While minor transaction and waiver wire pick-ups can still happen, every NFL roster is down to 53 men heading into Week 1 of the regular season.
For the Giants, GM Dave Gettleman made some tough calls and put together what he believes is a team that can contend for head coach Joe Judge and his staff. But, of course, it isn’t perfect and moves can be made at any time to bolster positions that need some help.
What might those positions be? And which ones are the strongest heading into the matchup against Denver?
Let’s break down the 2021 Giants roster:
3 Strongest Positions
The safety group was untouched from last season and only got better with Xavier McKinney set to start the season with the squad instead of on the IR. Between him, Logan Ryan, Jabrill Peppers and Julian Love, these are four safeties who should be all over the field on gameday. Each of them has an important role, with Ryan and Peppers especially setting the tone on the tackling front.
This is an exciting group mixed with young talent and established vets that anchor the back end of the defense.
Kenny Golladay and Kadarius Toney were taking practice reps at a good speed on Wednesday inside MetLife Stadium, which shows confidence that both could be available for Week 1 against the Broncos. Either way, when this group is healthy, they are a real threat. They have speed, big play ability all around and can really take the top off the defense – if deployed correctly.
Saquon Barkley is back and he could be knocking pads with teammates as early as Thursday for the first time since his Week 2 injury last season. If that’s the case, he’s a go for Week 1 and the Giants will hope he can once again be this group’s spark plug with his dynamic play out of the backfield.
But he also has a solid backup who should also see some good reps: Devontae Booker. He’s looked great at camp with his pass-catching abilities making him an immediate standout. That’s what you need out of a back who’s going to mostly see third downs when Barkley is healthy.
3 Weakest Positions
The Giants touted the chemistry that this group was developing last season heading into camp, and they believed it would see better results because of it come Week 1 this year.
Well, the group just got some new faces as the Giants traded for Bengals C/G Billy Price and Ravens G Ben Bredeson. But there’s question marks all over the place like Andrew Thomas, who had a horrible showing in the first half of the final preseason contest. Matt Peart also hasn’t solidified his right tackle role, with Nate Solder seeing time with the 1s there. And Shane Lemieux is going to try to play with a partially torn patellar tendon.
This group doesn’t look too promising yet again for Big Blue. They have the opportunity to prove otherwise, though.
The edge rushers for Big Blue can very well change this narrative, but until they do, their inconsistent pressure on quarterbacks will fall in this category.
Lorenzo Carter is back and he’s joined by a former Georgia Bulldog teammate in Azeez Ojulari, the Giants’ second-rounder in this year’s draft. With Oshane Ximines back as well, this group has one unified goal this season: Just get pressure. Doesn’t matter how they do it, but they need to since Gettleman didn’t try to sign an established free agent at the position.
This is a stretch but that’s a good thing for the Giants on paper. Blake Martinez is a stud, plain and simple. But who will step up next to him is a question mark for this defense.
On the unofficial depth chart right now, it’s Tae Crowder at the WIL spot right now. But Reggie Ragland was seen with the starting defense in the final preseason game, so maybe he’s the one there. And then there’s Carter Coughlin for depth all around.
If Martinez has to miss games this season, this group could be in a lot of trouble because of how much impact he has on the game.
Biggest Surprise Cut
WR David Sills more than earned a roster spot for New York. But because of the depth at wide receiver and his lack of special teams expertise, he was a casualty. That’s the reason C.J. Board was on the roster before being cut due to waiver wire pickups.
Sills could still make his impact this season depending on injuries, but he’d be a good depth guy for New York given his frame and competitive route-running.
Also in consideration here: LB Niko Lalos. He had a huge coming out party last season when he just found himself in the middle of turnovers for the defense. He had a solid camp but just wasn’t the fit for Patrick Graham at the time.