Starting soon after Thursday’s preseason finale, the Giants will have to go from their 90-man roster down to their 53-man roster. Here is my prediction based off of the preseason thus far.
Quarterbacks (3): Eli Manning, Daniel Jones, Alex Tanney
Lets stop all the nonsense. Eli is not going anywhere (Indy), and he will be the starting quarterback week one, but who knows how long that will last with Daniel Jones showing signs of progression. Manning’s stance as the #1 quarterback all rests on his performance and the team’s performance in the beginning of the season. Alex Tanney beats out Lauletta with his presence and abilities in the film room. I do think the Giants land Lauletta on the practice squad, as he showed some sparks in the preseason.
Running Backs (4): Saquon Barkley, Wayne Gallman, Rod Smith, Elijah Penny (FB)
Paul Perkins almost made my list, with seeing bursts of him this preseason, but I didn’t see enough. Smith showed his goal-line ability to push the pile for 6. That stood out to me, and is something the Giants could use. Penny has his role as a full back, and showed pass-catching abilities, and can also provide depth at the running back spot.
Wide Receivers: (7) Golden Tate (Suspended List), Sterling Shepard, Russell Shepard, Cody Latimer, Bennie Fowler III, Alonzo Russell, TJ Jones, Darius Slayton
With Tate being suspended, I can see the Giants keeping more depth at the WR spot. I do think that Slayton could make the list, but with his injures, the Giants may consider practice squad or even IR in last resort to keep an open roster spot. Alonzo Russell showed the hustle this preseason. He made a touchdown saving tackle off a turnover by hustling down the field to make the tackle. He also provided two beautiful blocks on Golden’s punt return last week. Hustle goes a long way for a coach, and he showed enough to make the team. TJ Jones joined very late this summer, but has since showed hes more than just a camp body, and he will make the list. Players like Latimer, Fowler III, and Russell Shepard will be the “next man up” to take the place of Golden Tate the first four games.
Tight Ends: (4) Evan Engram, Rhett Ellison, Scott Simonson, Garrett Dickerson
I really liked Conrad, but for now, I think he lands on the practice squad. Dickerson outplayed him this preseason, and Simonson is great to use for blocking. Ellison and Engram are locks for the one and two spot, as long as Engram stays healthy.
Offensive Linemen: (8) Nate Solder, Will Hernandez, Jon Halpio, Kevin Zeitler, Mike Remmers, Spencer Pulley, Chad Wheeler, Nick Gates,
Most of these linemen are self explanatory, with five of them being the starters. Chad Wheeler makes the list with his experience with the Giants, which includes many starts at RT. Spencer Pulley provides depth at Center, who also made some starts last season. Nick Gates has proved he can play different positions on the line, and showed he can be reliable for depth.
Defensive Linemen: (6) BJ Hill, Dexter Lawrence, Dalvin Tomlinson, RJ McIntosh, Olsen Pierre, John Jenkins
The three “hog mollies” will be the starters this season. RJ McIntosh had limited playing time last season after spending much time away with an injury. Olsen Pierre has shown flashes and has familiarity with Betcher’s scheme. John Jenkins is another big body to stuff the gaps to provide run-stopping defense.
Linebackers: (8) Ryan Connelly, Tae Davis, Alec Ogletree, Nate Stupar, Lorenzo Carter, Markus Golden, Oshane Ximines, Kareem Martin
BJ Goodson loses a roster spot after a rough summer. Although I like his run-stopping ability, Tae Davis and Ryan Connelly had a strong push this summer to fill his spot on the team. Nate Stupar provides great special teams depth. Kareem Martin was a questionable pick here, since last season he did not impress me, and struggled setting the edge. He only had 1 sack last year, which also raised concerns. I am hoping for a bounce back year from him this season.
Cornerbacks: (6) DeAndre Baker, Corey Ballentine, Janoris Jenkins, Grant Haley, Antonio Hamilton, Julian Love
Sam Beal has been banged up all summer, putting him either on IR to start the year, practice squad, or could even become a free agent in the next few weeks. Ballentine and Haley will compete for the slot corner position. Julian Love could be seen taking some snaps at safety this season as well. Hamilton provides special teams depth.
Safeties: (4)Antoine Bethea, Jabrill Peppers, Michael Thomas, Sean Chandler
I really like Kenny Ladler, but Chandler beats him out with his blitzing ability and familiarity with the scheme, having more playing time last year. Thomas was a special teams captain last season, and will provide great leadership.
Special Teams: (3) Aldrick Rosas, Riley Dixon, Zac DeOssie
This is as expected for most. Dixon beats out Townsend at the punter spot. Rosas coming off a Pro-Bowl year, expecting big things from him. DeOssie is the longest tenured Giant behind Eli Manning, and I look forward to hearing him scream on the punts while he runs down the field.
Practice Squad Possibilities: QB Kyle Lauletta, DT Chris Slayton, WR Reggie White Jr., LB Josiah Tauaefa, OLB Avery Moss, OT George Asafo-Adjei, S Kenny Ladler, RB Jon Hilliman
I was impressed by the preseason snaps of Lauletta, White Jr., Tauaefa, Hilliman and Ladler. I think they demonstrated enough to be brought back onto the practice squad. There are also players I would not be surprised they made the final roster. Guys like George, Moss, and Slayton I think are guys that can develop on the squad and could be given an opportunity in the future to demonstrate their skills, whether with the Giants or else where.