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New York Giants announce 2017 53-man roster


The Giants have announced roster moves to arrive at the 2017 53-man roster:

The New York Giants have finalized their 53-man roster for the 2017 season.

– Veterans Josh Johnson, Mike Nugent and Will Tye were released, and linebacker Mark Herzlich was placed on injured reserve, as the Giants today removed 27 players from their roster to reach the NFL regular-season limit of 53.

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Also let go were running back Shaun Draughn and defensive end Devin Taylor, and the team's 2017 sixth-round draft choice, tackle Adam Bisnowaty.

The Giants also acquired cornerback Ross Cockrell in a trade with the Pittsburgh Steelers for a conditional choice in the 2018 NFL Draft.

"Today was a challenging day. This week was a challenging week," coach Ben McAdoo said. "You have to hand it to the players. They really worked hard in camp. And then Thursday night (the preseason-ending 40-38 victory in New England) really made it tough on us.

"It's a tough day every time you go through it. The second year is probably harder than it was last year, considering the relationships you build with the men on the team."

Cockrell, 6-0 and 191 pounds, started all 19 regular-season and postseason games for the Steelers last season. He had 62 tackles (47 solo), 14 passes defensed, and a fumble recovery.

Cockrell entered the NFL as a 2014 fourth-round draft choice of the Buffalo Bills, from Duke. He played seven games as a rookie, and was released on Aug. 31, 2015. Cockrell joined the Steelers a week later. In his first year in Pittsburgh, Cockrell played in 15 games with seven starts, and he played in two postseason games.

In three NFL seasons, Cockrell has played in 38 regular-season games with 23 starts. He has 105 tackles (80 solo), two interceptions, and 25 passes defensed. Cockrell has played five postseason games with three starts, and has 18 tackles (15 solo) and a fumble recovery.

This is the second time in three years the Giants traded with the Steelers after the final preseason game. In 2015, they acquired punter Brad Wing for a seventh-round draft choice.

Prior to cutdown day, two of the most-scrutinized positions were backup quarterback and kicker. With the departure of Johnson, Geno Smith is currently the top reserve quarterback behind Eli Manning.

"It was a close call," McAdoo said. "Both men earned an opportunity and can play in this league. We wish Josh the best and thanked him for everything he's done for us."

With the release of Nugent, who was brought in on Aug. 1, Aldrick Rosas, 22, is the Giants' kicker. Rosas will make his NFL regular-season debut when the Giants open their season next Sunday in Dallas. He made all eight of his field goal attempts in the preseason, including a 48-yarder as time expired to win the game against the Patriots. The last Giants kicker to play an opening game with no prior experience was Matt Bryant in 2002. Bryant kicked field goals of 29 and 33 yards in his debut.

"We know Aldrick has a big leg, and we really liked the way he responded throughout training camp and in the preseason games," McAdoo said. "Mike Nugent was a guy that came in and was a great teammate and was a pro. He pushed Aldrick, which made him better, and it made Aldrick better. I think at the end of the day you go with the players who's been here (since January) and has the biggest upside."

The rest of the cuts were running back Khalid Abdullah; fullback Jacob Huesman; wide receivers Travis Rudolph, Jerome Lane, Canaan Severin, Marquis Bundy and Ed Eagan; offensive linemen Jon Halapio, Jarron Jones and Matt Rotheram; defensive linemen Jordan Williams and Bobby Richardson; linebackers Stansly Maponga, Deontae Skinner, and Curtis Grant; cornerbacks Donte Deayon, DaShaun Amos and Nigel Tribune; and safeties Ryan Murphy and Trey Robinson.

Defensive tackle Josh Banks (shoulder) was placed on injured reserve.

