The New York Giants trimmed their roster down from 90 players to 53 players on Saturday, August 31st. It is also important to note that 31 other teams also let go of 47 players.
This could cause some shuffling on the back end of the roster throughout the next week. For now, it’s time to take a look at the initial 53 man roster:
3 Running Backs:
Elijah Penny could operate as the emergency 4th running back. Running back is Penny’s original position, making an extra roster spot available elsewhere on the depth chart. Keeping 1 less running back is also easier when the team possesses one of the best and youngest running backs in the league.
This isn’t unusual but it’s worth noting the team’s decision to release their recent draft pick in Kyle Lauletta in favor of Alex Tanney, a career backup. This means the team didn’t expect much from Lauletta, to begin with, but they might attempt to stash him on the practice squad if he clears waivers.
5 Inside Linebackers:
This would be unheard of before James Bettcher arrived in 2018 but his 3-4 defense requires more inside linebackers than the previous 4-3 defense. Keeping 4 of them would be more typical but the team has a weakness at this position, making players like BJ Goodson and Nate Stupar hard to send packing. The team is approaching this situation with a “strength in numbers” philosophy.
5 Defensive Lineman:
This is a light unit, not even having a backup for each position on the field. The team either plans on claiming a defensive lineman in the next week or it means they feel all 5 they kept are proficient, leading to less of a need for depth. The team released John Jenkins who many thought was shining in the preseason so they might actually plan on rolling with 5 defensive linemen. This unit should be one of the strengths of the team in 2019.
11 Defensive Backs:
This is a rather large group of defensive backs but this was also one of the stronger units on the team. The only player who arguably sticks out as a potential cut-candidate is Sean Chandler. He’s currently the 5th safety and could be the first to go if the team files a claim for another player.
Other notable players to make the team are Antonio Hamilton and Sam Beal. Hamilton has bounced around a little bit but put together a solid preseason. Sam Beal was kept for his pricetag alone, he rarely participated in practice but the team used a 3rd round pick on him in the Supplemental Draft. Once this young unit gets their sea legs they’ll be one of the stronger units on this roster as well.
Alonzo Russell was in the Giants camp last year and was ultimately released when it came time to close camp. This year he came back much improved and dominated in preseason games, creating separation deep down the field more often than not. He also caught the game-winning touchdown pass from Kyle Lauletta to close out the team’s undefeated preseason against the Patriots. He also proved himself as a blocker and even a tackler when needed. His hard work paid off as he made the initial 53 man roster this time.
Paul Perkins missed the entire 2018 season with a pectoral issue. With Saquon Barkley taking the league by storm throughout the season Paul Perkins seemed like a forgotten man. Perkins made the best of his situation, winning over a new coaching staff in the classroom and ultimately earning himself a second chance to make the team. He wasn’t the best reserve ball-carrier this summer but he proved his worth as a reserve pass-catching back.
Overall the offensive unit actually appears to be in decent shape, pending which version of Eli Manning shows up in 2019. The offensive line looks much improved, the pass-catching units are less top-heavy. The running backs look good even behind Saquon Barkley. This will truly be the year Eli can’t have any excuses.
On defense, this team contains adequate talent but there will be young players on the field. Dexter Lawrence and DeAndre Baker will be starters as rookies and Julian Love will get some playing time at safety as a rookie. The entire cornerback unit is very young outside of Janoris Jenkins, rookie mistakes should be expected.
With each team being nearly chopped in half yesterday you can expect some transactions with almost every team including the New York Giants. They’ve figured out the bulk of who they’re keeping but they might tinker with the roster a little more as they get ready to prepare for the Dallas Cowboys on September 8th.