Updated NY Giants 53-Man Roster Projections After Week 4 of Preseason

Patricia TrainaFeatured Columnist IVAugust 26, 2014

Updated NY Giants 53-Man Roster Projections After Week 4 of Preseason

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    General manager Jerry Reese and head coach Tom Coughlin: The Giants' decision-makers.
    General manager Jerry Reese and head coach Tom Coughlin: The Giants' decision-makers.Associated Press

    We’re just a few short days away before NFL teams have to make their final training camp cuts from 75 to 53 players.

    While there is still one more opportunity for those on the bubble to sway the coaches’ opinion, the New York Giants’ initial 53-man roster has started to take shape.

    Before reading these projections, please note that these are for the initial 53-man roster that will be set on August 31.

    There will be tweaks made throughout the week leading up to the season opener at Detroit at different positions, depending upon the outcome of waiver claims and injury updates.

Quarterbacks

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    Alex Trautwig/Getty Images

    (2): Eli Manning, Ryan Nassib

    The plan all along was for the Giants to keep two quarterbacks on the roster, the hope being that Ryan Nassib, the second-year player, would finally blossom into a serviceable NFL signal caller.

    The good news is that Nassib has done just that, rising up to the challenge posed to him by the coaches in Week 3 in which they temporarily demoted Nassib to the third string.  

    Nassib might not yet be ready to be a starter in this league, but Giants fans should at least feel better about him being a backup for the coming year behind Manning.

Running Backs

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    The Star-Ledger-USA TODAY Sports

    (4): Rashad Jennings, Andre Williams, Peyton Hillis; FB Henry Hynoski

    The Giants are probably going to have to sacrifice numbers at a position in order to carry an extra player or two elsewhere. The running back spot might just be one of the places where they do so.

    The reason why they might feel comfortable sacrificing a number at this position is because fullback Henry Hynoski could be looking at a bigger role this year, both as an emergency running back and as a potential H-back.

    If Hynoski can function in both of those roles in addition to returning to his 2012 form as a lead blocker, that is going to be a huge boost to the offense.  

    As for Kendall Gaskins, who flashed during camp and the preseason and who can play both running back and fullback, the Giants might look to stash him on the practice squad, where he would potentially be the first man called up if injuries strike either the running backs or the fullback. 

Tight Ends

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    USA TODAY Sports

    (3): Larry Donnell, Adrien Robinson, Daniel Fells

    This is another position where the Giants could potentially stand to sacrifice numbers if, as noted on the previous slide, fullback Henry Hynoski shows that he can handle the H-back duties that have otherwise thus far not clicked for the tight ends.

    Here then is how the "tight ends by committee" likely shapes up:

    Larry Donnell, initially projected to be the hidden gem of the tight end group before training camp began, will probably be the starter and the one who gets moved around in the backfield.

    Adrien Robinson, who continues to struggle with consistency, could emerge as a red-zone or occasional slot-receiving threat when the coaches want to create a mismatch.

    Daniel Fells, who had an early lead on a roster spot, hasn’t been able to work as much due to a knee injury, but he has a good chance of sliding onto the roster because he's had a solid showing when he's been on the field.

    Against the Jets, Fells really showed his blocking chops in the running game. He's the only one of the Giants' remaining tight ends that, per Pro Football Focus (subscription required), earned a positive grade (3.5) as a run-blocker.

Receivers

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    USA TODAY Sports

    (6): Victor Cruz, Rueben Randle, Odell Beckham Jr., Jerrel Jernigan, Corey Washington, Preston Parker

    Thanks to the on-going hamstring issue affecting first-round draft pick Odell Beckham Jr., the Giants will likely have to carry an extra receiver.

    The interesting thing at this position is the bottom third of the depth chart. Corey Washington, who has had an impressive summer, should be one of the final three receivers the Giants end up keeping, though he probably won't be the No. 3 receiver starting the season.

    That role will probably go to Jerrel Jernigan, whose roster spot is saved thanks to Marcus Harris (hip) landing on injured reserve. 

    Preston Parker will probably be the primary punt returner, beating out Trindon Holliday, who couldn’t get on the field thanks to a nagging hamstring injury. 

    In what will be one of the toughest cuts, veteran Mario Manningham, a hero from Super Bowl XLVI, probably won't make the final roster as he's struggled to separate from defenders.

    That's probably why, when head coach Tom Coughlin was asked about Manningham's progress in returning from a serious knee injury suffered in late 2012, he told reporters, "That’s not an easy answer. Some days are better than others. We’ve been at this awhile. He’s working at it. He’s working hard. But certainly, there could be more." 

Offensive Linemen

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    Seth Wenig/Associated Press

    (10): Will Beatty, Brandon Mosley, J.D. Walton, Justin Pugh, Geoff Schwartz, Weston Richburg, James Brewer, John Jerry, Rogers Gaines, Dallas Reynolds

    Injuries are going to force the Giants to keep an extra offensive lineman at the start of the season.   

    Guard Geoff Schwartz is going to miss at least a couple of weeks while he rehabs from a dislocated toe. The Giants announced that his injury status is week to week and that Schwartz will initially be in a walking boot for about seven to 10 days before beginning his rehab.

    Backups Brandon Mosley and James Brewer are both battling back ailments while tackle Charles Brown is dealing with a shoulder injury. Head coach Tom Coughlin told reporters Tuesday that Mosley's back is feeling better, even though he won't practice or play this week.

    The starting line, from left to right, projects to be Will Beatty, Weston Richburg, J.D. Walton, John Jerry and Justin Pugh. Dallas Reynolds can back up at center and guard while little-known Rogers Gaines has quietly impressed at tackle this summer, thus likely earning himself a roster spot.

