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Giants’ roster: Assessing where things stand after flurry of moves

Let’s look at the still-evolving 53-man roster

NFL: AUG 12 Preseason - Jets at Eagles
Jack Anderson
Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Your head is spinning trying to keep up with the roster moves New York Giants GM Joe Schoen has made over the past couple of days. You have completely lost track of who is, and who is not, on the team’s 53-man roster. Let’s help you out. Here is a look at the current 53-man roster and practice squad, as well as the injured reserve and PUP lists, and some updated thoughts on where things stand.

GM Joe Schoen speaks to media around 11 a.m. on Thursday.

Quarterback (2)

Starter: Daniel Jones
Backup: Tyrod Taylor
Practice squad: Davis Webb

Webb cleared waivers and is back, which likely makes everyone happy. In retrospect, it shouldn’t be a surprise that he went unclaimed. He still hasn’t thrown a regular season pass in five NFL seasons, and teams outside New York and Buffalo are probably not convinced he can be successful away from Brian Daboll.

Running back (4)

Starter: Saquon Barkley
Backups: Matt Breida, Antonio Williams, Gary Brightwell
Practice squad: Jashaun Corbin

I am still mad at myself for not picking Brightwell to make the roster over Corbin in my final 53-man roster projection. There are tells when it comes to the roster, and I think the tell here was Brightwell being unveiled as a kickoff returner in the final preseason game.

Anyway, the Giants are likely happy that Corbin cleared waivers. He is an intriguing young player and provides depth at the position.

Tight end (3)

Starter: Daniel Bellinger
Backups: Chris Myarick, Tanner Hudson
Practice squad: Austin Allen
Injured reserve: Andre Miller (season-ending), Ricky Seals-Jones (season-ending)

The Giants went through some roster gymnastics on Wednesday. Hudson was among four vested veterans waived when waiver claims were made. The Giants had to do that because NFL rules dictate that waiver claims were awarded at noon, but players could be placed on IR until 4 p.m. So, Hudson is back. It still feels like the Giants have to be looking for potential upgrades here.

Wide receiver (7)

Starters: Kenny Golladay, Wan’Dale Robinson, Kadarius Toney
Backups: Sterling Shepard, David Sills, Richie James, Darius Slayton
Practice squad: C.J. Board, Jaylon Moore
Injured reserve: Collin Johnson (season-ending)

Yes, Slayton is still a Giant. Yes, I still do not believe he will be a Giant when the team opens the season Sept. 11 vs. the Tennessee Titans.

Per Over The Cap, the Giants are a league-worst $5.205 million OVER the $208.2 million salary cap. They have to get under that cap by next Tuesday, Sept. 6. If you want Slayton on the regular-season roster, I would not celebrate until then.

Trading or cutting Slayton would save the Giants $2.54 million. It won’t get them all the way to where they need to be — they are almost going to have to re-structure a contract or two — but it still seems like a move they are going to be forced to make. Even if it makes the roster less talented.

Offensive line (8)

Starters: Andrew Thomas (LT), Devery Hamilton (LG), Jon Feliciano (C), Mark Glowinski (RG), Evan Neal (RT)
Backups: Joshua Ezeudu, Ben Bredeson, Jack Anderson
Practice squad: Max Garcia, Will Holden, Garrett McGhin, Roy Mbaeteka
Injured reserve: Shane Lemieux, Marcus McKethan (season-ending)
PUP: Nick Gates, Matt Peart

The roster machinations have left the Giants with one less offensive lineman than was on the original 53-man roster. Garcia is now on the practice squad rather than the active roster, and it a luxury to have a player likes (seven seasons, 93 NFL games, 52 starts) there.

Anderson is an interesting player, and at is possible that he could end up being the Week 1 starter at left guard. BBV’s Chris Pflum wrote Wednesday that Anderson “has good strength and agility, as well as the versatility to back up the center position.”

Anderson was a 2021 seventh-round pick by the Buffalo Bills and played in two games for the Philadelphia Eagles last season. During the preseason, he played 57 snaps at center, 45 at right guard and 42 at left guard for the Eagles. Brandon Lee Gowton of SB Nation’s Eagles website, Bleeding Green Nation, sent this message to Big Blue View on Wednesday after the team claimed Anderson:

“Jack Anderson is a quality pickup for the Giants. Had him making the Eagles’ 53-man roster, as did most other beat writers.”

The Giants’ other option at left guard right now appears to be Hamilton. He had a good summer, but he has never played in an NFL game.

Daboll was vague about Lemieux and Ezeudu, both of whom suffered injuries in the first preseason game.

Of Lemieux, Daboll said: “He’s pretty resilient. Unfortunately, he’s been through it once, but he’s in good spirits. So, he’ll work back. He’s been already rehabbing, and he’ll be back as soon as he can.”

Of Ezeudu, Daboll said only that “he’s getting better.”

Defensive line (5)

Starters: Leonard Williams, Dexter Lawrence
Backups: Justin Ellis, Nick Williams, D.J. Davidson
Practice squad: Ryder Anderson

As the Giants had obviously anticipated, the undrafted Anderson cleared waivers. Bringing him back to the practice squad gives them an intriguing young player to try and mold into a useful part of their defensive line.

Edge (5)

Starters: Azeez Ojulari, Kayvon Thibodeaux
Backups: Jihad Ward, Oshane Ximines, Tomon Fox
Practice squad: Quincy Roche
Injured reserve: Elerson Smith

I was surprised that Roche cleared waivers. He won’t be on the practice squad for 17 games. Either the Giants will bring him to their 53, or another team will have a need and will pluck him away from New York.

Inside linebacker (6)

Starters: Blake Martinez, Tae Crowder
Backups: Micah McFadden, Carter Coughlin, Austin Calitro, Cam Brown
Injured reserve: Darrian Beavers (season-ending)

Calitro was in, out, and back in again.

Cornerback (6)

Starters: Adoree’ Jackson, Aaron Robinson, Darnay Holmes
Backups: Cor’Dale Flott, Justin Layne, Nick McCloud
Practice squad: Harrison Hand, Zyon Gilbert, Darren Evans
Injured reserve: Rodarius Williams

We knew that the Giants figured to be looking for cornerback help on the waiver wire, and they claimed Layne and McCloud to add depth. Layne was a 2019 third-round pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers who never developed the way the Steelers thought he might.

Here is his pre-2019 draft scouting report:

Ascending bump-and-run cornerback with rare size and length who leans on good movement skills to overcome his average long speed. Although he plays with good route recognition, he’ll allow some separation from breaks, but he’s quick to hug-up and close the restrict the throwing window. He’s not a burner, but he uses his size ball skills to make plays on the football down the field. Layne’s traits could make him a fit in a variety of coverages, but he needs consistent toughness to help support against the run.

Perhaps defensive coordinator Wink Martindale and defensive backs coach Jerome Henderson can unlock talent the Steelers couldn’t reach.

Safety (4)

Starters: Xavier McKinney, Julian Love
Backups: Dane Belton, Jason Pinnock
Practice squad: Trenton Thompson, Nate Meadors

Apparently, Schoen reads Big Blue View. Our Nick Falato recommended claiming Pinnock away from the New York Jets and the Giants did.

A note about Tony Jefferson. There have been reports that he is joining the Giants, and that may be the case. Jefferson even tweeted this on Wednesday night:

As of this writing, though, nothing has officially happened. Jefferson is not yet listed on the 53-man roster or practice squad on the team’s website.

Special teams (3)

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