Key Battles at WR, OL, and LB

As the New York Giants continue their second training camp under head coach Brian Daboll, some of their depth chart slots are already locked in. However, the Giants are staging battles for starting roles at numerous positions, including wide receiver, interior offensive line, linebacker, and safety.

New York will need to whittle its roster down to 53 players by Aug. 29. Here’s our best guess as to how the Giants will organize their roster over the next month.

New York Giants 53-Man Roster Projection


  • In: Daniel Jones, Tyrod Taylor
  • Out: Tommy DeVito

Taylor won’t face any competition to serve as Jones’ backup for the second straight season. The 33-year-old attempted just eight passes in 2022, but the Giants are confident that Taylor — who played under Daboll when both were with the Buffalo Bills — can relieve Jones in the event of an injury.

The NFL’s new third quarterback rule allows teams to carry an extra signal-caller as an inactive player on game day, but that QB still has to be part of the club’s 53-man roster. There’s been no indication that New York plans to retain a third quarterback, meaning DeVito is likely ticketed for the practice squad.

Running Back

  • In: Saquon Barkley, Matt Breida, Eric Gray, Gary Brightwell
  • Out: Jashaun Corbin, James Robinson

Barkley is back at Giants camp after agreeing to a revised one-year contract that supersedes his franchise tag. Breida is the favorite for backup duties at the beginning of the regular season, but Gray — a fifth-round rookie — could handle more work as the year progresses.

Assuming New York keeps four running backs, Brightwell, Corbin, and Robinson will be competing for one roster spot. It’s almost too easy to eliminate Robinson, who hasn’t been productive since tearing his Achilles at the end of the 2021 season. He’s been let go by the Jaguars, Jets, and Patriots over the past 12 months.

Corbin was an interesting undrafted free agent out of Florida State last year, but Brightwell should have the edge in the RB4 competition after playing nearly 300 special-teams snaps in 2022.

Wide Receiver

  • In: Darius Slayton, Isaiah Hodgins, Parris Campbell, Jalin Hyatt, Sterling Shepard, Cole Beasley, Collin Johnson
  • Physically Unable to Perform (PUP): Wan’Dale Robinson
  • Out: Jamison Crowder, Bryce Ford-Wheaton, Jaydon Mickens, Kalil Pimpleton, David Sills, Jeff Smith

Now that Shepard has been activated off the PUP list, the Giants’ top five receivers appear to be set in stone. Slayton, Hodgins, and Campbell would likely be New York’s starting wideouts in “11” personnel if the season started today, while there’s been a steady drumbeat of positive reports about Hyatt at Giants camp.

Robinson’s ongoing recovery from a torn ACL complicates New York’s depth chart. He’s currently on the PUP list and could remain there once the season begins, which would mandate a four-game absence. The Giants’ recent signing of Beasley — like Taylor, another former Bill — could indicate New York has doubts about Robinson’s early-season availability.

Johnson is hardly a lock after missing all of last year with a torn Achilles, but he’d give the Giants an outside presence among a swath of slot options. He’s competing with Smith, who offers special-teams value, and Ford-Wheaton, whom New York guaranteed $236,000 as an undrafted free agent.

Tight End

  • In: Darren Waller, Daniel Bellinger, Lawrence Cager, Tommy Sweeney
  • Out: Ryan Jones, Chris Myarick

Waller, whom the Giants acquired from the Raiders in exchange for a third-round pick, was New York’s most significant offseason addition. He’ll become the Giants’ primary receiving tight end while Bellinger handles the dirty work. Waller has been the star of New York’s training camp, with PFN Insider Adam Caplan reporting that the Giants can’t find anyone who can cover the veteran TE.

New York only kept three tight ends last season, but we’re projecting them to roster four in 2023. Cager is the better pass catcher who can spell Waller when needed. Sweeney is a blocking specialist who played under Daboll when both were in Buffalo from 2019-21.

Offensive Line

  • In: Andrew Thomas, Ben Bredeson, John Michael Schmitz, Mark Glowinski, Evan Neal, Joshua Ezeudu, Tyre Phillips, Marcus McKethan, Shane Lemieux
  • Out: Jack Anderson, Korey Cunningham, Wyatt Davis, Devery Hamilton, J.C. Hassenauer, Matt Peart

The Giants’ starting tackles are set, but the team is conducting an ongoing battle for their two interior line spots. It might take most of training camp and the preseason before New York sorts out who will play left guard and center following a four-way competition between Bredeson, Schmitz, Ezeudu, and Phillips — the latter of whom has surprisingly garnered time with the starters during recent practices.

