead either to Douglas being brought back, or the Giants bringing in a veteran from elsewhere.

Defensive line (5)

Starters: Leonard Williams, Dexter Lawrence
Backups: Justin Ellis, Nick Williams, D.J. Davidson

I said in my 53-man projection that this was a coin flip. I flipped wrong. I had Ellis and Williams out. Instead, the Giants let Jalyn Holmes and undrafted free agent Ryder Anderson go. Wonder if Anderson lands on the practice squad should he go unclaimed.

Edge (6)

Starters: Azeez Ojulari, Kayvon Thibodeaux
Backups: Jihad Ward, Elerson Smith, Oshane Ximines, Tomon Fox

As it appeared all summer, the Giants preferred Ximines to Quincy Roche. Tomon Fox ended up as the only undrafted free agent to make the initial roster.

Smith, who has been out for several weeks with a foot injury, is a player who could soon be placed on IR. Best guess is if that happens it won’t lead to a return for Roche. It will be surprising if he goes unclaimed.

Inside linebacker (6)

Starters: Blake Martinez, Tae Crowder
Backups: Micah McFadden, Carter Coughlin, Austin Calitro, Cam Brown

In my 53-man roster projection, I debated between Coughlin and Calitro. The Giants solved that problem, at least for now, by keeping both players.

Cornerback (5)

Starters: Adoree’ Jackson, Aaron Robinson, Darnay Holmes
Backups: Cor’Dale Flott, Rodarius Williams

This has to be a spot where the Giants are scouring the waiver wire, available free agents for help. Williams has not practiced since the first few days of camp and is almost certainly headed toward IR. So, it would seem the Giants could stand to pick up at least two new backup cornerbacks.

Safety (3)

Starters: Xavier McKinney, Julian Love
Backups: Dane Belton

In my 53-man projection, I debated between undrafted Trenton Thompson and veteran Nate Meadors. I chose Meadors. The Giants chose neither.

It would be shocking if the Giants go into the season with only three safeties, especially since Belton has not been practicing after breaking his collarbone. The Baltimore Ravens released veteran safety Tony Jefferson, a player defensive coordinator Wink Martindale is familiar with. That’s something to keep an eye on.

Special teams (3)

Placekicker: Graham Gano
Punter: Jamie Gillan
Long snapper: Casey Kreiter

No surprises here.

Players cut

OL Roy Mbaeteka
OL Will Holden
DL Jalyn Holmes
CB Khalil Dorsey
CB Harrison Hand
S Nate Meadors
S Trenton Thompson
RB Sandro Platzgummer (exemption)
WR Jaylon Moore
RB Jashaun Corbin
WR Alex Bachman
CB Darren Evans
OL Jamil Douglas
WR/KR C.J. Board
DL Ryder Anderson
OL Garrett McGhin
OLB Quincy Roche
QB Davis Webb
DT David Moa
CB Zyon Gilbert
TE Austin Allen
OL Josh Rivas
DB Yusuf Corker
K Ryan Santoso
WR Keelan Doss
WR Travis Toivonen
DB Olaijah Griffin
OL Eric Smith