Introduction: With the New York Giants 2020 training camp coming to a close and with the final 53-man roster less than a week away. I thought it would be a good time to give my final predictions of the 53 man roster. OT Nate Solder, CB Sam Beal and WR Da’Mari Scott all have opted out for 2020, so we should see a few new faces added onto the roster that weren’t here in 2019. With that being said, let’s take a look at my final New York Giants projected 53-man roster for opening day.
- Starter: Daniel Jones: Jones had a solid camp and I’m projecting him to improve immensely in 2020.
- Backups: Colt McCoy and Cooper Rush: In my 1st edition I went with only two quarterbacks, but shifted gears in my final one and added Cooper Rush. All three quarterbacks showed enough to be given a spot on the roster and as a result the Giants will likely release Alex Tanney and possibly place Case Cookus on the practice squad if they don’t seek a quarterback on the waiver wire.
Running Backs (4)
- Starter: Saquon Barkley: As expected, the Giants intend to run the offense through the talents of Saquon Barkley who is expected to have a season similar to his rookie season when he amassed over 2000 total yards.
- Backups: Dion Lewis, Eli Penny and Wayne Gallman: No changes here as Lewis, Penny and Gallman make the final roster. Gallman put forth a solid intra-squad scrimmage performance that in my opinion was the deciding factor as he earns the final spot. UDFA running back Javon Leake was surprisingly cut this past weekend, however; if another team doesn’t pick him up, there’s a possibility that the Giants could bring him back and place him on the practice squad if they don’t decide to look outside the organization for another running back; which is always a possibility.
Wide Receivers (6)
- Starters: Golden Tate, Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton: This three-some still remain as the starters; which is no surprise. Giants are hoping that all three provide steady production and avoid the injury bug.
- Backups: Corey Coleman, David Sills, Binjimen Victor: This was one of the best positional battles in camp as the Giants decided to only go with six wide receivers to start the year. With Cody Core out for the season, this will give UDFA wide receivers Austin Mack , Binjimen Victor and Derrick Dillon an opportunity to make the final roster. All three have turned heads in training camp along with David Sills. In the end, I believe Sills and Victor earn a spot on the final roster to start the season and Mack and Dillon will find themselves on the practice squad. The big question here is: how comfortable are the Giants having two young receivers making the roster in Sills and Victor? Strong likelihood the Gettleman and Judge monitor the waiver wire to see if any experience wide receiver become available that catches their eye. For now, I’ll go with these selections.
Tight Ends (3)
- Starter: Evan Engram: Engram managed to escape training camp without finding himself on the injury list. Overall, the Coaching staff especially Offensive Coordinator Jason Garrett was pleased with what he saw. Expect Garrett to design certain plays specifically for Engram to utilize his talent.
- Backups: Kayden Smith, Levine Toilolo: Kayden Smith is basically starter 1B within Jason Garrett’s offense as he does like to deploy double tight ends often. Smith will look to improve from his rookie season and I believe we will see him progress. Levine Toilolo rounds out the tight end position as I believe we will see the Giants carry three to start the season. Again, this decision is based on Coach Joe Judge wanting a traditional fullback on the roster. Therefore; Tomlinson gets the short end of the straw and will most likely be released and get picked up by another team rather than going to the practice squad.
Offensive Line (9)
- Starters: Cameron Fleming, Will Hernandez, Nick Gates, Kevin Zeitler, Andrew Thomas: In my 1st edition I had Shane Pulley at center, but Nick Gates has cemented the starting center position in my opinion with his work ethic and solid performances in intra-squad games throughout training camp. I’m giving Cameron Fleming a slight edge over Matt Peart who has really impressed me with his quick development during a very difficult training camp situation. Originally I wasn’t a big fan of the selection of Peart in the 3rd round, but I’m man enough to admit I might have missed this one. We could see the tackle position change as Peart could replace Fleming as quickly as weekly two, so stay tune.
- Backups: Matt Peart, Shane Lemieux, Shane Pulley and Chad Slade: I like the versatility of this group as each lineman can play multiple positions along the offensive line. Slade gets the last spot as he can play both the guard and tackle positions if needed.
Defensive Line (5)
- Starters: Dexter Lawrence, Davlin Tomlinson, Leonard Williams: This is a very good group for the Giants and expect all three to have solid seasons in 2020. Both Tomlinson and Williamsons will be free agents after the season, so a strong season could go a long way in securing a multi-year deal, although it may not be with the Giants.
- Backups: B. J Hill and Austin Johnson: I still project the Giants will only go with five defensive linemen in 2020, again they can always bring up another player up from the practice squad on any given week. Hill and Johnson earn the final two spots as R. J McIntosh and Chris Slayton will either be picked up on waivers or go to the practice squad.
