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Giants 53-man roster projection: Who’s in and who’s out?

Let’s update our projection as the Giants open their preseason

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Kyle Howard

As the New York Giants open their preseason against the Detroit Lions on Friday night, let’s update our 53-man roster projection. This is something I said the other day I did not want to do, but this is a good time to assess where things stand with the numerous roster competitions. So, let’s get to it.


Quarterback (2)

In: Daniel Jones, Tyrod Taylor
Practice Squad: Tommy DeVito
Out: None

Who is the third quarterback? I still believe it isn’t going to be Tommy DeVito, the undrafted free agent out of Illinois. Until the Giants replace him, though, I will give DeVito a spot as the practice squad quarterback.

Running backs (4)

In: Saquon Barkley, Matt Breida, Eric Gray, Gary Brightwell
Practice squad: James Robinson
Out: Jashaun Corbin

For now, I am sticking with four running backs making the final roster. Whether or not he winds up as the kickoff returner, Gary Brightwell offers special teams value that should not be overlooked. If the Giants decide they need an extra player at cornerback, tight end, or elsewhere, though, Brightwell could be the odd man out. In that case, I think the Giants would hope to get him to the practice squad.

Tight ends (3)

In: Darren Waller, Daniel Bellinger, Lawrence Cager
Practice squad: Tommy Sweeney
Out: Chris Myarick, Ryan Jones

As I have written before, I would rather keep four tight ends. It bothers me that Bellinger is the only inline blocking tight end making the roster in this prediction. The Giants, though, can always use an offensive lineman as a jumbo tight end if need be. I also think that the Giants could get Sweeney or one of the other tight ends to the practice squad

Wide receiver (7)

In: Isaiah Hodgins, Darius Slayton, Parris Campbell, Jalin Hyatt, Wan’Dale Robinson (currently on PUP), Sterling Shepard, Cole Beasley
Practice squad: Jamison Crowder, Bryce Ford-Wheaton
Out: Collin Johnson, Jaydon Mickens, Kalil Pimpleton, David Sills

Sterling Shepard returned to the practice field this summer sooner than many anticipated. Wan’Dale Robinson is expected off the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list in a few days, per GM Joe Schoen. That, again, is earlier than many anticipated.

I have given the last two spots to Shepard and Cole Beasley. Shepard has moved well and made plays thus far, and the more I watch him I don’t think the Giants release him if he can still help them. As for Beasley, he is a Brian Daboll favorite and I don’t think he is going anywhere.

I have Jamison Crowder and Bryce Ford-Wheaton going to the practice squad. I don’t know if Crowder, a veteran player with 415 career catches, would accept that. He would, though, make great insurance. As for Bryce Ford-Wheaton, I have always thought he was ticketed for the Giants’ practice squad. I have yet to see anything that changes my mind.

I think Collin Johnson finds a job in the league elsewhere if the Giants don’t keep him.

Offensive line (9)

In: Andrew Thomas, Ben Bredeson, John Michael Schmitz, Mark Glowinski, Evan Neal, Josh Ezeudu, Tyre Phillips, Matt Peart, Marcus McKethan
Practice squad: Shane Lemieux, Korey Cunningham, Jack Anderson
Out: Sean Harlow, Devery Hamilton, Wyatt Davis

The change here from the pre-training camp prediction is Matt Peart making the roster and Shane Lemieux landing on the practice squad. I will bite on making that switch simply because it is Peart the Giants turned to for first-team reps when Evan Neal suffered his concussion. That might be simply for them to decide once and for all if Peart can help them and I’m still not 100% convinced he sticks. For now, though, I will roll with that.


Defensive line (5)

In: Dexter Lawrence, Leonard Williams, Rakeem Nunez-Roches, A’Shawn Robinson, Jordon Riley
Practice squad: Ryder Anderson
PUP: D.J. Davidson
Out: Kobe Smith, Brandin Bryant, Kevin Atkins, Donovan Jeter

In a switch from the pre-training camp projection, I have seventh-round pick Jordon Riley making the roster and Ryder Anderson heading to the practice squad. Head coach Brian Daboll has been vague about how long Anderson will be out with his triceps injury, and his absence from practice opens a door for Riley. Riley drew some praise for his work during joint practices against the Detroit Lions, including from Brian Baldinger:

Edge (5)

In: Kayvon Thibodeaux, Azeez Ojulari, Jihad Ward, Oshane Ximines, Tomon Fox
Practice squad: Tashawn Bower
Out: Habakkuk Baldonado

If I was Ximines or Fox, I would not get comfortable. I still believe the Giants will look for an upgrade after teams trim their rosters from 90 to 53 players.

Inside linebacker (5)

In: Bobby Okereke, Darrian Beavers, Micah McFadden, Cam Brown, Carter Coughlin
Out: Dyontae Johnson, Troy Brown

For now, I am giving the last two spots to the incumbents — Cam Brown and Carter Coughlin. In the end, though, I think it’s possible neither makes the 53-man roster. One or both of the undrafted free agents — Dyontae Johnson and Troy Brown — could grab a job with impressive preseasons. There is also the possibility of looking for veteran help off the waiver wire after roster cuts.

Cornerback (5)

In: Adoree’ Jackson, Deonte Banks, Cor’Dale Flott, Tre Hawkins III, Darnay Holmes
Practice squad: Zyon Gilbert, Gemon Green, Amani Oruwariye
PUP: Aaron Robinson
Out: Rodarius Williams, Darren Evans

Yes, I have Darnay Holmes making the season-opening 53-man roster. I know that I have pointed out again and again that the Giants can save $2.743 million in cap space by cutting him. Still, Aaron Robinson remains on the PUP list and Holmes is a better player than Zyon Gilbert, Gemon Green, Rodarius Williams, Darren Evans, and Amani Oruwariye. Besides, if the Giants decide they don’t trust Eric Gray as their primary return man, that job could fall to Holmes.

Safety (5)

In: Xavier McKinney, Jason Pinnock, Nick McCloud, Dane Belton, Gervarrius Owens
Out: Bobby McCain, Alex Cook

I have seventh-round pick Gervarrius Owens making the roster instead of veteran Bobby McCain. It has been clear that Jason Pinnock is going to start opposite Xavier McKinney. That’s bad for McCain’s roster prospects because McCain surprisingly does not contribute on special teams coverage units. He has played six special teams snaps over the past three seasons combined.


In: PK Graham Gano, P Jamie Gillan, LS Casey Kreiter
Out: LS Cam Lyons

No surprises here.

Your thoughts, Giants fans?