The Giants.com crew reacts to the 53-man roster announcement in this special edition of Cover 3.
John Schmeelk: Giants made their most surprising moves regarding depth at receiver, offensive line and cornerback.
It was clear by the end of training camp that the Giants were looking to bolster their interior offensive line depth by how they were bringing new players in and moving others around. They decided to look outside the organization and trade for Billy Price and Ben Bredeson to fill those roles. Price can play center and guard but has been more effective at center, while Bredeson is a phone booth mauler at guard. I'm curious to see if the Giants look to add a ninth offensive lineman if someone that have a high grade on becomes available on the waiver wire.
It was possible the Giants could keep seven receivers due to the injuries Kenny Golladay, John Ross and Kadarius Toney. Dante Pettis came on strong at the end of training camp and beat out David Sills for the seventh receiver spot. Pettis' ability as a return man could have played a role in that decision and Sills could still find a home on the practice squad.
There was also a huge focus on special teams in the final roster decisions, and fans should look no further than fullback to prove that out. Eli Penny and Cullen Gillaspia both made the 53-man roster. Penny can play fullback and halfback, while Gillaspia's role will primarily come on special teams. He could work as the personal punt protector and will serve a major role on all the special teams units.
Cornerback Keion Crossen is another player that was helped by his special teams acumen to make him one of the 11 defensive backs kept in the final cut down. Former third-round pick Sam Beal and Josh Jackson also made the roster. Jackson has been battling injury since arriving this summer via trade, while Sam Beal has steadily improved through camp, according to head coach Joe Judge.
With the additional week between the final preseason game and the season opener, there could be more than the typical roster movement since teams will have more time to acclimate players to their teams before the games start to count. There's a very good chance the 53-man roster today will be much different than the 53-man roster when the Giants host the Broncos on Sept. 12th.
View photos of the New York Giants' active 53-man roster as it currently stands.
Dan Salomone: If 2020 wasn't unique enough, the NFL expanded the regular season to 17 games in 2021. Simultaneously, the preseason was cut from four games to three, leaving extra time before Week 1 kicks off. So, what does that have to do with rosters?
"I think what's unique this year, obviously compared to previous years, is you have the extra week," coach Joe Judge said after the Giants announced their initial 53-man roster on Tuesday afternoon. "I think you're going to see a lot more roster turnover than probably in previous years because there's going to be a lot of players that have been claimed or will be claimed that are almost going to be on short-term tryouts, a lot of teams. There's going to be a lot of roster turnover, in our opinion, these next two weeks."
March and April rightfully get all the attention when it comes to roster-building, but it doesn't end there. Look no further than last August when the Giants threw a wrench in Logan Ryan's plans to take his family to Universal Studios – he's a big Harry Potter fan – and signed him shortly before the season began. More recently, the Giants just traded for two interior offensive linemen who will compete for starting jobs. While the core is set, the Giants are not done making moves.
"There's more players available this time of year than at any other point in the NFL calendar year," Judge said. "There's a lot of communication between clubs and obviously everyone's responsibility to do their due diligence and find out who's available and see if someone's out there to help your team."
Lance Medow: When it comes to the 53-man roster, it's always a numbers game and the two most notable numbers for the Giants were keeping seven wide receivers and two fullbacks. With Kenny Golladay, John Ross, Darius Slayton and Kadarius Toney all still recovering from injuries and working their way back, it's understandable why they wanted some insurance at that position. C.J. Board and Dante Pettis were on the roster last season, have been in the NFL for several seasons and can contribute on special teams. As far as the two fullbacks, Eli Penny further proved his versatility with his ability to serve as a running back during the preseason and Cullen Gillaspia is a valuable special teams player. If the Giants re-sign long snapper Casey Kreiter, they may free up a roster spot from the receivers or running backs.
All six members of the 2021 draft class made the roster, with Aaron Robinson being placed on regular season PUP. That means he'll be out for at least the first six weeks of the season. Defensive end Raymond Johnson III (out of Georgia Southern), was the only undrafted rookie to make the team. The biggest surprise on the defensive side of the ball was releasing veteran linebacker Ifeadi Odenigbo, who might have provided depth as a pass rusher as one of the team's off-season signings. On the flip side, Sam Beal is back in the mix after opting out last season and you figured fellow corners Keion Crossen and Josh Jackson would both solidify roster spots once they were acquired for resources in the last two weeks.
In the trenches, Jonotthan Harrison was the surprising release, but considering they just added two interior linemen through trades in Billy Price and Ben Bredeson, it became a bit crowded in that area. Price can play both guard spots and center and Bredeson has experience at tackle and guard in his career. Remember, with about two weeks to go till the regular season opener, rosters are even more fluid than they were at this time last year. There will likely be more changes leading up to Week 1.