Written by: Alexander Amir, @ajamir21
As we approach the NFL’s training camps, the Blitz writers are projecting week 1 starting rosters for every NFL team. The Giants are still in an ambiguous rebuild/contend mode, but it seems like they’re leaning towards more of a rebuild given their draft picks this year. All eyes will be on Daniel Jones and when the Giants decide to put him on the field, but until then, there are plenty of other decisions to make. Here’s my 53-man roster prediction for game 1 in Dallas.
Overview: Daniel Jones is the team’s future, but Eli will start for the time being. Your guess is as good as mine as to when Jones takes over, but if I had to put money on it, I would say he takes over after the bye week. Tanney will beat out Lauletta for the 3rd string job to give a veteran presence to Jones.
Overview: Saquon is the heart, soul, and ticket salesman for the Giants this season. He’ll see most of the snaps at running back. Gallman will be in an interesting battle with Paul Perkins for the #2 spot, but I think he beats him out. I could see them keeping both if there’s an extra roster spot. Pat Shurmur loves Eli Penny at fullback, and Rod Smith offers versatility and a special teams presence.
Overview: Either Tate or Shepard will operate primarily out of the slot — my guess is it will be Tate. Latimer will probably start as the other boundary receiver. Coleman did well on punt returns last season. Slayton earned first-team reps at OTAs and has gotten rave reviews from Giants coaches. His lightning speed gives him a chance to make an impact. Shepard is a strong special teams player.
Overview: Engram and Ellison are the receiving and blocking tight ends, respectively. Simonson wasn’t bad last year when filling in and he knows the system, while Conrad caught multiple TDs in OTAs and got a chance on the first team with Eli Manning.
Overview: The Giants finally overhauled their offensive line, with Nate Solder and Mike Remmers anchoring the outsides. Wheeler has experience, if nothing else, playing tackle, and “Big George” is a project with lots of natural strength.
Overview: The Giants have versatility along the line so they will only carry three guards. Hernandez and Zeitler will start on the left and right, with Nick Gates returning from last year’s I.R.
Overview: Both of these guys can play anywhere along the interior offensive line, which is why the Giants will keep both. Pulley started last year but was ranked 27th of 39 qualifying centers, per Pro Football Focus, and Halapio has taken the majority of 1st team snaps in OTAs. Expect him to be the starter and for Pulley to be the first man off the bench in case of injury anywhere along the line.
Overview: It looks like the Giants will finally have a defensive unit they can be proud of. 2018 3rd rounder B.J. Hill showed talent last season and will definitely be a starting defensive end in the 3-4. Dexter Lawrence will take over for Snacks Harrison as the nose tackle, while Dalvin Tomlinson will likely line up opposite Hill on early downs. R.J. McIntosh should be in line for much more work as a second year player, and Olsen Pierre is familiar with defensive coordinator James Bettcher’s defense.
Overview: The future of the Giants pass rush is in the hands of Carter. He is expected to take a big step forward in his 2nd season. Golden and Martin are also both familiar with Bettcher’s system from Arizona. Ximines is a rookie with lots of upside, and I expect him to push for playing time early. Moss is from Jerry Reese’s last draft as Giants GM, but I don’t think New York is done trying to develop him just yet.
Overview: The Giants have a surprisingly deep inside linebacking group. Ogletree and Goodson started last season, but I think Tae Davis enters into a rotation with Goodson. Ryan Connelly is a rookie that the team really likes and will try and push for playing time instead of Goodson as well. Stupar offers little as a linebacker but has lots of special teams value.
Overview: This is the brightest group of corners that the Giants have had in recent memory. Jenkins remains as the lockdown guy while Baker hopes to match him on the other side of the field. These two have the potential to be an excellent duo. Sam Beal is working back from last year’s shoulder injury, and I think he will start off the season as the #3 boundary corner behind Baker. However, I expect him to progress well, and I would not be surprised if Janoris Jenkins becomes a mid-season trade piece. Julian Love and Grant Haley will battle for the nickel role, while Corey Ballentine likely (hopefully) won’t see playing time unless there are injuries.
Overview: Julian Love offers some versatility to play safety, so the Giants will only take 3 from the position. Peppers and Bethea are locked in as the starters and will play most of the snaps. Thomas will return from last year as a sub.
Aldrick Rosas (K)
Riley Dixon (P)
Zak DeOssie (LS)
Overview: Everything is the same here. Rosas had a great season last year, and Dixon finished fifth among punters with a 41.8 net average and second with 15 downed punts. Zak DeOssie has been a mainstay at long snapper and I don’t expect that to change.
Breakout Player: Lorenzo Carter
Comeback Player: Sam Beal
Rising Star: B.J. Hill
Player not to Forget About: Avery Moss
Player on the Hot Seat: B.J. Goodson
Under the Radar: Darius Slayton
Dark Horse MVP: Jabrill Peppers