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Fact or Fiction: Players to watch; final roster decisions


The crew is presented with four statements and must decide whether they are Fact or Fiction.

WR David Sills V is the offensive player to watch on Sunday vs. Jets

John Schmeelk: Fact – With the return of Sterling Shepard and the injury to Collin Johnson, the competition for the final couple of spots on the wide receiver depth chart will be fierce. It appears safe to say Kenny Golladay, Kadarius Toney, Wan'Dale Robinson and Shepard will be part of that group. There are good players vying for those spots whether the Giants keep five, six or seven receivers.

David Sills is a little bit different than the others in the room. He is the only receiver in the group, except for Kenny Golladay and Keelan Doss, who stands 6-3 or taller. He has a clear chemistry with Daniel Jones. He has good hands. He was on the Bills' roster when Joe Schoen and Brian Daboll were in Buffalo. If Sills can have another productive game, he has a real chance of making the roster in the spot Collin Johnson would have had before he tore his Achilles. His ability to contribute on special teams may also be as big of a factor as his skill as a receiver.

Dan Salomone: Fact – Sills Army, assemble.

Lance Medow: Fiction – Receiver is the position to watch Sunday but put Darius Slayton ahead of David Sills. The latter had been sidelined for the first preseason game but took full advantage of his snaps against the Bengals producing five catches for 56 yards, highlighted by several contested receptions. That's not to say Sills doesn't have more to prove and show against the Jets but Slayton is now in Sills' position - he missed the Cincy game due to injury and returned to practice this week. Now, it's a matter of him capitalizing in a preseason setting as well. 

Matt Citak: Fact – This answer likely would have been fact even before the injury to Collin Johnson, but with the third-year receiver lost for the season, Sills becomes even more important to the offense. The 26-year-old has had a strong training camp, and in his first game action this past weekend against the Bengals, he caught five passes for 56 yards. Sills went on to catch six passes from Daniel Jones during 11-on-11 drills against the Jets on Thursday, showcasing the strong chemistry the two have developed. Head Coach Brian Daboll stated earlier in the week that not only is Sills fighting for a roster spot, but he's also battling for significant playing time once the season starts.

LB Micah McFadden is the defensive player to watch

John Schmeelk: Fiction – Although McFadden is fighting for playing time at inside linebacker, look at the depth in the defensive backfield. It seems like Zyon Gilbert is the fourth cornerback right now, but who is the fifth guy? Keep an eye on undrafted rookie free agent out of LSU Darren Evans. At safety, with the release of Andrew Adams on Friday, a player like undrafted rookie Trenton Thompson could carve out a role as the third safety until rookie Dane Belton returns from his injury. Defensive back depth is vital in the modern NFL and the Giants need to secure that.

Dan Salomone: Fact – The rookie linebacker group was the story coming out of last week's game – for good and bad reasons. While Kayvon Thibodeaux (day to day with MCL sprain) and Darrian Beavers (torn ACL, placed on injured reserve) suffered injuries on Sunday, another emerged in Micah McFadden. The fifth-round pick from Indiana led the team with five tackles (four).

Lance Medow: Fact – When Darrian Beavers, unfortunately, went down with a torn ACL, it looked like the door opened for fellow rookie Micah McFadden, who like Beavers, has also shown some flashes during the preseason. The former Indiana product has even more of an opportunity to move up the depth chart and contribute during the regular season. He's also a great fit for Wink Martindale's scheme given his usage as a blitzer in college.

Matt Citak: Fact – McFadden has been one of the biggest bright spots on the defense this summer. The rookie fifth-round pick has either led or matched the team-high in tackles in each of the first two preseason games. His 90.3 overall grade from Pro Football Focus is not only the highest on the defense during the preseason, but it also ranks in the top 10 among all NFL rookies. After achieving a lot of success while blitzing at Indiana, McFadden has carried that over to the NFL, where he has picked up two pressures on 11 pass rush snaps. With Darrian Beavers out for the season, McFadden could play himself into extended action this season.

