The New York Giants will cut their roster to 53 players by 4 p.m. ET Saturday. Here’s a projection:
Stop it. Manning isn’t going anywhere. Not even to Indy with Andrew Luck now retired. Jones will have to wait his turn. Lauletta has had a strong preseason and barely beats out Alex Tanney for the third spot. It’s one thing for general manager Dave Gettleman to part with someone else’s players, but Lauletta is his own fourth-round draft pick from last year.
Barkley is the workhorse. Gallman and Smith are the power-running backups who fit the Giants’ approach. Smith makes it over Paul Perkins, who pre-dated the current regime. That has been the kiss of death so far.
FULLBACK (1): Elijhaa Penny
The only fullback on the roster, Penny had a strong summer, regularly catching passes out of the backfield. He also doubles as insurance at tailback.
The Giants will be without Golden Tate (suspended list) for the first four games. Latimer and Fowler will be looked upon to fill the void. Jones has versatility and ability, too. Slayton is again struggling with his hamstring but is a fifth-round draft pick. Russell Shepard makes it because of his special teams value. Alonzo Russell and Brittan Golden likely just miss out.
The Giants go heavy at tight end. Engram is the pass-catcher. Ellison is the blocker, along with Simonson. And the Giants like Dickerson. Undrafted rookie C.J. Conrad didn’t play much in the third preseason game; it’s almost as if they’re trying to sneak him onto the practice squad.
The starters have been set for a while, with Halapio at center and Remmers at right tackle. Slade and Gates find their way onto the roster after showing versatility this summer.
Hill, Tomlinson and Lawrence are the starters. Pierre provides some pass rush. Went with the rookie Slayton over RJ McIntosh, who has yet to flash much in his second season.
Defensive coordinator James Bettcher is going to lean on Carter and Golden. Ximines is a good-looking rookie who can serve as a pass-rush specialist this season. Martin is one to keep an eye on as an expensive reserve, especially since the Giants seem to value what Fede can bring on defense and special teams. Inside linebacker will be an intriguing position to watch. The Giants also like Jonathan Anderson. The rookie Connelly is working his way toward the first-team defense. Stupar brings immense special-teams value. Don’t be surprised to see B.J. Goodson traded; he is a starting-caliber player who has been lost in the regime change.
Jenkins is the proven veteran surrounded by young pups. Haley will be the starting nickelback, with the rookie Love waiting in the wings. Ballentine has impressed and comfortably earned his spot on the roster. Beal sneaks in over the more deserving Ronald Zamort, Antonio Hamilton or even Henre’ Toliver if only because the Giants invested in Beal in last year’s supplemental draft. Beal hasn’t done much of anything this summer because of injury, but he is close to getting healthy. At safety, Peppers and Bethea are the starters. Thomas and Chandler are backups and key special-teams contributors. The Giants really like Chandler, plus Love doubles as another safety option.
The familiarity with Dixon earns him the nod over the recently acquired Johnny Townsend.