    It’s very possible that the Giants might place one of their injured offensive linemen on injured reserve in order to bring in another swing type who can play guard and tackle.

    The most likely candidate for injured reserve—or he could just be waived/injured with an injury settlement, which might make more sense—could be Charles Brown, whose minus-3.3 overall grade from Pro Football Focus sums up the type of inconsistent preseason he's had for the Giants, especially as a pass-blocker.

Defensive Ends

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    Seth Wenig/Associated Press

    (5): Jason Pierre-Paul, Mathias Kiwanuka, Robert Ayers, Damontre Moore, Kerry Wynn

    I debated whether to keep five defensive ends and four defensive tackles or four defensive ends and five defensive tackles.

    The deciding factor was the play of rookie Kerry Wynn, who has quietly done a nice job playing against the run this summer.

    Per Pro Football Focus, Wynn has a solid 1.1 run defense grade, which has to no doubt please a coaching staff that places such an emphasis on stopping the run. 

    As for the starters, it will probably be Jason Pierre-Paul and Mathias Kiwanuka for the first month. Though at some point, Damontre Moore, who has quietly had a strong camp, will probably slide into the starting lineup in place of Kiwanuka.

Defensive Tackles

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    Bill Kostroun/Associated Press

    (4): Cullen Jenkins, Johnathan Hankins, Jay Bromley, Mike Patterson

    Although Mike Patterson was sidelined for a bit with a shoulder injury, the fact that he’s a veteran who has “been there, done that" should help him stick on a unit that is going to be so essential in plugging up the run.

    Youngster Kelcy Quarles, probably isn’t ready for the NFL just yet. He likely will be a practice squad candidate as he does have some impressive tools with which to work that just need some refining.

    Markus Kuhn's spot could be the one that's in jeopardy at this position. Per Pro Football Focus, Kuhn has the worst overall grade of all the Giants defensive linemen, a minus-4.8 that includes a minus-3.0 as a run-stopper and a minus-1.6 as a pass-rusher.

    One of Kuhn's biggest issues, as noted by Inside Football (subscription required), has been that he absorbs far too many blocks and isn't successful penetrating into the backfield, factors that could prompt the Giants to move on. 

Linebackers

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    Bill Kostroun/Associated Press

    (6): Jon Beason, Jameel McClain, Jacquian Williams, Devon Kennard, Spencer Paysinger, Mark Herzlich

    The Giants will more than likely keep six linebackers, but not because of Jon Beason’s foot. 

    While there is always a small possibility that Beason might not be ready for Week 1—to date, there have been no indications that he won’t be, though he still has to go out there and test it in a football setting—the need to keep a sixth linebacker is more of a result of another factor.

    That would be the season-ending injury to safety Cooper Taylor, who, like Beason, cracked a sesamoid bone in his foot, but who, unlike Beason, needed surgery to repair it.

    In addition to making progress as a safety, Taylor was developing into a solid contributor on special teams. 

    That brings us to the need for a sixth linebacker: Mark Herzlich. The fourth-year pro’s role on defense remains to be seen—last year he was often used down by the goal line—but he has done nothing to show that he can’t still contribute on special teams.

    As for the starters, look for Jameel McClain (strong side), Beason (middle) and Jacquian Williams (weak side) to line up in the base defense as the starters once Beason is cleared to return.

    Things are looking promising for Beason, who has been spotted by reporters going through a series of agility drills and sprints at full speed during the summer, including back-to-back sessions this week.

    According to Art Stapleton of The Record, Beason, who is currently on the PUP list, is scheduled to meet with the doctor Wednesday to see where things stand. 

    While Beason is fully expected to come off the PUP list by Sunday, the visit with the doctor will determine if he’ll be able to return to practice in the coming week.

Safeties

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    Uncredited/Associated Press

    (4): Antrel Rolle, Stevie Brown, Quintin Demps, Nat Berhe 

    The season-ending injury to Cooper Taylor leaves the Giants with four safeties, including rookie Nat Berhe, who has quietly progressed this summer.

    The starters will be Antrel Rolle and Stevie Brown. Quintin Demps, who told me that he wasn’t supposed to show people that he can be more than just a special teams specialist, will probably be the third safety in the three-safety set.

    While the Giants will probably stash another safety on the practice squad, they do have some cornerbacks who can play safety in a pinch (see the next slide).

Cornerbacks

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    Seth Wenig/Associated Press

    (6): Prince Amukamara, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Walter Thurmond, Zack Bowman, Trumaine McBride, Bennett Jackson

    Don’t be surprised if the Giants carry an extra cornerback who can also double as a safety in a pinch.

    That’s exactly what Zack Bowman, who has also had a strong camp at cornerback and on special teams, brings to the table.

    The extra cornerback, who will likely be Bennett Jackson, will also protect the Giants in the event that Prince Amukamara’s groin injury and/or Trumaine McBride’s surgically repaired hip experience any setbacks.

    Speaking of Jackson, he is another guy who can contribute on special teams, which should be his primary role for the immediate future. 

    Jayron Hosley will start the reason on the reserve/suspended list, where he’ll sit for four games after violating the league’s policy on substance abuse.

Specialists

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    Elsa/Getty Images

    (3): P Steve Weatherford, K Josh Brown, LS Zak DeOssie

    The only thing worth noting here is the choice of Josh Brown over Brandon McManus.  

    While McManus is younger, cheaper and has just as strong of a leg, Brown is the proven commodity.

    Brown also separated from McManus, who was traded to Denver for what ESPN's Adam Schefter reported to be a conditional seventh-round pick, in the battle thanks to strong showings on field goals and kickoffs both in camp and in games. 

     

    All quotes and information obtained firsthand, unless otherwise noted. Follow me on Twitter @Patricia_Traina.