The 2019 offseason was a busy one for Big Blue, with a couple surprising departures and key additions. Head Coach, Pat Shurmur, looks to improve his squad which finished just 5-11 last season in his first year at the helm. Kevin Zeitler and Jabrill Peppers are two impactful players that look to step into leadership roles this season. Pre-season is […]
The 2019 offseason was a busy one for Big Blue, with a couple surprising departures and key additions. Head Coach, Pat Shurmur, looks to improve his squad which finished just 5-11 last season in his first year at the helm. Kevin Zeitler and Jabrill Peppers are two impactful players that look to step into leadership roles this season.
Pre-season is in full swing and the Giants have jumped out to a 3-0 start with exciting victories over the New York Jets, Chicago Bears, and Cincinnati Bengals. The Giants will play the New England Patriots in their final preseason game. While the roster currently stands at 90 men, 37 of them will not make the final cut. Listed below are my predictions as to who will crack the final 53-man roster.
- In: Eli Manning, Daniel Jones, Alex Tanney
- Out: Kyle Lauletta
The Giants continue to believe in Manning, who is coming off his best statistical season. However, he is now 38 years old with only one year left on his contract. The future seems to belong to the rookie quarterback, Jones, but the question is will the Giants play him at all this season. Tanney gets the nod over second-year pro, Lauletta.
Running Backs (4)
- In: Saquon Barkley, Wayne Gallman, Rod Smith, Eli Penny
- Out: Paul Perkins, Jonathan Hilliman
Barkley is coming off an electric rookie campaign and sky is the limit for the youngster out of Penn State. He is already established as a top-two back in this league and will now be the clear focal point of the offense. Gallman will get the leftovers, with Barkley being the every-down back. Smith has raised some eyebrows and Penny could stick as the fullback, but this position is falling off the map for most teams. Hilliman might sneak on to the practice squad.
Wide Receivers (6)
- In: Sterling Shepard, Cody Latimer, Bennie Fowler, Darius Slayton, T.J. Jones, Golden Tate (SUSP) replaced by Reggie White Jr.
- Out: Alonzo Russell, Da’Mari Scott, Alex Wesley, Brittan Golden, Russell Shepard
It’s nearly impossible to replace the freakish athlete the Giants had in Odell Beckham Jr. but they compensated with signing veteran Tate, who will miss the first four games after being suspended for illegal PED use. Shepard will miss the cut because I feel the Giants really like what they’ve seen from White Jr. and Jones has meshed well with Daniel Jones over the first three preseason games. White is competing with Russell to fill in for Tate the first four games. As of right now, I give White the edge.
Tight Ends (4)
- In: Evan Engram, Rhett Ellison, Scott Simonson, CJ Conrad
- Out: Garrett Dickerson, Jake Powell
Expect Engram to become one of Manning’s favorite weapons this year. If healthy, he has breakout potential written all over him. Ellison is a versatile player who can be utilized to block and catch. I have the Giants keeping four tight ends because I expect them to start two. Simonson is a proven blocker and will play special teams. Undrafted rookie free agent, Conrad, is too talented to keep off the roster. He will not make it through waivers if the Giants cut him. Dickerson, the local guy out of Bergen Catholic, is a practice squad candidate.
Offensive Line (9)
- In: Nate Solder, Will Hernandez, Jon Halapio, Kevin Zeitler, Mike Remmers, Spencer Pulley, Chad Wheeler, Nick Gates, Chad Slade
- Out: Paul Adams, Brian Mihalik, Malcolm Bunche, Evan Brown, James O’Hagan
The offensive line looks much improved on paper, as the Giants went out and patched up the right side of the line with Zeitler and Remmers. Hernandez should take the next step in year two and Halapio will start at center. Pulley is the only backup locked here. Wheeler has been playing with the third team, which is concerning. I feel that he will earn his way on along with Gates and Slade. Mihalik has been out with a burner and has been surpassed by Gates. Rookie guard, Big George, will likely be placed on IR. Lastly, I thought O’Hagan had a shot earlier in camp, but he is undersized and I don’t see the Giants keeping three centers, and they would likely stick with Brown if that was to happen.
Defensive Line (6)
- In: B.J. Hill, Dalvin Tomlinson, Dexter Lawrence, RJ McIntosh, Olsen Pierre, Chris Slayton
- Out: John Jenkins, Freedom Akinmoladun, Jake Ceresna
The only doubt here is if the Giants choose to keep Jenkins over Pierre or Slayton. The Giants will go with Hill, Dalvin, and Lawrence on the front line in Bettcher’s 3-4 set. McIntosh is essentially a red-shirt rookie that could provide solid depth. I really like the Lawrence draft pick. Pierre is another player with ties to Bettcher. Ceresna has worked hard in the trenches and could make someone’s practice squad.
- In: Markus Golden, Alec Ogletree, Tae Davis, Lorenzo Carter, Kareem Martin, Ryan Connelly, Nate Stupar, Oshane Ximines
- Out: Jake Carlock (last cut), BJ Goodson, Avery Moss, Jonathan Anderson, Keion Adams, Terrence Fede, Josiah Tauaefa, Joey Alfieri
This is where things get interesting. Golden and Carter will start off the edge. I think that Ogletree and Davis will start at the interior linebacker slots. However, fifth-round draft pick Connelly has been a preseason standout and could unseat one of these two. Former starter, Goodson, has been lining up with the third team, which is a hint that the Giants have moved on. The biggest surprise here is undrafted rookie, Carlock. Scoring a touchdown and recording a sack against the Jets earned him praise in the locker room and is a team favorite. Let’s see if the DII beast from LIU can grab that final spot. If not, he is all but guaranteed practice squad status.
- In: Janoris Jenkins, Deandre Baker, Grant Haley, Corey Ballentine, Sam Beal, Antonio Hamilton
- Out: Ronald Zamort, Terrell Sinkfield, Henre’ Tolliver
Jenkins has several young guns to groom this year. First-round pick, Baker, should start alongside him. However, injuries have been haunting this group with Beal and Hamilton missing some time. The Giants could potentially do some shuffling here by re-converting Notre Dame rookie, Love, back to this group.
- In: Jabrill Peppers, Antoine Bethea, Michael Thomas, Julian Love
- Out: Sean Chandler, Kenny Ladler, Tenny Adewusi
Peppers and Bethea were both acquired in the offseason to replace All-Pro Landon Collins and Curtis Riley. Peppers is a local guy who can easily become a leader on this defense, while Bethea brings championship experience and a veteran presence. Chandler, who made this roster as an undrafted rookie last year, is likely on the outside looking in, barring another injury in the secondary. He could also be competing with Ladler for a practice squad position.
Special Teams (3)
- In: Zak Deossie (LS), Aldrick Rosas (K), Riley Dixon (P)
- Out: Taybor Pepper, Johnny Townsend
The only question here is that the Giants recently signed Johnny Townsend and released Ryan Anderson. There could be a competition here, but Dixon should be safe. He displayed his strong leg last year improving the Giants punt unit.
2019 is a year where the Giants could possibly prove all the doubters wrong and make some noise. They have their easiest schedule in over a decade and have made some solid acquisitions, including Peppers, Zeitler, Tate, and Remmers. Although the offensive line is improved, there are still questions surrounding the quarterback position and this young defense. The secondary and pass-rushing are two categories that could hold the Giants back. In my opinion, this team starts 3-1 at worst and will finish anywhere between 7-9 and 10-6. 8-8 is my final prediction for the Giants, who will finish third in the NFC East, just on the outer cusp of the playoff hunt.