The New York Giants must cut their roster to 53 by 4 p.m. ET Saturday. Here’s a final 53-man roster projection:
Notice no Geno Smith. This was a battle that went down to the wire, with both Smith and Johnson excelling in the preseason finale. Smith is more talented but mistake-prone. The Giants go with the steadier and more reliable of the two options. Their backup quarterback serves as more a support system for Manning and a mentor for Webb. Johnson fits that role better.
I was going back and forth with Shaun Draughn here. The Giants seem to want to keep him, but he did so little this summer and preseason because of injury it’s hard to justify, especially at the expense of a fullback or another position.
Fullback (1): Shane Smith
They want to keep a fullback to aid the running game. Smith is their best option.
Darius Powe was a serious candidate to crack this list before a hamstring injury derailed his summer. As long as King and Harris are healthy, which it seems they will be for Week 1, they make the team. Travis Rudolph was a nice story but he’ll make it to the practice squad instead.
Adams, LaCosse and Will Tye all bring something to the table. LaCosse and Adams are the better blockers, though. That provides them more value to this group. Tye has some value, so maybe he gets traded for a late-round pick?
Eight is light but the Giants don’t exactly have a ton of quality options that were left off this list. Adam Bisnowaty is the most notable, but the Giants shouldn’t have trouble getting him onto the practice squad considering his tape from the preseason wasn’t especially strong. He’s a long-term project.
The Giants love Okwara, Wynn had a strong summer and preseason, and Moss is a draft pick who has flashed. Devin Taylor is the odd man out of this deep group.
A recent injury to Jay Bromley (knee) may have saved Thomas’ roster spot, at least for a bit. Jordan Williams deserves to make it after an incredibly strong summer. He's a victim of a numbers crunch and the Bromley injury.
Munson and Thomas make it as special-teamers. Mark Herzlich (stinger) is left out only because of the uncertainty with his injury. If he’s healthy, he takes Munson's spot. It also wouldn’t be overly surprising if Curtis Grant somehow sneaks onto the roster.
The top three are givens. Hunter had a strong summer to lock up his spot. Deayon earned it as well by playing lights out as a coverman in the preseason. His lack of significant special-teams value, however, could put his spot at risk if the Giants find someone from another team's roster.
These were clearly the top four safeties in camp. Duke Ihenacho's bid for a spot ended when he injured his knee against the Jets. Eric Pinkins just never gained traction as a special-teams ace either.
Kicker (1): Aldrick Rosas
Both Rosas and Mike Nugent were perfect in the preseason. But the 22-year-old wins out over the 35-year-old, if only because he could be their kicker of the future.
Punter (1): Brad Wing
There never was a doubt.
Long-snapper (1): Zak DeOssie
He’s not just a fixture. He’s an institution.