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New York Giants 53-man roster analysis: Several surprises, including Boogie Basham

Let’s go position-by-position and look at the initial 53-man roster

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Boogie Basham
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The New York Giants set their initial 53-man roster on Tuesday, including adding edge defender Carlos ‘Boogie’ Basham in a trade with the Buffalo Bills. Don’t get attached to this roster, though. Head coach Brian Daboll admitted that it is “fluid,” and we can expect changes on Wednesday when waiver claims are processed and injured players can be moved to short-term IR.

Here are my position-by-position thoughts on the initial 53.


Quarterback (2)

Daniel Jones, Tyrod Taylor

To the disappointment of many in the fan base, the Giants waived undrafted free agent Tommy DeVito on Tuesday. DeVito should be back on the Giants’ practice squad on Wednesday. That would be a good outcome for DeVito. When the Giants signed him in the spring he didn’t look like a player who had much chance to stick around.

Running back (4)

Saquon Barkley, Matt Breida, Eric Gray, Gary Brightwell

The news at this spot is that Gary Brightwell, a core special teams player, is keeping his spot and not losing it to Jashaun Corbin. Brightwell has been out of practice for the past couple of weeks with an injury, and did not practice on Tuesday.

I got this one wrong in my 53-man roster projection, but should have seen this coming. If the Giants were going to keep a fourth running back that spot was always going to be about special teams. Brightwell always had an advantage over Corbin in that regard.

Tight end (3)

Darren Waller, Daniel Bellinger, Lawrence Cager

With Chris Myarick having been placed on IR and Tommy Sweeney recently having had a ‘medical event’ that has kept him off the field it didn’t make sense for the Giants to keep more than three. Undrafted free agent Ryan Jones might land on the practice squad, but it won’t be a surprise if the Giants look for an experienced player to stash there.

Wide receiver (6)

Isaiah Hodgins, Darius Slayton, Parris Campbell, Jalin Hyatt, Wan’Dale Robinson, Sterling Shepard

The biggest news here is that 2022 second-round pick Wan’Dale Robinson is off the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list and will be part of the season-opening roster. Robinson tore his ACL Week 11 last season and there were questions about whether or not he would be ready to start the season.

The Giants, obviously, believe that he is. Or, at least that he will be ready before Week 5. That is the earliest Robinson could have been activated had he begun the season on PUP. Robinson could spend the first week or two as one of the team’s inactive players on game day.

It is gratifying to see Shepard, the longest-tenured Giant, make the roster after having his last two seasons shortened by devastating leg injuries — a 2021 torn Achilles and a 2022 torn ACL.

Shepard on the roster isn’t just sympathy or nostalgia. Watching him throughout the summer, he can still get open. The Giants are going to have to monitor his snaps and his workload, but he can still help them.

One player not on the roster — at least not today — is veteran Cole Beasley. Expectations, though, are that the 34-year-old will join the Giants for a 13th NFL season. Whether that will be as a member of the active roster after a player gets moved to IR on Wednesday or as a member of the 16-player practice squad remains to be seen.

Offensive line (9)

Tackles: Andrew Thomas, Evan Neal, Matt Peart
Guards: Ben Bredeson, Mark Glowinski, Joshua Ezeudu, Shane Lemieux, Marcus McKethan
Center: John Michael Schmitz (Bredeson and Lemieux are the backups)

The decision to cut Tyre Phillips, who played adequately when Evan Neal was injured last season and offers guard/tackle flexibility, was a surprise. I have said ever since the spring that I knew the organization liked guard Shane Lemieux. I did not, though, expect them to keep Lemieux over Phillips.

I figured the Giants would keep McKethan, a 2022 fifth-round pick, rather than expose him to waivers.

This is a spot, though, where you have to expect the Giants to actively scour the waiver wire or look at vested veterans (four years of experience) who can be signed as free agents. It would not be surprising if the Giants add a lineman, particularly a tackle, and try to move either Lemieux or McKethan (my guess is Lemieux) to the practice squad.


Defensive line (6)

Dexter Lawrence, Leonard Williams, Rakeem Nunez-Roches, A’Shawn Robinson, Jordon Riley, D.J. Davidson

I am mildly surprised that Davidson, a 2022 fifth-round pick who did not play at all during the preseason while rehabbing a torn ACL, is part of the initial 53. This could be roster gymnastics, though. Perhaps Davidson ends up on short-term IR when the roster is shuffled on Wednesday.

Edge (4)

Kayvon Thibodeaux, Azeez Ojulari, Jihad Ward, Carlos ‘Boogie’ Basham

The Tuesday morning trade for Basham, a 2021 second-round pick by the Buffalo Bills who did not live up to that draft position, changed the complexion of this group. The 6-foot-3, 281-pound Basham isn’t an athletic, all-over-the-field edge, but he should help the pass rush and be a physical anchor in run support.

With Basham in, both Oshane Ximines and Tomon Fox ended up out.

Linebacker (5)

Bobby Okereke, Micah McFadden, Isaiah Simmons, Cam Brown, Carter Coughlin

After he spent most of training camp on the sidelines, I figured Cam Brown’s time as a Giant was over. I would not be surprised at all if he ends up being moved to IR on Wednesday, meaning he would miss a minimum of four games.

Brown being in means second-year player Darrian Beavers is out. That surprises me. At the beginning of training camp I though the 2022 sixth-round pick had a chance to win the starting job. McFadden earned it, though, and Beavers’ stock seemed to plummet throughout the summer.

Beavers missed last season with a torn ACL, and defensive coordinator Wink Martindale hinted that was apparent this summer, saying Beavers was really a rookie this year. If he clears waivers, Beavers seems like an obvious practice squad candidate.

Cornerback (5)

Adoree’ Jackson, Deonte Banks, Tre Hawkins III, Cor’Dale Flott, Darnay Holmes

Daboll confirmed on Tuesday that Aaron Robinson will begin the season on PUP, meaning he has to miss at least the first four games of the season.

Safety (6)

Xavier McKinney, Jason Pinnock, Dane Belton, Nick McCloud, Gervarrius Owens, Bobby McCain

There were a couple of things I got wrong here. I overreacted to the hamstring injury suffered by Owens vs. the Jets, thinking that perhaps undrafted rookie Alex Cook would get that roster spot. That did not happen. Six safeties is a lot, though, and it is conceivable Owens is headed to short-term IR after 4 p.m. on Wednesday.

Also, based on having had a quiet summer I did not expect McCain to make the 53-man roster. Perhaps his presence is a hedge against the health of Nick McCloud, who missed a lot of time during training camp. McCloud also has cornerback flexibility, so he could be an option at both spots if he is healthy.


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

Full list of cuts

The players waived were quarterback Tommy DeVito; running back Jashaun Corbin; wide receiver Kalil Pimpleton; tight end Ryan Jones; tackle Tyre Phillips; defensive tackles Ryder Anderson and Kobe Smith; defensive end Habakkuk Baldonado; linebackers Darrian Beavers Tomon Fox, Ray Wilborn and Dyontae Johnson; cornerback Gemon Green; safety Alex Cook; and long snapper Cameron Lyons.

Waived players have less than four years of credited NFL service and are subject to the league’s claiming system (if claimed, they must report to that team).

Those whose contracts were terminated were linebacker Oshane Ximines, wide receivers Jamison Crowder, Cole Beasley and David Sills, cornerback Amani Oruwariye, and center Sean Harlow.