With Hassenauer a candidate for IR after suffering a torn triceps, McKethan, Lemieux, Anderson, and Peart are likely competing for two roster slots. The Giants’ current regime selected McKethan in last year’s draft and liked what he brought to the table last summer before he suffered a torn ACL. Meanwhile, Lemieux can play both center and guard.

Defensive Line

  • In: Dexter Lawrence, Leonard Williams, A’Shawn Robinson, Rakeem Nunez-Roches, Jordon Riley
  • PUP: D.J. Davidson
  • Out: Ryder Anderson, Kevin Atkins, Brandin Bryant, Vernon Butler (IR), Kobe Smith

The Giants might keep six defensive linemen, but given how many snaps Lawrence and Williams can play, we’re rolling with five for now. The only question is whether Riley can beat out Davidson, who is recovering from an ACL injury. New York placed Davidson on the PUP list to begin to camp and could theoretically keep him there to begin the regular season.


  • In: Kayvon Thibodeaux, Azeez Ojulari, Jihad Ward, Oshane Ximines, Tomon Fox
  • Out: Habakkuk Baldonado, Tashawn Bower, Elerson Smith

New York hasn’t made any major changes to its pass-rushing corps and looks ready to bring back the same five edge defenders they deployed in 2022. Thibodeaux and Ojulari are the team’s clear-cut starters and will likely take all the work they can handle, while Ward remains a favorite of defensive coordinator Wink Martindale.

new york giants roster projections

The Giants may not be done here, as the EDGE market still has several worthwhile veterans available. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see New York add someone like Justin Houston or Kyle Van Noy to round out their pass-rushing depth chart before the season gets underway.


  • In: Bobby Okereke, Micah McFadden, Darrian Beavers, Cam Brown
  • Out: Troy Brown, Carter Coughlin, Dyontae Johnson, Jarrad Davis (IR)

Davis started for the Giants down the stretch and into the playoffs in 2022 and could have competed for a first-team role this year. However, after suffering a knee injury during OTAs, he’s placed on IR, and his season is already over.

With Davis sidelined, McFadden and Beavers — New York’s fifth and sixth-round picks in last year’s draft — have alternated starting reps alongside Okereke. That’s a battle that could take all of training camp to resolve, as is the special-teams ace/LB4 competition between Brown and Coughlin.


  • In: Adoree’ Jackson, Deonte Banks, Cor’Dale Flott, Tre Hawkins III, Amani Oruwariye
  • PUP: Aaron Robinson
  • Out: Darren Evans, Zyon Gilbert, Gemon Green, Darnay Holmes, Rodarius Williams

Jackson and Banks will start on the outside, while Flott should win the slot job over Holmes. In that case, Holmes could be a release candidate — his salary will jump to nearly $3 million in 2023 after he reached the NFL’s proven performance escalator, but none of that total is guaranteed.

Hawkins should make the team as a rookie sixth-rounder, while Oruwariye offers the sort of veteran experience (36 career starts) that the Giants are sorely lacking. Aside from Holmes, Robinson is probably the corner with the next-best odds of sneaking onto New York’s Week 1 roster. However, he’s still on the PUP list as he works his way back from a December ACL tear.


  • In: Xavier McKinney, Jason Pinnock, Bobby McCain, Dane Belton, Nick McCloud
  • Out: Alex Cook, Gervarrius Owens

One of the reasons the Giants might feel comfortable cutting Holmes is because they have a plethora of safeties who can also handle the slot. McCain played more than 400 slot snaps for the Commanders last season, while McCloud is a converted corner who can also take inside duties.

McKinney is a surefire starter, but any of the other four safeties projected to make New York’s roster could earn a starting role alongside him. Pinnock, McCain, and Belton are probably close to roster locks, but McCloud will have to fend off Owens, whom the Giants drafted in the seventh round in April.


  • In: Graham Gano (K), Jamie Gillan (P), Casey Kreiter (LS)
  • Out: Cameron Lyons (LS)

No drama here. The Giants won’t force Gano or Gillan to go through training camp battles, and Lyons is unlikely to beat out Kreiter for New York’s long-snapper job.

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