EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The Giants today placed their most experienced running back on injured reserve and added the second undrafted rookie to their roster this week.
Jonathan Stewart, who joined the Giants this year after 10 seasons with the Carolina Panthers, went on I.R. with a foot injury. His spot on the roster was taken by Jawill Davis, a wide receiver from Bethune-Cookman. Davis joins tight end Garrett Dickerson as newcomers to the roster. They are eligible to make their NFL debuts on Sunday when the Giants host the New Orleans Saints.
Davis, 6-0 and 197 pounds, was signed by the Giants on May 10. He caught three passes for 23 yards in the preseason, was released on Sept. 1 and signed to the practice squad the following day.
Davis played in 47 games with 29 starts at Bethune-Cookman and finished his career with 106 receptions for 1,692 yards and 10 touchdowns. As a fifth-year senior in 2017, he played in 10 games and caught 39 passes for 475 yards and three touchdowns.
Stewart played in each of the Giants’ first three games, but was third on the depth chart behind Saquon Barkley and Wayne Gallman. He gained 17 yards on six rushing attempts.
Stewart is the Panthers’ career rushing leader with 7,318 yards and 1,699 carries.
*The Giants needed an additional receiver on their roster because wideout Cody Latimer is one of four players who were today declared out of the game against New Orleans. Latimer, who caught three passes for 56 yards in the first three games, has a knee injury.
The other three players who will be inactive because of injury are tight end Evan Engram (knee), linebacker Olivier Vernon (ankle) and cornerback Eli Apple (groin).
Engram was hurt last week in Houston. Vernon will miss his fourth consecutive game and Apple his second.
“(I’m) definitely disappointed, but I know it’s the best thing right now for me and the team,” Apple said. “So just go about it and be the best teammate I can be on game day.”
Apple also said, “I’m really close, but just going to keep prepping and get ready for next week (when the Giants play at Carolina).”
B.W. Webb will again start in place of Apple.
*With Latimer sidelined, Russell Shepard will move up the ladder and be the No. 3 receiver beside Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepard. Russell Shepard has played just 10 offensive snaps and does not have a reception (he has participated in 57 special teams plays).
“It’ll be great,” coach Pat Shurmur said of Russell Shepard’s larger role on offense. “He’s been in there already. He’ll just have to take more a load.
“Latimer is our starting X. He’s a good receiver, he just unfortunately won’t be there, but I’ve also got a lot of history with Shep). He was with us in Philadelphia before he went to Tampa, and then he’s done a lot of good stuff here on the field. He’s a pro, and he’s ready to go.”
Russell spent his first five NFL seasons with NFC South teams Tampa Bay and Carolina. In nine games against New Orleans, he caught eight passes for 117 yards.
“I probably played the Saints more than anybody in this locker room,” Shepard said. “I was in Tampa for four years, played them twice a year. Then in Carolina last year they beat us three times, so I understand what they’re capable of. I understand their personnel, the guys. I played with (Saints safety) Kurt Coleman and I’ve seen some of their young guys in the secondary kind of grow up throughout the years. So definitely feel like my experience with them I can help and I can do some things.”
Shepard is particularly looking forward to playing with Beckham, his former teammate at LSU.
“Last time I played with Odell Beckham, we were like 20, 21, so extremely excited to get to go out there and make plays for this team, help put this team in great position going down this big run,” Shepard said.
“I knew he would be really good, but I don’t think he can even say he knew he would be in this position four years from now. Sometimes things fall into place. It’s kind of freaky to see how people become who they are, but between that (one-handed) catch (in Beckham’s rookie season) and being in this big market and his personality, the young generation loves him. The thing that is special with Odell is there’s another side of him outside of football; he’s a celebrity. You recognize him when you go to gas station or the store. Lot of times a lot of great football players can squeak and hide underneath the door. I don’t think nobody knew who he’d become today so it’s pretty cool.”
*The Saints listed one player as out, linebacker Manti Te’o with a knee injury.