The New York Giants are finally returning to the football field tonight as they kick off their first preseason matchup of 2023. The preseason is an exciting time for players to prove their worth to the front office as they fight for spots on the roster. This year, the Giants have a few interesting roster-spot battles to keep an eye on during their preseason opener.
Darnay Holmes: From first-team to the waiver wire?
An “open competition” has been taking place in New York’s defense this summer. With no clear-cut starter at the slot cornerback position, Darnay Holmes and Cor’Dale Flott (and Aaron Robinson once he is healthy) are competing for the first-team role. On the first unofficial depth chart, Holmes was listed as the first-team nickel corner.
Holmes has seemingly struggled throughout training camp, however, he has been Big Blue’s primary nickel corner for the last several seasons. If he plays well throughout the preseason, Holmes could maintain his status with the first team. But if he continues to struggle, Holmes could become a cap casualty, paving the way for Flott to take over with the starters.
Which veteran slot receiver will prevail?
The Giants currently have 13 wide receivers on their roster heading into the first preseason game. Of those 13 receivers, at least seven of them play primarily in the slot. New York added a few veteran slot receivers this offseason, creating a position battle to keep watch over during the preseason.
WRs Sterling Shepard, Cole Beasley, and Jamison Crowder are the three veterans of the group that will be competing to make the final roster. Shepard, the Giants’ longest-tenured player, is back on the field following a season-ending ACL tear in Week 3 of the 2022 regular season. He has looked sharp throughout training camp but still has some competition ahead of him if he wants to be back on New York’s regular season roster for the eighth season in a row.
Beasley, another established veteran, has also been impressive during training camp. The 34-year-old is entering his 13th season in the league, amassing 5,744 receiving yards throughout his career. Beasley is as dependable as they come and has been making a strong case for a roster spot this summer.
Crowder on the other hand has not stood out to the same degree as Shepard and Beasley. Entering his ninth season in the league, Crowder, 30, will need to have a solid preseason campaign to beat out Shepard or Beasley for a spot on the roster. After totaling just six receptions for 60 yards in 2022, it is unclear how much of an impact Crowder could make on the Giants’ offense.
Could the Giants cut Shane Lemieux?
Shane Lemieux is another player on the roster bubble. After being drafted in the fifth round of the 2020 NFL Draft, Lemieux has struggled to stay on the field. He has played just two games in the past two years as his career has been decimated by injuries.
Entering 2023, the Giants have far more depth on the interior than they have had at any other point in Lemieux’s career. He will need to fight to earn a roster spot as New York turns to Ben Bredeson, John Michael Schmitz, and Mark Glowinski as their starting interior offensive linemen. Lemieux could still earn himself a backup role, but even there he has some competition. Without a dominant showing in the preseason, it seems unlikely Lemieux will make the Giants’ regular season roster.