After six months of no football, the 2017 NFL season is finally upon us! New York Giants Training Camp has begun and is in full swing, and the first preseason game (against the Pittsburgh Steelers) is coming up fast.
The Giants are coming off of an encouraging yet disappointing 2016 season. They returned to the playoffs for the first time in five years, but were obliterated in the first round by the Green Bay Packers. The offense seemed out of sync, and the defense finally cracked after months as the NFL’s best.
Still though, there is lots of hope around the Giants in 2017. They return this season with much of last year’s team, and have added some key pieces that will compliment the already existing core.
We’ll break down each positional group individually before unveiling a final 53-Man roster projection and depth chart at the end of the article. The roster projection will be updated weekly, so be sure to come back for more following each preseason game!Quarterbacks:
What you see is what you get out of the Giants’ quarterbacks: Eli Manning is back once again, for what will be his 14th season as the quarterback of the New York Giants. Manning was his usual consistent self last year: he posted solid numbers, but had some amazing highs and awful lows along the way. The playoff loss in Green Bay was not his fault in any way, and Manning still has three more years on his contract to chase one more ring.
Manning’s time as the Giants’ starter is dwindling, though. As such, the Giants went out and drafted Davis Webb in the third round out of California and hope he can become the quarterback of the future. In the meantime though, he will sit and learn from Manning, still one of the best in the business. Geno Smith and incumbent Josh Johnson will duel for the backup quarterback spot.
The Giants haven’t gotten a ton out of the running back spot since the retirements of Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw. Rashad Jennings had a solid but unspectacular run as a three-year starter, and he was let go this offseason.
Enter second-year rusher Paul Perkins, who showed flashes late last season and will be given every opportunity to be the starter out of the backfield. Veteran Shane Vereen will return healthy this season, which will be a huge help on third down and two-minute drills, as his ability to make plays as a receiver is unmatched by any Giants running back.
Behind them, Orleans Darkwa could finally earn the playing time he deserves after three years of being overlooked despite able production. Rookie Wayne Gallman can be an intriguing power option, while veteran Shaun Draughn is a safety net.
The wideouts will be the group that everyone wants to see when they come out to Training Camp. Odell Beckham Jr. is of course back, and looking to top himself yet again, after another spectacular season. This time, he will be joined by huge veteran target Brandon Marshall. Marshall, a former number one receiver with a volatile personality, is a perfect fit on the field, but it remains to be seen how he will mesh with Beckham.
Sterling Shepard suffered a low ankle sprain in Camp this week, but there is hope that he will return soon. The Giants will need their trusty slot receiver at full strength to balance their attack.
Dwayne Harris, Tavarres King, Roger Lewis Jr., and Darius Powe are all battling for the backup receiver spots.
After many years of trying to plug and play a new tight end each season, the Giants elected to upgrade the position this offseason. They drafted Evan Engram in the first round, who has the look of a young Jeremy Shockey on the field. He is a superb receiver, but could use work in his blocking.
They also signed veteran blocker Rhett Ellison, who is a new version of Bear Pascoe. Will Tye, Jerrell Adams, and Matt LaCosse are also all back, but there may only be room for two of these guys. It will be a fun battle to watch at tight end this summer.
This is the position group that will make or break the Giants’ season. Justin Pugh, Weston Richburg, and John Jerry are a sturdy, reliable interior line. The same cannot be said of young tackles Ereck Flowers and Bobby Hart. They will need to take major strides forward this season for the Giants’ offense to improve.
Last year, the Giants had perhaps the best defensive line in football. Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon are a terrorizing duo in rushing the passer, and Damon “Snacks” Harrison is relentless in playing the run. They lost longtime DT Jonathan Hankins in free agency, but drafted a capable replacement in plugger Dalvin Tomlinson out of Alabama.
The starters were awesome last year, but they got almost no help from their backups. That will have to change this year to keep the starters fresh. There will be a battle for backup spots on the D-Line, as per usual.
As long as Pierre-Paul and Vernon can stay healthy, the Giants will have one of the best lines in the game.
The Giants do not have many big names out of their linebacker core, but they got the job done last season. There will be room for a new man in the middle, as second-year man BJ Goodson will be given the chance to start at middle linebacker, alongside Devon Kennard and Jonathan Casillas, who have been mainstays among the linebackers for years.
Keenan Robinson is the Giants’ best pass-coverage linebacker, and will play in nickel and dime packages. Mark Herzlich is too versatile to let go, and it remains to be seen if rehabbing former starter J.T. Thomas III will have a role on the team.
There’s no doubt about it: the Giants have the best secondary in the NFL. There isn’t a single wide receiver that Janoris Jenkins cannot shut down, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie can play inside and outside at a high level, and Eli Apple really came into his own as last season played on. And I haven’t even mentioned Landon Collins, who played like a young Troy Polamalu. Collins took no prisoners last year, leading the team in tackles and grabbing 5 interceptions.
Darian Thompson, Nat Berhe, and Andrew Adams will vie to start beside Collins. The real question in the Giants’ secondary is the depth. The lack of depth killed the team last season, and they didn’t do much to fix that this offseason. The Giants better hope that their core can stay healthy.
The Giants will feature a new kicker this season. It will either be unproven rookie Aldrick Rosas or veteran Mike Nugent, who will battle in the preseason. Punter Brad Wing and snapper Zak DeOssie are as sound as they come, and returners Dwayne Harris and Odell Beckham Jr. have reputations as elite returners despite not scoring a return TD last season.
53-Man Roster Projection
(As of 8/17: Preseason Record: 0-1)
QB (3): Eli Manning, Geno Smith, Davis Webb
RB (4): Paul Perkins, Shane Vereen, Orleans Darkwa, Wayne Gallman
WR (6): Odell Beckham Jr., Brandon Marshall, Sterling Shepard, Tavarres King, Dwayne Harris, Darius Powe
TE (4): Evan Engram, Rhett Ellison, Jerell Adams, Matt Lacosse
OL (8): Ereck Flowers, Justin Pugh, Weston Richburg, John Jerry, Bobby Hart, D.J. Fluker, Brett Jones, Adam Bisnowaty
DE (6): Jason Pierre-Paul, Olivier Vernon, Romeo Okwara, Kerry Wynn, Devin Taylor, Avery Moss
DT (4): Damon Harrison, Jay Bromley, Dalvin Tomlinson, Robert Thomas
LB (6): Devon Kennard, B.J. Goodson, Jonathan Casillas, Keenan Robinson, Mark Herzlich, J.T. Thomas III
CB (5): Janoris Jenkins, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Eli Apple, Valentino Blake, Michael Hunter
S (4): Landon Collins, Darian Thompson, Andrew Adams, Nat Berhe
Special Teams (3):
K (1): Aldrick Rosas
P (1): Brad Wing
LS (1): Zak DeOssie