Takeaways and Reactions Following New York Giants Unveiling of Initial 53-man Roster


The initial New York Giants 53-man roster is in, but don't get too attached to all of the names on this initial list, as it's going to change in the coming days as more players shake loose from rosters around the league.

Let's take a look at the roster breakdown, official as of Tuesday's 4 p.m. deadline.

Quarterback (2)

  • In: Daniel Jones, Mike Glennon
  • Out: Brian Lewerke

Nothing to see here--never was. But don't be surprised if Lewerke is added to the practice squad.

Running Back (3)

In: Saquon Barkley, Devontae Booker, Gary Brightwell

Cut: Corey Clement

Clement's poor showing on special teams combined with Penny's ascension as a tailback on offense is a big reason why he's no longer on the roster. And speaking of special teams, rookie Gary Brightwell, who appeared to be a longshot at the start of camp, made the initial 53-man roster for his play on special teams.

The Giants are reportedly planning to sign running back Alfred Morris, one of their best pass-blocking running backs last year, to the practice squad.

Fullbacks (2)

  • In: Eli Penny, Cullen Gillaspia
  • Out: N/A

Two fullbacks?

Yup. Penny did well with those snaps he received at tailback, which, as previously noted, is a big reason why the Giants likely felt comfortable parting ways with Corey Clement.

Gillaspia figures to be this year's Nate Ebner (strictly a special teams player).

Wide Receiver (7)

  • In: Kenny Golladay, Sterling Shepard, Darius Slayton, Kadarius Toney, John Ross, C.J. Board, Dante Pettis
  • Out: David Sills, Matt Cole, Alex Bachman (IR), Austin Mack (IR), Damion Willis

Don't be surprised if John Ross, who has been injured most of training camp, lands on the short-term IR list once that eligibility period opens on Wednesday. Ross has been dealing with a hamstring issue and has missed a lot of camp, so the short.

Questions continue to swirl regarding the health of Kenny Golladay (hamstring) and Kadarius Toney (COVID) and whether they'll be ready to go for Week 1. Regardless my gut feeling is the Giants will carry six receivers and add to their tight end cache in the coming days.

Tight End (3)

  • In: Evan Engram, Kyle Rudolph, Kaden Smith
  • Out: Nakia Griffin-Stewart, Jake Hausmann

With questions about Evan Engram and Kyle Rudolph's readiness, I expect another tight end to be added to this roster.

Offensive Line (8)

  • In: Andrew Thomas, Shane Lemieux, Nick Gates, Will Hernandez, Matt Peart, Nate Solder, Billy Price, Ben Bredeson
  • Out: Jonotthan Harrison, Kenny Wiggins, Ted Larsen (IR), Chad Slade, Jackson Barton, Jake Burton, Brett Heggie

The only mild surprise is I thought Barton might have an outside chance of making the roster. That said, I'm not surprised the Giants added depth to the interior, as they were still reeling following the retirements of Zach Fulton and Joe Looney earlier this summer.

I also thought Harrison might make the roster, but with the acquisitions of Billy Price and Ben Bredeson via trade, the handwriting was on the wall. But with news about Shane Lemieux's partially torn patellar tendon having come out, it's easy to see why the Giants sought to fortify the depth along the interior.

Defensive Line (5)

  • In: Leonard Williams, Dexter Lawrence, Austin Johnson, Raymond Johnson III
  • Out: David Moa, Willie Henry, Elijah Qualls

No surprises here, at least as far as I'm concerned. I had B.J. Hill, who was traded to the Bengals for Price, not making the roster. I also had Raymond Johnson III making it while at the same time, I didn't have a warm and fuzzy feeling about David Moa's chances despite a strong summer showing.

Outside Linebacker (5)

  • In: Lorenzo Carter, Azeez Ojulari, Oshane Ximines, Elerson Smith, Trent Harris
  • Out: Ifeadi Odenigbo, Niko Lalos, Ryan Anderson

Odenigbo's failing to make the roster came as a surprise given the money invested in him, but in the end, he never took to the outside linebacker role, a position he was trying to learn for the first time this summer. He'll cost the Giants $1 million against their salary cap.

I always figured Harris would find his way back on the roster once Elerson Smith was moved to IR--that move is expected to happen as soon as Tuesday. Harris had a strong camp this summer, but I didn't think there would be room for him initially.

Inside Linebacker (5):

  • In: Blake Martinez, Tae Crowder, Carter Coughlin, Reggie Ragland, Cam Brown
  • Out: Devante Downs

No surprises at this spot, as the depth fell as expected.

Cornerback (7)

  • In: James Bradberry, Adoree’ Jackson, Darnay Holmes, Keion Crossen, Rodarius Williams, Sam Beal, Josh Jackson
  • Out: Madre Harper, Aaron Robinson (PUP)

Raise your hand if you had Sam Beal making the roster.

Yeah, I didn't either. It's not that Beal lacks talent, but rather he's missed so much time that any thoughts of the Giants potentially moving him into the starting lineup on the perimeter evaporated when he opted out of the 2020 season, and the team seemed to move on with veteran Adoree' Jackson and the drafting of Aaron Robinson.

Well, as predicted, Robinson will start the season on the PUP list, which means he's missing a minimum of six games. And Jackson is nursing an ankle injury, so the Giants, who don't like to give up on talent, are willing to give Beal another chance to earn his keep.

Josh Jackson, whom the team acquired in a trade with the Packers for Isaac Yiadom, could be one of the candidates moved to injured reserve. Jackson hasn't participated in any preseason games and hasn't been able to get on the field since joining the Giants.

Safety (4)

  • In: Logan Ryan, Jabrill Peppers, Xavier McKinney, Julian Love
  • Out: Chris Johnson, Jordyn Peters

No surprises here, either. The only question mark, though, is can the Giants afford to bring back Nate Ebner when he's healthy when they already have other guys who will serve as "special teams only" types?

Special Teams (2)

  • In: K Graham Gano, P Riley Dixon
  • Out: LS Casey Kreiter

Don't read too much into the cutting of Casey Kreiter. The Giants plan to re-sign the veteran after opening up a few roster spots by moving guys to injured reserve. Kreiter won't be subjected to waivers, so the Giants won't have to worry about someone swooping in to claim his contract.

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