Along with 31 other clubs around the NFL, the New York Giants reduced their roster to 53 players on Saturday ahead of the league’s 4 p.m. deadline. Here are the main takeaways from what will be an ongoing process in building the roster:
*Giants carrying quarterbacks for now. An internal debate for every coach and front office is whether to keep two or three quarterbacks on the roster. Well, the Giants kept four. They carried that many this summer with Davis Webb, Kyle Lauletta and Alex Tanney mostly playing in that order behind 15-year veteran Eli Manning. Webb, a third-round pick who did not appear in any regular-season games as a rookie last year, started the second preseason game in Detroit, where he completed 14 of 20 passes for 140 yards and a touchdown. Lauletta, the rookie fourth-round choice, started the preseason finale and went eight of 19 for 118 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.
*Big Blue goes with five in the backfield, five out wide. The numbers game at wide receiver always makes for an interesting competition in the summer. In the end, the Giants went with five –Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Shepard, Cody Latimer, Russell Shepard and Hunter Sharp (more on him later). As for running back, coach Pat Shurmur said back at the combine that “it takes a village” when it comes to the position. Of course, that was before the team drafted Saquon Barkley second overall, but the Giants still kept four more in the backfield -- Jonathan Stewart, Wayne Gallman, Robert Martin and fullback Shane Smith.
Photos of the Giants' 53-man roster
*Webb wins slot corner position. While a lot of attention was on one Webb at camp, another -- B.W. Webb – emerged as the third cornerback, a critical and sometimes starting position in today’s NFL with the proliferation of three-wide receiver sets. When the Giants signed longtime Steeler William Gay, who has never missed a game in 11 seasons, it was believed the veteran would man the position. However, that doesn’t mean Gay won’t see the field. He spent much of summer working in packages as a safety.
*Preseason is not meaningless. You may hear otherwise, but just look at players like Ray-Ray Armstrong and Hunter Sharp. Both have bounced around a few teams but now find themselves on the Giants’ 53-man roster. Armstrong was a force on special teams and grabbed an interception in Detroit, which led to a promotion to the first-team nickel defense next to Alec Ogletree. Sharp, meanwhile, had the highlight of the preseason with a 55-yard punt return touchdown against the Jets. Sharp was hard on himself for not showing more as a receiver, but in the end, the Giants saw enough in him.
*Curtis Riley pairs up with Landon Collins at safety. Like Armstrong and Sharp, Riley put his head down and went to work this offseason. The Giants had an open competition at free safety next to two-time Pro Bowler Landon Collins. Riley eventually became a consistent first-teamer, and on Saturday, the Giants waived/injured Darian Thompson, who started all 16 games at safety for the Giants last year. Andrew Adams was also waived.
*Rosas plugged away at kicker. Kicker Aldrick Rosas did not know his fate after going 18 of 25 last season with two blocked field goals, two blocked extra point attempts and one missed extra point. But general manager Dave Gettleman, who like coach Pat Shurmur wiped every players’ slate clean, saw enough in his big leg to give him another chance. To his credit, Rosas made the most of it. The second-year pro was perfect in the preseason, including a 55-yarder that was a career high – preseason or otherwise. His only competition was Marshall Koehn, but Rosas took the majority of attempts in the preseason and won the job.
*Undrafted rookies see September. Of the group of 11 undrafted rookie free agents signed shortly after the draft, three made it to September -- safety Sean Chandler, linebacker Tae Davis, and offensive lineman Evan Brown. There were two common threads between them in college. They were versatile and experienced. Chandler played in 49 games with 48 starts at Temple -- 25 as a weakside cornerback and 23 as a free safety. A special teams standout in his first two seasons, Davis played safety until his senior season, when he shifted to outside linebacker. He played in 49 games with 10 starts. Brown started all 47 games in which he played at SMU, playing both right guard and center. Running back Robert Martin, who finished 10th on Rutgers’ career rushing list with 2,256 yards, was signed later in May and caught the attention of the front office.
*Giants are second in waiver order. As noted before, the Giants’ roster will continue to evolve in the coming days, weeks and months. Keep in mind that, because of their 3-13 finish in 2017, the Giants are second in line behind the Cleveland Browns in claiming players who are waived by other teams.