The New York Giants have released their first depth chart ahead of Monday night's season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers. As always, it is subject to change. It simply serves as a guide, more so for the media than the coaches.
"Everything in our program, I wouldn't say anything is ever in concrete," coach Joe Judge said last week. "We're very clear to our players, it's a production business. It's week by week. It's whoever's playing the best at that time, whoever gives us the best chance for a game plan matchup against an opponent, that's who we're going to play."
Here is a look at the first unofficial depth chart:
|WR||Sterling Shepard||Damion Ratley|
|TE||Evan Engram||Kaden Smith||Levine Toilolo||Eric Tomlinson|
|RT||Cameron Fleming||Matt Peart|
|RG||Kevin Zeitler||Shane Lemieux|
|C||Nick Gates||Spencer Pulley|
|LG||Will Hernandez||Shane Lemieux|
|LT||Andrew Thomas||Jackson Barton|
|RB||Saquon Barkley||Dion Lewis||Wayne Gallman Jr.|
|WR||Golden Tate III||Damion Ratley|
|WR||Darius Slayton||C.J. Board|
|QB||Daniel Jones||Colt McCoy|
|SLB||Lorenzo Carter||Markus Golden||Carter Coughlin|
|DE||Dexter Lawrence II||RJ McIntosh|
|MLB||Blake Martinez||Tae Crowder|
|NT||Dalvin Tomlinson||Austin Johnson|
|WIL||Devante Downs||TJ Brunson|
|DT||Leonard Williams||B.J. Hill|
|OLB||Oshane Ximines||Kyler Fackrell||Cam Brown|
|LCB||James Bradberry||Darnay Holmes||Brandon Williams|
|SS||Jabrill Peppers||Nate Ebner|
|FS||Julian Love||Logan Ryan||Adrian Colbert|
|RCB||Corey Ballentine||Isaac Yiadom|
|PR||Golden Tate III||Jabrill Peppers||Sterling Shepard||Darius Slayton|
|KOR||Darnay Holmes||Darius Slayton||Corey Ballentine||C.J. Board, Dion Lewis|
View photos of the Giants' active roster as it currently stands.
Here are some notes on the first depth chart:
Nick Gates to start at center
Nick Gates, who signed a two-year contract extension at the beginning of August, is listed as the starting center. Spencer Pulley, who started 10 games at the position for the Giants over the past two years, is second on the depth chart. The two competed for the role all offseason until Judge announced Gates as the starter on the Saturday before the game.
Andrew Thomas, the fourth overall pick of the 2020 NFL Draft, is the starting left tackle. The spot became vacant when Nate Solder, an offensive co-captain, opted out of the season. At the other tackle spot is Cam Fleming, who signed with the Giants this offseason and has previous experience with Judge, offensive coordinator Jason Garrett, and offensive line coach Marc Colombo. Fleming has played in 75 regular-season games with 26 starts and in 11 postseason games with two starts. In the regular season, Fleming has started 10 games at both left and right tackle, five as an extra tackle and one game his rookie season at right guard. Both of his postseason starts were at right tackle.
Where the rookies land
Thomas is the only rookie listed as a starter on offense or defense. Rookie cornerback Darnay Holmes is, however, at the top of the depth chart as a kickoff returner. On defense, he is second behind veteran James Bradberry at left cornerback. Here is a look at the rest of the rookies:
Matt Peart – RT2
Shane Lemieux – RG2 and LG2
Carter Coughlin – SLB3
Tae Crowder – MLB2
TJ Brunson – WLB2
Cam Brown – OLB3
Daniel Jones to make first Week 1 start
Daniel Jones, who led all rookies in touchdown passes a year ago, will make his first Week 1 start. He will be backed up by veteran Colt McCoy, who joined the team this offseason. The Giants kept two quarterbacks on the active roster, with Cooper Rush landing on the practice squad.
Receiver pecking order
The Giants listed three starting wide receivers – Sterling Shepard, Golden Tate, and Darius Slayton. Next up are Damion Ratley and C.J. Board. Ratley, 6-2 and 200 pounds, was claimed off waivers from the Cleveland Browns over the weekend. He played in 13 games with three starts in each of his first two NFL seasons. He joined the Browns as a sixth-round draft choice (No. 175 overall) out of Texas A&M in 2018.
In his two years in Cleveland, Ratley caught 25 passes for 344 yards, the longest a 46-yarder at Cincinnati last Dec. 29 that accounted for his only NFL touchdown. He finished the 2019 season with 12 receptions for 200 yards, a 16.7-yard average.
Tight end depth
Evan Engram leads the four-person group. In order, he is followed by Kaden Smith, Levine Toilolo, and Eric Tomlinson.
Running back chart
Saquon Barkley will be followed by veteran Dion Lewis and Wayne Gallman. Eli Penny is listed as the lone fullback.
The Giants list three defensive line positions – end, tackle, and nose. Dexter Lawrence and RJ McIntosh are first and second at defensive end, respectively. Dalvin Tomlinson will start at nose tackle and will be backed up by Austin Johnson. Leonard Williams is first at defensive tackle, followed by B.J. Hill.
Lorenzo Carter, who had four sacks in the team's primetime intrasquad scrimmage, will start as the strongside linebacker. He is backed up by Markus Golden and Coughlin. On the other edge is Oshane Ximines, followed by Kyler Fackrell and Brown.
Blake Martinez mans the middle linebacker role as the quarterback of the defense. He is backed up by Crowder. The starting weakside inside linebacker is Davante Downs, followed by Brunson.
Bradberry (left) and Corey Ballentine (right) are the starting cornerbacks. Jabrill Peppers (strong) and Julian Love (free) are the safeties after Xavier McKinney was placed on injured reserve with a fractured foot. Newcomer Logan Ryan, who is expected to play a variety of roles, is listed on the second team behind Love.
The Giants replaced two-thirds of their kicking battery this season. The holdover is punter Riley Dixon, who is also the team's holder. Casey Kreiter is the long snapper and Graham Gano is the kicker.
As for returners, in order, Tate, Peppers, Shepard, and Slayton will handle punts. Holmes, Slayton, Ballentine, Board, and Lewis are listed as kickoff returners.
• The Giants will hold a virtual Season Kickoff Event presented by Investors Bank featuring several players and team executives Thursday, September 10, at 7 p.m. ET. The event will stream LIVE on Giants.com, the Giants Mobile App, and the Giants YouTube channel. CLICK FOR DETAILS