By Michael Stewart
Introduction: The New York Giants 2018 training camp is about to begin and with all the changes made to the roster during the off season; I wanted to take a look at Five players who could be in for a battle to secure a roster spot for this season. Some of these players were starters last season or had roles on the team. Regardless; with new Head Coach Pat Shurmur along with other additions on the coaching staff; these five players must perform well or risk being released before the start of the season. Here’s a look at my Top 5 Giants on the bubble:
- John Jerry (OG):
Jerry has already taken a pay cut this past off season, but that doesn’t mean that he could be released before the start of the season. The Giants new GM Dave Gettleman signed free agents offensive tackle Nate Solder and offensive guard Patrick Omameh along with the drafting of offensive guard Will Hernandez (2nd round) to revamp an offensive line that has been for the most part; horrendous over the last several seasons. It’s no secret that Omameh and Hernandez are considered the front runners to secure the two starting guard positions and unless Jerry can outperform either one to earn a starting position; his days as a New York Giants are numbered. The Giants can save $1.875M by releasing Jerry and that seems to be how this scenario will play out.
- Jerrell Adams (TE):
The Giants will likely keep three tight ends on the roster with the slim chance of possibly four if Head Coach Pat Shurmur decides to forego the traditional fullback spot on the roster. Evan Engram and Rhett Ellison are locks to secure the first two spots. Adams will be in a battle with a group of tight ends; which includes: Ryan O’Malley, Kyle Carter, Garrett Dickerson and Scott Simonson. Adams has not been able to fully separate himself from the group during his first two seasons; which could be more likely due to former Head Coach Ben McAdoo mishandling of Adams and not Adams directly. Under new Head Coach Pat Shurmur, Adams will be given every opportunity to showcase himself as a receiving threat and not just a blocker.
- Roger Lewis (WR):
Lewis has been with the Giants the longest among this group (since 2016) and despite his occasional performances during that time, still needs to establish himself as top option in the Giants’ passing attack. Last season, Lewis was given the opportunity to show the Giants what he can do after injuries sidelined both Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandon Marshall. Lewis ended up with 36 receptions for 416 yards and two touchdowns; while also leading all wide receivers in dropped passes. Lewis is currently fourth on the depth chart behind Beckham, Shepard and Cody Latimer (acquired in free agency) and will need to fight off the other wide receivers Cody Latimer, (Russell Shepard and Hunter Sharp and Travis Rudolph). Russell Shepard and Sharp can also contribute on special teams; which could give them an edge on making the team over Lewis.
- Robert Thomas (DT):
Thomas saw the most playing time of his career in 2017 (15 games) and held his own respectfully. However; GM Dave Gettleman brought in a slew of defensive linemen during the off season to fuel competition in the trenches. Thomas has a few positives going for him which are: 1) He’s inexpensive, ($630K) and 2) he has more NFL experience over many of the additions brought in this season. However; Thomas must see the writing on the wall with rookies B.J. Hill, R.J. McIntosh and free agents Josh Mauro, Jarron Jones and A.J. Francis also fighting for a roster spot. Harrison and Dalvin Tomlinson are locks to line up at the nose tackle and defensive tackle positions and rookie B. J Hill has really impressed the coaching staff thus far. The only saving grace for Thomas could be if rookie R.J McIntosh, who is recovering from offseason surgery, cannot make the team and is placed on injured reserve (IR). If not, Thomas could be an ex Giants before the season opener.
- Aldrick Rosas (K):
Rosas has a very powerful right leg, however; that didn’t translate well for him in 2017. Rosas finished the season making just 18 out of 25 field goals and was equally disappointing on kickoff returns; where 51% were returned (3rd highest in the league). The Giants will need more stability from their kicking game if they have any intentions of earning a playoff spot. Looking at the Giants schedule this upcoming season, it wouldn’t surprise if some of these games are determined in the fourth quarter; where the difference could be a field goal. Rosas will more than likely have a number of kickers brought in the challenge him along with free agent pick up Marshall Koehn.
Final Thoughts: This is going to be a very interesting and entertaining training camp for the Giants. Despite finishing 3-13 in 2017, there is a lot of positive energy with the new additions brought in and the opportunity to surprise a lot of teams on game day. If the Giants can avoid serious injuries to key players this season and get key performances from their top players, we just might see them earn a playoff spot this season.