A look at the team's current 53-man roster heading into Week 1 vs. Dallas.
The Giants.com crew discusses the biggest takeaways from the 53-man roster, which was finalized on Saturday.
John Schmeelk: The Giants finalized their 53 man-roster today, their second season under Dave Gettleman and Pat Shurmur. There were a number of difficult decisions with the final roster, and I wouldn’t be surprised if a number of players the Giants let go wind up with other teams. Recent draft picks, free agents and other acquisitions make up nearly the entirety of the 53-man group that will represent the Giants on opening day.
The transformation is apparent in a few key areas. The offensive line is completely rebuilt. There is always work to do with an offensive line group, but at least the starting unit is now comprised of players that should not limit anything Pat Shurmur wants to do on the offensive side of the ball.
On defense, the secondary, aside from Janoris Jenkins, is brand new. DeAndre Baker, Julian Love, Sam Beal, Grant Haley and Corey Ballentine were all playing college football in 2017 or 2018. Jabrill Peppers and Antoine Bethea were added this offseason via trade and free agency, respectively. Michael Thomas was added last offseason.
The linebacker corps is also reconstructed. Alec Ogletree, who was acquired last offseason, is the middle linebacker. Tae Davis and Ryan Connelly were both collegians the past two seasons. At outside linebacker, Lorenzo Carter, Oshane Ximines, Markus Golden and Kareem Martin were all added in the past two offseasons.
This roster is the product of Gettleman’s and Shurmur’s vision. It is young and will learn along the way this season. How quickly they figure things out will go a long way towards the determining how many games the Giants win.
Dan Salomone: The roster looks different from last year’s, and it is almost unrecognizable to the one they had 20 months ago when they took over as general manager and head coach. Since then, they have gone through two drafts and free agency cycles in which they aggressively reshaped the team. While the roster is a living, breathing entity that requires year-round attention, the 2019 New York Giants will, by and large, go as far as the 53 remaining men today take them. Team president John Mara did not put a mandate on exactly how far that needs to be.
“We need to win some games,” Mara said in the middle of training camp. “I want to feel like at the end of the season we’re moving in the right direction. I’m not going to say it has to be a minimum number of games that we have to win, or we have to make the playoffs. I want to feel when I’m walking off the field after the last game of the season, whenever that is, that this franchise is headed in the right direction. That’s, to me, the most important thing.”
Where they stand right now on cut-down Saturday is a good start. The health of the roster will also show up on other teams. In 2018, only a couple of players ended up on someone else’s roster after not making the Giants’ top 53. Shurmur thinks there will be more this time around as players embraced his message of “either make our team or somebody else’s.”
That’s not to say the roster-building is done.
“I’m always looking at players and seeing which guys might be a good fit for us,” Shurmur said. “We know a lot of these players because we’ve evaluated all of them as coaches, before the draft and then through the years playing against them. We have a pretty substantial scouting report on most of the guys that are in the league. We certainly, as coaches, have an opinion.”
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Lance Medow: Usually when it comes to finalizing the 53-man roster, there are a number of surprises, but this year I don’t think that term applies to any of the transactions. The Giants kept three quarterbacks and went with Alex Tanney over Kyle Lauletta. Last year, Pat Shurmur said on multiple occasions that he values having a backup veteran signal caller on the roster because that player can go into a game with very few reps during the week. Tanney assumed that role last season and, although the team selected Daniel Jones in this year’s draft, that doesn’t remove the need or value of having a veteran on the depth chart. One of the other things Shurmur has emphasized since he took over as Giants head coach is having a strong quarterback room, and I think Tanney’s presence maintains that goal while also providing another voice who has NFL experience as a starter and backup.
The fact the Giants kept six wide receivers instead of seven likely means rookie Darius Slayton should be good to go despite a hamstring injury. Alonzo Russell had a strong camp, made plays throughout the preseason, proved he can be a special teams contributor and is the tallest receiver on the roster. When you take all of that into consideration, it’s not a surprise he made the team. As far as the running backs go, the fact that Paul Perkins remained with the team tells you a lot about how much the organization valued his skillset. Case in point, offensive lineman Nick Gates also spent all of 2018 on IR and made the initial 53-man roster this year. Gates, Spencer Pulley, Chad Slade and Brian Mihalik provides the team with a versatile group of backup linemen who all have the potential to play multiple positions.
On the defensive side of the ball, keeping 11 secondary players was also not stunning considering the youth at that position. DeAndre Baker, Julian Love and Corey Ballentine are all rookies, Sam Beal is essentially a rookie as well because he hasn’t played in one preseason game, and Grant Haley and Sean Chandler are both just second-year players. Volume is important when you don’t have much experience across the board. Overall, eight of the team’s 10 draft picks this year made the 53 and seventh-round pick George Asafo-Adjei was placed on IR.