The New York Giants 53-man roster is set for the time being following the team’s trimming of 27 players from its summer training camp roster. While most of the moves made were not a surprise, there were a few eye-openers.
Here’s a run-down of some of the most notable developments. Also remember that the 53-man roster is likely to be tweaked over the next few weeks.
The Giants Acquire a Cornerback Via a Trade
Perhaps the most stunning move made by the Giants was their decision to send a conditional 2018 draft pick to the Steelers for cornerback Ross Cockrell, a player who likely became expendable when the Steelers acquired former Browns cornerback Joe Haden.
The acquisition of Cockrell meant the waiving of Donte Deayon, who had a decent enough camp, but who against the Patriots struggled when asked to play outside. There is a chance that Deayon, who spent last year on injured reserve as a member of the team’s practice squad, could be back at some point if he’s not picked up elsewhere.
Rosas Wins the Kicking Battle
This really came as no surprise, as ever since the spring, Aldrick Rosas has been drawing praise from the coaches and his teammates for his professionalism.
Kudos to the young man for handling every challenge thrown at him, including the arrival of Mike Nugent during camp and being put in a position to have to win the game against the Patriots on a long field goal attempt with time running out.
“We know Aldrick has a big leg, and we really liked the way he responded throughout training camp and in the preseason games,” said head coach Ben McAdoo.
“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.”
Geno Over Josh
Josh Johnson might have had himself a bounce-back game against the Patriots, but it might have been a case of too little, too late. Geno Smith, who completed a stellar comeback from a torn ACL, clearly outplayed Johnson not just in his ability to move the ball downfield, but also to make better decisions
“It was a close call,” said McAdoo. “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.”
Where Smith still needs to improve is in cutting down on the foolish mistakes, but with Eli Manning in front of him, the Giants won’t have to worry about that happening so long as Manning is healthy.
Travis Rudolph is Waived
The first real surprise among the roster moves made was the waiving of receiver Travis Rudolph, who led the Giants in receiving yards. Realistically speaking, Rudolph likely needed for another receiver ahead of him on the depth chart to have a long-term injury.
Such was not the case however, as Tavarres King (ankle), Dwayne Harris (upper body) and Odell Beckham Jr. (ankle) all seem like they’re on the road to recovery.
If Rudolph clears waivers, he’ll probably be among the first players the Giants sign to the practice squad.
Mark Herzlich to IR
Mark Herzlich becomes the latest Giant to suffer a season-ending stinger in the preseason. Herzlich, who in recent years had contributed to the team as a backup long snapper and, most recently, a tight end, has been with the team since 2011 when he made the roster as an undrafted rookie free agent out of Boston College.
“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.”
With Herzlich on season-ending injured reserve, that opened a spot for undrafted free agent Calvin Munson, who had himself a strong summer.
“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.”
Chad Wheeler Sticks; Adam Bisnowaty Doesn’t
The Giants waived offensive tackle Adam Bisnowaty, their sixth-round draft pick this year and a player they traded up to get. If he clears waivers, Bisnowaty will land on the practice squad.
Adam Bisnowaty (’17 6th rder) 1st #NYG draft pick 2 not make roster since Bennett Jackson (’14 6th rder)..BJax was signed 2 practice squad
— Lance Medow (@LanceMedow) September 2, 2017
Meanwhile Chad Wheeler, an undrafted free agent out of USC and a potential backup left tackle, made the initial 53-man roster.
“Wheeler probably should have been drafted in the middle rounds somewhere,” McAdoo said. “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.”
The Giants Have a Pure Fullback
Despite the reduction of a pure fullback’s role in the offense, the Giants have returned to their power running game roots by keeping, at least for now, fullback Shane Smith.
“We wanted to take the best 53 and not be concerned about which position they play,” McAdoo said.
“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.”
The decision is interesting because the Giants spent free-agent dollars to sign Rhett Ellison, a fullback/tight end. It will be interesting to see if the Giants stick with Smith once the rest of the waived players clear.
LaCosse In, Tye Out
The Giants are keeping four tight ends on the roster for now: Evan Engram, Rhett Ellison, Jerell Adams and Matt LaCosse.
Will Tye, whose fate seemed sealed when he was demoted to the third string offense for most of the summer, is the odd man out.
“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.”
Tye, a free agent from Stony Brook, has been on the Giants’ roster since Oct. 3, 2015. He’s found himself as the team’s starter twice due to either injuries or poor performance.
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.
Devin Taylor is Out
The Giants loaded up on defensive ends this offseason, adding veteran Devin Taylor to the mix. However, after signing with the team late in the spring, Taylor’s summer was stunted thanks to an early summer lower-body injury.
It also didn’t help that youngsters Romeo Okwara, Kerry Wynn and Avery Moss all picked up their level of play. In the end, the Giants decided to go with youth, with Taylor being the odd man out.
“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.”
The 53-man Roster
|26||Barkley, Saquon||RB||5-11||233||21||R||Penn State|
|13||Beckham Jr, Odell||WR||5-11||198||25||4||LSU|
|38||Deayon, Donte||CB||5-9||158||24||1||Boise State|
|99||Edwards, Mario||DE||6-3||280||24||4||Florida State|
|45||Eligwe, Ukeme||LB||6-2||239||24||2||Georgia Southern|
|34||Haley, Grant||CB||5-9||190||22||R||Penn State|
|30||Hamilton, Antonio||CB||6-0||190||25||3||South Carolina State|
|71||Hernandez, Will||G||3-Jun||330||22||R||Texas-El Paso|
|95||Hill, B.J.||DT||3-Jun||311||23||R||North Carolina State|
|20||Jenkins, Janoris||CB||5-10||198||29||6||North Alabama|
|24||Lippett, Tony||DB||6-3||192||26||3||Michigan State|
|96||Martin, Kareem||LB||6-6||272||26||5||North Carolina|
|68||Mihalik, Brian||T||6-9||315||26||2||Boston College|
|29||Moore, Kamrin||DB||5-10||200||21||R||Boston College|
|35||Riley, Curtis||CB||6-0||190||25||4||Fresno State|
|2||Rosas, Aldrick||K||6-2||195||23||R||Southern Oregon|
|57||Stupar, Nate||LB||6-2||240||30||6||Penn State|
|3||Tanney, Alex||QB||6-4||220||30||2||Monmouth (IL)|
|54||Vernon, Olivier||DE||6-2||262||27||6||Miami (Fla.)|
|23||Webb, B.W.||CB||5-11||190||27||5||William & Mary|
The List of Transactions
Here is the full list of Giants roster transactions:
- QB Josh Johnson
- RB Shaun Draughn
- RB , Khalid Abdullah
- FB Jacob Huesman
- WR Travis Rudolph
- WR Jerome Lane,
- WR Canaan Severin
- WR Marquis Bundy
- WR Ed Eagan
- TE Will Tye
- OL Adam Bisnowaty
- OL Jon Halapio
- OL Jarron Jones
- OL Matt Rotheram
- DL Devin Taylor
- DL Bobby Richardson
- DL Jordan Williams
- DL Josh Banks (IR, shoulder)
- LB Mark Herzlich (IR, stinger)
- LB Deontae Skinner
- LB Stansly Maponga
- LB Curtis Grant
- CB Donte Deayon
- CB DaShaun Amos
- CB Nigel Tribune
- S Ryan Murphy
- S Trey Robinson
- K Mike Nugent