The full list of players who were released or placed on injured reserve, by position:

QB: Josh Johnson
RB: Shaun Draughn, Khalid Abdullah
FB: Jacob Huesman
WR: Travis Rudolph, Jerome Lane, Canaan Severin, Marquis Bundy, Ed Eagan
TE: Will Tye
OL: Adam Bisnowaty, Jon Halapio, Jarron Jones, Matt Rotheram
DL: Devin Taylor, Bobby Richardson, Jordan Williams, Josh Banks (IR)
LB: Mark Herzlich (IR), Deontae Skinner, Stansly Maponga, Curtis Grant
CB: Donte Deayon, DaShaun Amos, Nigel Tribune
S: Ryan Murphy, Trey Robinson
K: Mike Nugent

The Giants began trimming the roster yesterday when safety Duke Ihenacho (knee) was placed on injured reserve and eight players were waived: safety Eric Pinkins; linebackers Chris Casher and Steven Daniels; cornerbacks Tay Glover-Wright, Tim Scott and Daniel Gray; wide receiver C.J. Germany; and offensive lineman Richard Levy.

The current roster includes five 2017 draft choices: tight end Evan Engram, defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson, quarterback Davis Webb, running back Wayne Gallman and defensive end Avery Moss.

In addition, three rookie free agents are on the team: fullback Shane Smith of San Jose State, offensive lineman Chad Wheeler from USC, and linebacker Calvin Munson from San Diego State.

"Munson is a guy we were excited about from a special teams perspective," McAdoo said. "He's also a guy that can add depth at linebacker. We had a lot of guys nicked at the linebacker position, so he got to play a lot of football for us, which is good for him. We need to get him going on the special teams as well. It's a credit to Munson, he's done a nice job jumping in with both feet and really taking advantage of his meeting time and his field time.

"Wheeler probably should have been drafted in the middle rounds somewhere. He slid on the board and we were fortunate enough to get him as a free agent. He's a talented player who has a little bit of a mean streak in him, which we like. Fundamentally, he's coming along, and we feel he has a bright future for us.

"Shane Smith – we wanted to take the best 53 and not be concerned about which position they play. It just happens to be he's a fullback and he really fits in well with the tight end group as far as his skill set. He can do a variety of things for us on special teams and on offense. It adds another piece to your board. You can move him around. He has some flexibility."

Six other players who joined the team as undrafted rookies are on the roster: defensive end Kerry Wynn, who has played in 34 regular-season games with seven starts since 2014; safety Andrew Adams, who started 13 games in his debut season in 2016; cornerback Michael Hunter, who played in two games last season; tight end Matt LaCosse, who played two games as an undrafted rookie in 2015, but missed all of last season with a knee injury; wide receiver Roger Lewis, Jr., who caught seven passes as a rookie in 2016; and defensive end Romeo Okwara, who played in every game with five starts as a rookie free agent in 2016.

With Tye's release, the Giants have four tight ends – Rhett Ellison, Engram, LaCosse and Jerell Adams.

Tye, a free agent from Stony Brook, has been on the Giants' roster since Oct. 3, 2015. Last year, he played in all 17 games with 12 starts, including one in the NFC Wild Card Game. He finished third on the team with 48 receptions, which gained 395 yards and included a nine-yard touchdown vs. Chicago.

"Will is a guy that played a lot of football for us and played well," McAdoo said. "That was a tough decision to make, but we feel we chose the best four for our football team moving forward. We're excited to get going with those guys."

Johnson was signed by the Giants on Sept. 5, 2016, and joined Ryan Nassib as Manning's backups last season. He played in two games, but did not throw a pass. Johnson (64.7 completion percentage) and Smith (66.7) each played well in the preseason.

Nugent, a 12-year veteran, made all five of his field goal attempts – including 50 and 54-yarders vs. the Jets – and had three touchbacks. He spent the previous seven seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals.

Herzlich suffered a stinger in a training camp practice and did not play in a preseason game. Since joining the team as a rookie free agent in 2011, he has played in 88 regular-season games with 17 starts, and had 121 tackles (84 solo), including a sack, plus 53 special teams tackles.

"We felt it was best to put Mark on I.R. this year and give him an opportunity to get healthy," McAdoo said. "He'll still be involved with the team, whether it's in the locker room, or in the meeting rooms. Mark will still be around to help the guys."

Draughn, who was signed on March 21, began training camp on the physically unable to perform list because of an ankle injury. He was removed from the list on Aug. 15 and played in the final two preseason games, finishing with 50 rushing yards and a touchdown on 15 carries.

