Each week during the preseason we get a little more information on how the New York Giants might configure their 53-man roster. There are injuries and new signings. Some players impress. Others disappoint. As the data changes, roster projections. So, let's talk another crack at projecting the Giants season-opening 53-man roster.
Eli Manning, Ryan Nassib
Running backs (4)
Rashad Jennings, Shane Vereen, Andre Williams, Orleans Darkwa
Change: Darkwa in
So, in my last projection I had the Giants dropping Darkwa and keeping only three running backs. Silly me! Darkwa was outstanding Friday vs. the Cincinnati Bengals. Keeping only three running backs is risky, and Darkwa deserves a spot.
What about undrafted free agent Akeem Hunt? His 70-yard kickoff return was impressive, but Dwayne Harris is one of the best in the business as a returner. That's his job. As a pure running back, both Vereen and Darkwa are better than Hunt. So, right now there is no place for him.
I'm just going to say this. I really hate cutting Nikita Whitlock. Every time I watch the guy, wihether it's blocking or on special teams, the guy impresses me. No way the Giants keep two fullbacks, but Whitlock is a very difficult cut. He deserves an NFL job somewhere.
Tight end (3)
Larry Donnell, Daniel Fells, Adrien Robinson
Jerome Cunningham just keeps catching passes during training camp. Still, Adrien Robinson is a draft pick and history tell us he isn't going anywhere. Finally, you get the impression the Giants would like to keep Fells around.
Wide receiver (6)
Odell Beckham Jr., Victor Cruz, Rueben Randle, Dwayne Harris, Geremy Davis, James Jones
Provided he is healthy Gremy Davis has to make this team. The guy catches everything, and as we have said many times he could emerge as a special teams standout. Expecting that the Giants will keep six wide receivers, the last spot looks like a competition between Corey Washington and James Jones. Are the Giants willing to roll the dice on Washington's potential, or will they stick with the dependability and experience of Jones? Right now, I'm betting on Jones.
Offensive linemen (9)
Starters -- LT Ereck Flowers, LG Justin Pugh, C Weston Richburg, RG John Jerry, RT Geoff Schwartz
Reserves -- Dallas Reynolds, Brandon Mosley, Marshall Newhouse, Brett Jones
Since this is a projection, I am going out on a limb here and projecting the offensive line I believe the Giants will open the regular season with. Right tackle isn't his preferred position, but on the current roster Schwartz appears to be the best option at that spot. Besides, as of now I would prefer a John Jerry/Schwartz pairing to a Schwartz/Marshall Newhouse one. Jerry is an inadequate run blocker, but he has 61 NFL starts in five years and he is at least a quality pass blocker.
When it comes to the backups I have chosen Brett Jones over rookie Bobby Hart and veteran Adam Gettis. I did so mostly because I believe the Giants likely think they could get the 20-year-old Hart through waivers and to the practice squad. If they were to cut Jones, they probably lose him to another team. This way, they get to keep both players.
Defensive tackle (4)
Johnathan Hankins, Jay Bromley, Kenrick Ellis, Markus Kuhn
Change: Kuhn in; Jenkins out
If you've been reading, you should understand that I would not be giving Markus Kuhn a roster spot if it were up to me. It's not up to me, however, and since the Giants keep trotting him out there with the first unit you have to assume he is in their plans. I'd love to keep Cullen Jenkins for his experience, but I don't see him ahead of Jay Bromley or Kenrick Ellis. Not if the Giants actually want to try to get better in the middle. In my mind, cutting Jenkins and keeping Kuhn is not the right thing to do. It is, however, what I'm projecting the Giants will do.
Defensive end (5)
Robert Ayers, Kerry Wynn, Damontre Moore, Owamagbe Odighizuwa, George Selvie
Devon Kennard, Jon Beason, J.T. Thomas, Jameel McClain, Jonathan Casillas, Mark Herzlich
Could Uani Unga steal a roster spot from Mark Herzlich?
Prince Amukamara, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Trevin Wade, Mike Harris, Trumaine McBride
Change: Chykie Brown, Jayron Hosley out; Wade in
It's impossible right now to keep Wade off the roster. Also, in my previous projection I had six corners. I have five here because the Giants have been using Bennett Jackson as a hybrid at both slot corner and safety.
Landon Collins, Bennett Jackson, Brandon Meriweather, Jeromy Miles, Nat Berhe
Change: Mykkele Thompson (IR), Cooper Taylor out; Nat Berhe, Brandon Meriweather in
A significant shuffle here. I dumped Taylor and kept Berhe because I believe that if Berhe can get healthy and the Giants have to choose between them they wold pick Berhe. Taylor, for whatever reason, seems to be sliding down the depth chart. When it comes to Meriweather, some people will tell you he pretty much immediately jumps to the front of the safety line and becomes a starter. Others don't believe he will even make the team. I don't know which view will end up being correct, but I currently have him making the team. I don't believe the Giants would have brought in a player carrying his baggage to just be a camp body.
PK -- Josh Brown
Punter -- Steve Weatherford
Long snapper -- Zak DeOssie