Outside Linebackers (6)
- Starters: Lorenzo Carter, Markus Golden: This was another great positional battle that saw many battles during intra squad games. Lorenzo Carter did his best LT impersonation during the team’s first intra-squad game and solidified a starting spot on the outside along with Markus Golden. Kyler Fackrell and Oshane Ximines will get plenty of snaps to keep this group fresh throughout the season; which is a trademark of DC Patrick Graham.
- Backups: Kyler Fackrell, Oshane Ximines, Carter Coughlin and Cam Brown: 2020 draft picks Carter Coughlin and Cam Brown make the final cuts and join the 53-man roster as both should see ample playing time initially on special teams.
Inside Linebackers (4)
- Starters: Blake Martinez and Devonte Downs: Martinez is a lock at one inside linebacker spot and David Mayo on injured reserve and Ryan Connelly being held back a bit it seems that Downs could be the other starting inside linebacker come opening day. Ryan Connelly will resume his starting spot once the coaching staff feels he’s at 100%; which could be as early as Game 2 of the season. However; at this point it seems that Downs has the edge over the rest of the candidates to at least start on opening day.
- Backups: Tae Crowder and Ryan Connelly. As I mentioned above, David Mayo will be on the IR to start the season; which is why his name isn’t shown as a backup. Ryan Connelly has been held back as well; which is why he becomes a backup temporary to start the season. Once he and Mayo return, the Giants will need to make a roster move. DC Patrick Graham will find a way to utilize this group efficiently and keep everyone fresh. Rookie Tae Crowder edges out T.J Bronson and Josiah Tauaefa for the final spot. I expect to see Bronson placed on the practice squad and Tauaefa released.
- Outside Starters: James Bradbery and Cory Ballentine: Immediately after the draft, the Giants secondary seemed to be over crowded, however; you can never have too many defensive backs as Sam Beal opts out in 2020 and DeAndre Baker legal issues and being placed on the commissioner’s exempt list more or less sealed his fate to remain a Giant. Ballentine has had a solid camp and I project he will see the most snaps at the CB2 to start the season. Again, we could see more of a rotational system here with DC Patrick Graham depending on the situation
- Slot Corner Starter: Darnay Holmes: Rookie Darnay Holmes has had a solid training camp as the coaching staff have been impressed with his thirst for knowledge and preparation before practices and how quickly he has improved. Due to player’s personal issues, opting out and injuries, Holmes will be needed to start immediately; which wasn’t the original plan. So expect a little growing pains early in the season.
- Backups: Chris Williamson, Dravon Askew-Henry and Brandon Williams: In my final projections, Grant Haley still is the odd man out in the secondary as he struggled in the slot in 2019 and is not very good on the outside in open space. Most of the backups will see ample playing time on special teams; which we all know how important it is to Head Coach Joe Judge.
- Starters: Jabrill Peppers and Julian Love: The exclusion of rookie Xavier McKinney who suffered a broken foot and is expected to miss the first two months of the season is a big blow to the Giants secondary. Love will be called upon to fill in for McKinney at the safety position. In 2019, Love did a solid job in place of Peppers, so the Giants are confident that Love will provide solid production until McKinney returns.
- Backups: Nate Ebner and Montre Hartage: Nate Ebner makes the roster for his special team ability. The final roster spot is a coin flip and can go either way between Montre Hartage and Sean Chandler. In this scenario Hartage gets the nod over Chandler. Chandler based on his familiarity with DC Patrick Grahams defensive system with Miami in 2019. Chandler could find himself on the practice squad as Jaquarius Landrews gets released.
Special Teams (3)
- Kicker: Graham Cano: Aldrick Rosaswas released as he is facing three misdemeanor charges to his alleged hit and run accident back in mid June; along with having a very sub-par 2019 season. Head Coach Joe Judge and GM Dave Gettleman decided to cut the cord and bring in Catanzaro who has a career FG percentage of 83.8 during his career. Catanzaro was then released with the signing of Cano who has ties with Dave Gettleman during their years in Carolina.
- Punter: Riley Dixon: Dixon had a solid season in 2019 and there’s no reason to expect him to show a decline in his production in 2020.
- Long Snapper: Casey Kreither: Long time Giants long snapper Zak DeOssie has finally retired after a very prestigious career. Kreither should pick up right where DeOssie left off without a hitch.
Final Thoughts: There’s my final 53 man roster for the Giants in 2020 and again this can be altered a bit once teams release their waiver list of players becoming available, so expect some additions and subtractions. Overall, on paper the team looks much better than it did in 2019 and if key players such as quarterback Daniel Jones, running back Saquon Barkley and Tight End Evan Engram on the offensive side stay healthy and play to what everyone seems to think they can play; then offensively the Giants will be headed in the right direction. On the defensive side, Giants coaching staff are expecting immense growth from DT Dexter Lawrence and the rest of the defensive line, along with linebackers Lorenzo Carter and Oshane Ximines. In the secondary, the performance of Ballentine, Love and Holmes could be the X factor of the overall success of the defense in 2020.