The New York Giants released their first unofficial depth chart ahead of Saturday's preseason opener against the New York Jets. As always, it is subject to change. It simply serves as a guide, more so for the media than the coaches.
"I tell our guys all the time, when they come in, the depth chart is really blank," coach Joe Judge said. "And as we start practicing and they start putting together things on tape, you start filling in names based off of what they're doing. That can change every day. It's really just cumulative. It's what you do consistently day in and day out. Some guys may flash one day, some guys may flash another day, but ultimately you want to go ahead and measure who's consistently dependable, who's productive for you on the field. But in terms of filling those names in, yeah, the answer is as we start practicing, the names start getting filled in. Now, they're not written in permanent marker, so at any point, based on who is playing, the best get in that spot."
Here is a look at the first unofficial depth chart:
|WR||Kenny Golladay||Darius Slayton||David Sills V||C.J. Board, Austin Mack, Damion Willis|
|TE||Evan Engram||Cole Hikutini||Rysen John|
|RT||Matt Peart||Nate Solder|
|RG||Will Hernandez||Chad Slade||Jake Burton*|
|C||Nick Gates||Jonotthan Harrison||Brett Heggie*|
|LG||Shane Lemieux||Kenny Wiggins||Kyle Murphy|
|LT||Andrew Thomas||Nate Solder||Jackson Barton|
|RB||Saquon Barkley||Devontae Booker||Corey Clement||Alfred Morris, Gary Brightwell*, Sandro Platzgummer|
|FB||Eli Penny||Cullen Gillaspia|
|WR||Sterling Shepard||John Ross||Kadarius Toney*||Dante Pettis, Alex Bachman, Matt Cole|
|TE||Kaden Smith||Nakia Griffin-Stewart||Jake Hausmann*||Kyle Rudolph**|
|QB||Daniel Jones||Mike Glennon||Clayton Thorson|
|SLB||Lorenzo Carter||Trent Harris||Ifeadi Odenigbo||Cam Brown|
|DE||Dexter Lawrence II||B.J. Hill||David Moa||Elijah Qualls|
|MLB||Blake Martinez||Reggie Ragland||Carter Coughlin||Cale Garrett|
|NT||Austin Johnson||Danny Shelton|
|WIL||Tae Crowder||Devante Downs||TJ Brunson||Ryan Anderson|
|DT||Leonard Williams||Raymond Johnson III*|
|OLB||Oshane Ximines||Azeez Ojulari*||Niko Lalos||Elerson Smith*|
|LCB||James Bradberry||Isaac Yiadom||Madre Harper||Sam Beal, Aaron Robinson***|
|SS||Jabrill Peppers||Julian Love||Quincy Wilson||Montre Hartage, Chris Johnson|
|FS||Logan Ryan||Xavier McKinney||Joshua Kalu||Chris Milton, Jordyn Peters|
|RCB||Adoree' Jackson||Darnay Holmes||Rodarius Williams*||Jarren Willliams|
|LS||Casey Kreiter||Carson Tinker|
|H||Riley Dixon||Ryan Santoso|
|PR||Jabrill Peppers||Adoree' Jackson||Kadarius Toney*||Dante Pettis|
|KOR||John Ross||Jabrill Peppers||Kadarius Toney*||Dante Pettis|
|K||Graham Gano||Ryan Santoso|
** Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) List
*** Rookie/Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) List
View photos of the Giants' first unofficial depth chart of the 2021 season.
Here are some notes on the first depth chart:
Right side of the offensive line
One of the biggest questions heading into training camp was how the right side of the offensive line would shake out. Will Hernandez, who made all 39 of his previous starts at left guard, has moved to the right guard spot and is slotted as the starter for now. He is backed up by Chad Slade and undrafted rookie Jake Burton.
As for right tackle, second-year pro Matt Peart landed first on the depth chart. He is backed up by Nate Solder, who is also the backup for Andrew Thomas at left tackle. Solder opted out of last season due to pandemic concerns and rejoined the team this offseason.
Where the 2021 draft class lands
Kadarius Toney – WR3, PR3, KOR3
Azeez Ojulari – OLB2
Aaron Robinson (Physically Unable to Perform List) – LCB4
Elerson Smith – OLB4
Gary Brightwell – RB4
Rodarius Williams – RCB3
Running back depth
Saquon Barkley, who returned to practice this week after suffering a season-ending knee injury in 2021, is backed up by two newcomers in Devontae Booker and Corey Clement. While Barkley's return was "very encouraging" to see, the Giants are not setting any timetable for his return to game action.
The offensive weapons
The Giants' top offseason priority was surrounding Daniel Jones with more offensive weapons, which they accomplished by signing Kenny Golladay at the start of free agency. Golladay, who has two 1,000-yard seasons on his resume and led the NFL for a season in touchdown catches, claimed one of the top wide receiver spots on the depth chart. The other is Sterling Shepard, the longest-tenured active Giant. Shepard is backed up by speedster John Ross, another free-agent addition.
Austin Johnson moves into top nose tackle spot
The Giants had to part ways with defensive co-captain Dalvin Tomlinson, who signed with the Minnesota Vikings as a free agent. Tomlinson had started all 64 games since he was drafted in 2017, but with him gone, Austin Johnson moved into the lead spot. Johnson joined the Giants last season and played in all 16 games. He was originally a second-round draft choice by the Titans in 2016.
Assistant head coach/defensive coordinator Patrick Graham was recently asked how good his secondary could be this year. "As good as they want," he said. Here is what it looks like on paper:
LCB: James Bradberry, Isaac Yiadom, Madre Harper, Sam Beal, Aaron Robinson
SS: Jabrill Peppers, Julian Love, Quincy Wilson, Montre Hartage, Chris Johnson
FS: Logan Ryan, Xavier McKinney, Joshua Kalu, Chris Milton, Jordyn Peters
RCB: Adoree' Jackson, Darnay Holmes, Rodarius Williams, Jarren Willliams
With his background, Judge always has a close eye on the special teams. Graham Gano returns at kicker after having one of his finest seasons in 2020, his first with the Giants. Gano made 30 consecutive field goal attempts, the longest streak in Giants history. He is backed up by Ryan Santoso, who is also the backup holder behind punter Riley Dixon.
As for return specialists, Ross, who famously ran the 40-yard dash in 4.22 seconds at his combine, is listed first on kickoffs while the versatile Peppers has the top spot on punts.
After Colt McCoy spent one season with the Giants, the Giants signed former third-round pick Mike Glennon to back up Jones. Judge was asked recently what made Glennon the right choice for the team.
"We just liked Mike from knowing the league," Judge said. "He had history, obviously, some experience playing a lot of games in this league. He's had some production along the way. He's got physical tools that we think will fit into our system very well. We like his demeanor and his mentality as far as coming on in. We obviously looked at a lot of quarterbacks this offseason. He was a guy that was available and a fit for us, so we work on him, Clayton [Thorson] and Daniel every day and the competition will sort itself out."
View photos of the New York Giants' active 53-man roster as it currently stands.