The biggest final roster decisions on offense will be at receiver

John Schmeelk: Fiction – The Giants have suffered a lot of injuries on the offensive line, which has opened up opportunities for players to seize roster spots and perhaps even a place in the starting lineup.

Josh Ezeudu and Devery Hamilton are young players who can play guard and tackle as valuable depth and developmental pieces. The battle on the inside is just as fascinating. Max Garcia's versatility to play all three interior positions and his veteran stability brings value to any depth chart. Ben Bredeson and Jamil Douglas also offer guard-center flexibility. Any of those players could be starting at left guard if Shane Lemieux isn't back from injury in time for the season opener. But will all of those players make the roster?

Dan Salomone: Fact – There are moving pieces at the position due to injuries, notably Collin Johnson's season-ending Achilles tear in practice this week. Meanwhile, players like David Sills V and Alex Bachman are in the mix not just to make the team but to play. We'll see how many receivers they end up keeping come Tuesday and then Week 1. In between, the Giants will explore the waiver wire as they do with every position.

Lance Medow: Fact – There's a lot of depth at the WR positon with players such as Richie James, Davis Sills and Alex Bachman all taking full advantage of their preseason opportunities. How the coaches view the tight end group and how many players at that position they decide to keep will influence the wide receiver room. With Sterling Shepard back in the mix, you could still make an argument for seven wideouts to make the 53-man roster especially if they use more receiver sets than having the tight end on the field. 

Matt Citak: Fiction – The Giants will have some tough decisions to make at the wide receiver position, as several guys are vying for the last few spots. However, due to the injuries at the position over the last month, the biggest roster decisions on offense will be along the offensive line. Garrett McGhin, Jamil Douglas and Ben Bredeson are just a few players battling for roster spots that have missed some time in camp due to injuries. This has opened the door for players such as Devery Hamilton to see more snaps in the preseason, an opportunity in which the former undrafted free agent has taken full advantage of.

The biggest final roster decisions on defense will be at cornerback

John Schmeelk: Fiction – Let's look at inside linebacker. With Darrian Beavers out for the season, Tae Crowder and Micah McFadden will likely be on the final 53-man roster. But who else? Does Cam Brown make it due to his special team prowess? Has Carter Coughlin shown enough in his transition outside to earn a spot? Or has Austin Calitro shown enough? Let's say Cam Brown makes it, but whether or not there is another player at that spot will be an interesting decision.

Dan Salomone: Fiction – This was probably "fact" early in camp. But like the receivers, there's currently plenty of movement at linebacker due to injuries. The health of players, both in the long and short term, will guide these decisions. Additionally, the position that defensive coordinator Wink Martindale pays the most attention to is linebacker. "That's a position I've coached in this league forever so I'm the toughest one [on them]," Martindale said this summer. "God bless (Inside Linebackers Coach John Egorugwu) Egs. Egs was with me before this so that's the good thing about it. He's been with me before, so he knows what I want and how I expect it to look."

Lance Medow: Fiction – If we use the logic of depth and injuries presenting challenges when it comes to decision making, then linebacker tops cornerback. With Kayvon Thibodeux nursing a knee injury and his potential return still up in the air, that may force the team to keep additional options at that position especially if they place him on short term IR. Darrian Beavers' injury also complicates matters a bit if they were anticipating him playing a notable role. Does that present more of a reason to retain a few extra linebackers for insurance or does one player in particular emerge? Elerson Smith is another player who's been a bit banged up. What's his status as the season nears? Cam Brown has been a key special teams player but can he carve out a bigger role on defense? All these questions are going to make the numbers game at linebacker a bit challenging compared to other positions.

Matt Citak: Fact – On the latest unofficial depth chart, the Giants listed Rodarius Williams as the second-string cornerback on both sides, despite Williams not yet participating in team drills this summer. There appears to be a tough competition for roster spots at CB, with players such as Darren Evans, Zyon Gilbert, Olaijah Griffin and Khalil Dorsey battling it out to make the final 53. The Giants also claimed Harrison Hand off waivers from Minnesota this week, adding another player to the mix. Cornerback certainly seems to be the position on defense with the biggest decisions looming.

View photos of the New York Giants' 2022 roster as it currently stands.


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