Taylor joined the Giants on May 25 after spending the previous four seasons with the Detroit Lions. His 48 snaps were the most among Giants defensive players in New England. Taylor finished the preseason with five tackles and an interception.

"We have a lot of talented players in that defensive line room, a lot of depth in the room," said McAdoo. "Devin Taylor can play in the league – he's played in this league and he's started in this league. He'll probably go somewhere else and do the same thing. We're confident with the group of men we have in the room."

Richardson was signed by the Giants on Aug. 15, when Corbin Bryant was placed on injured reserve with an elbow injury. He played in 15 games with 11 starts as a rookie free agent for the 2015 New Orleans Saints. He was credited with 40 tackles (20 solo), a half-sack, and had one interception.

Maponga spent the entire 2016 season on the Giants' practice squad. In 2015, he played in two games on special teams – vs. Carolina (12/20) and vs. Philadelphia (1/3). Maponga played for the Atlanta Falcons in 2013-14.

Skinner did two stints on the Giants' practice squad last season before joining the active roster on Oct. 11. He played in four games, plus the NFC Wild Card Game, and had six special teams tackles.

Bisnowaty was the 200th overall selection of the 2017 NFL Draft. He played in all four preseason games at right tackle, where he started in New England. Bisnowaty played in 45 games with 43 starts at the University of Pittsburgh.

Abdullah was a rookie free agent from James Madison. In four preseason games, he had four carries for 10 yards, and three receptions for 16 yards.

Huesman was signed to the Giants' practice squad on Dec. 27, 2016 and to the active roster on Jan. 9 of this year. He was a quarterback and running back at Tennessee-Chattanooga, where he rushed for a school-record 4,051 yards and 43 touchdowns, and passed for 8,197 yards and 64 scores.

Rudolph was an undrafted rookie from Florida State. With the recent spate of injuries among the wideouts, he had received numerous reps with the first team, and he started Thursday at New England. Rudolph had a team-high 157 receiving yards and tied for second with nine catches in the preseason.

Lane was signed by the Giants on June 1. He arrived at the University of Akron as a linebacker before converting to wide receiver. Lane finished the preseason with three catches for 46 yards.

Severin was signed on by the Giants on Aug. 18, a week after he caught two passes against them in the preseason opener as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers. He had four receptions for 43 yards with the Giants.

Bundy was signed on Aug. 23, five days after he was waived by the Arizona Cardinals. He caught two passes for 30 yards at New England, and seven for 103 yards for the Cards and Giants combined this preseason.

Eagan, a first-year free agent, was signed by the Giants on Aug. 18. He had one catch for 19 yards on the game-winning drive in New England on Thursday night.

Halapio had been with New England, Denver and Arizona before joining the Giants on Jan. 9. He has never played in a regular-season game.

Jones was a defensive tackle at Notre Dame who switched to offense with the Giants. He played in all four preseason games.

Rotheram, who previously spent time on the Green Bay and Philadelphia practice squads, signed with the Giants on Aug. 23 and played in the final two preseason games.

Williams signed a reserve/future contract on Jan. 9. He played in all four preseason games and finished with six solo tackles, including a sack vs. Pittsburgh.

Banks, a rookie free agent, started vs. the Patriots and had two preseason tackles.

Grant was signed by the Giants on Jan. 12. He led the team this preseason with 19 tackles (15 solo) and added six special teams tackles (three solo).

Deayon originally joined the Giants as a rookie free agent on May 6, 2016. After he was waived at the end of training camp, the Giants signed him to their practice squad. He was placed on injured reserve on Oct. 15, and signed a reserve/future contract on Jan. 9.

Amos was a rookie free agent from East Carolina. He started Thursday night in New England and finished the preseason with two tackles on defense and one on special teams.

Tribune also started against the Patriots and had two tackles. The rookie from Iowa State had been with the Giants since June 1.

Murphy was a 2015 seventh-round draft choice by Seattle who signed with the Giants on Jan. 9. He had two special teams tackles in the preseason.

Robinson is a rookie who was signed by the Giants on May 15. In the preseason, he had four solo tackles on defense and one on special teams.

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