A look at the team's current 53-man roster heading into Week 1 vs. Dallas.
When constructing a roster, there are countless things a team’s front office and coaching staff must consider when deciding which players are going to make up the final 53-man roster. That was the task for Dave Gettleman and Pat Shurmur and their staffs over Labor Day Weekend. The roster will continue to change in the coming days as the Giants scour the waiver wire and consider the veteran free agents let go by other teams.
Here are my takeaways from the roster news:
*Alex Tanney, in his role as the third quarterback, provides a veteran presence in the meeting room, and it is likely Shurmur believes he can assist in developing Daniel Jones as Eli Manning gets ready to play every week. There is nothing more important in the immediate future than developing Daniel Jones, which would help explain the impetus of this decision. Shurmur has reiterated many times in the past few weeks he likes to have a crowded quarterback room. He believes there is value to having Tanney in that room, which is why there are three quarterbacks.
*The Rod Smith adductor injury made the decision on the final running back spot a bit easier, and Paul Perkins’ final preseason performance likely clinched it. It would have been interesting to see how the battle would have played out if Smith hadn’t gotten hurt. I suspect that Wayne Gallman will still be Saquon Barkley’s primary backup in Week 1, but I wouldn’t bet my house on it.
*The receiver position features experienced veterans. Darius Slayton is recovering from re-injuring his hamstring. Brittan Golden may have had a chance if not for an injury in the final preseason game. He was placed on injured reserve. Alonzo Russell beat out veteran TJ Jones for the final spot, but then he was released on Sunday in favor of young veteran Cody Core, who was claimed on waivers. Core has a similar frame to Russell (6-3, 205 pounds), a history of success in the league (30 career catches for 360 yards) and is a special teams ace. Russell was not eligible for the practice squad.
*To the outside eye, C.J. Conrad and Garrett Dickerson seemed locked in a battle for the final tight end position throughout the offseason. Dickerson was considered by most as the better receiver, with Conrad a more effective blocker. Dickerson made the team as the third tight end. On Sunday, the Giants signed tight end Eric Tomlinson as their fourth tight end. At 6-6 and 263 pounds, he should be a physical presence at the line of scrimmage. He has 16 career receptions in three seasons for 193 yards and one touchdown. Conrad was signed to the practice squad, which will give him an opportunity to continue to develop his game.
* The Giants initially kept five offensive tackles, with Nick Gates, Chad Slade and Brian Mihalik all making it in addition to starters Nate Solder and Mike Remmers. Gates and Slade can also play guard. Mihalik did not make it through the waiver process and was waived on Sunday in favor of Eric Smith, who has not played in an NFL game in his brief career. With nine total offensive linemen, one of them will likely be one of the seven inactives on gameday throughout the year.
*In the 3-4 defense, where the team’s outside linebackers play defensive end in four-man fronts in sub-packages, there isn’t a great need for a lot of traditional defensive linemen. The Giants kept only five. Seventh-round draft pick Chris Slayton was signed onto the practice squad.
*The Giants kept only four outside linebackers/edge rushers, but decided to hold onto five inside linebackers, including Nate Stupar, a valuable special teams contributor. On Monday, the team replaced former starter B.J. Goodson with veteran free agent David Mayo, who spent four years in Carolina after being drafted by the Panthers and Gettleman in the fifth round in 2015. Undrafted free agent Josiah Tauaefa landed on the practice squad.
*At defensive back, the only question I had was whether safety Sean Chandler would find a roster spot with three other pure safeties on the roster and Julian Love capable of playing there, too. He did. Antonio Hamilton is a special teams ace. The Giants placed Sam Beal on injured reserve as he is still dealing with a hamstring injury. Since they waited until after the final 53 to be set to place him on IR, Beal will be eligible to return in the middle of the season. It leaves six cornerbacks on the roster: Janoris Jenkins, DeAndre Baker, Corey Ballentine, Grant Haley, Hamilton and Love (who can also play safety).
*No undrafted free agents made the roster, and neither did their seventh-round draft picks. The Giants selected eight players in the first six rounds of the draft, and all of those players made the 53. Seventh-round pick and offensive tackle George Asafo-Adjei was placed on injured reserve since he was still dealing with the effects of a concussion suffered at the start of training camp. Slayton was named to the practice squad, as were undrafted free agents Jon Hilliman, Reggie White Jr., Freedom Akinmoladun, Jake Carlock, Tauaefa and Conrad. Offensive lineman Evan Brown, a 2018 undrafted free agent, was placed on the practice squad as the eighth member.