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Who will make NY Giants roster? Here's our final 53-man projection

EAST RUTHERFORD — The Giants have improved their roster from last season, when they won nine games and picked up their first playoff victory since Super Bowl XLVI.

The cream at the top of the depth chart is sweeter, for sure. There are fewer questions and more optimism, more talent in key spots.

But don't think for a moment that Giants brass are harboring delusions of grandeur. There are positions where depth is needed, which means nothing is truly settled. Options will be explored.

"There’s work to be done here,’’ coach Brian Daboll said after Saturday's 32-24 loss to the Jets in the preseason finale at MetLife Stadium. “[General manager] Joe [Schoen] and I, the coaches and the scouts will meet and we’ll talk about the things we need to talk about."

Here's our final roster projection, knowing there is some wiggle room in terms of placing players on short-term injured reserve later this week and the possibility that veterans not subject to waivers can be released with the promise of re-signing when the numbers' game plays itself out.

Quarterbacks: 2

Who makes it: Daniel Jones, Tyrod Taylor

Practice squad: Tommy DeVito

Out: N/A

Breakdown: This position appears as settled as any on the roster. Jones is coming off a strong preseason, and Taylor is comfortable in this offense. The pairing should have the Giants feeling good about where they are heading into the 2023 campaign. DeVito's development is noticeable since the spring, and he's more than just a good "North Jersey legend" story. It's unlikely that any team would claim DeVito if he is waived — putting him on their 53 — and there's no reason to believe he won't be back on the practice squad.

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26) and wide receiver Sterling Shepard (3) talk during training camp in East Rutherford on Monday, July 31, 2023.
New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26) and wide receiver Sterling Shepard (3) talk during training camp in East Rutherford on Monday, July 31, 2023.

Running backs: 3

Who makes it: Saquon Barkley, Matt Breida, Eric Gray

Out: Jashaun Corbin, Gary Brightwell, James Robinson

Breakdown: We haven't seen Barkley in game action this entire preseason, so it'll be fun for the Giants to unveil what they have planned in Year 2 of this offense. The running game in its entirety was somewhat of a non-entity this summer, by design and necessity, given the limitations of practice. Breida's game complements Barkley, especially when the two are on the field together. Gray has had flashes, but mostly as a receiver. The rookie will likely get the chance to be the returner. Corbin has looked good, but his spot on the 53 rests solely on his special teams presence. That might not be enough, with numbers needed at other positions.

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New York Giants wide receiver Wan'Dale Robinson (17) scores a touchdown against the Baltimore Ravens in the first half at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022.
New York Giants wide receiver Wan'Dale Robinson (17) scores a touchdown against the Baltimore Ravens in the first half at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022.

Wide receiver: 7

Who makes it: Darius Slayton, Isaiah Hodgins, Parris Campbell, Jalin Hyatt, Sterling Shepard, Cole Beasley, Wan’Dale Robinson

Practice squad: Collin Johnson, Jamison Crowder, Bryce Ford-Wheaton

Out: David Sills V, Jaydon Mickens, Kalil Pimpleton

Breakdown: I've stayed consistent at this position and believe there is a place for Shepard and Beasley here. It's hard to imagine the Giants having Shepard manage his ACL recovery this summer the way they did, only to cut him. Could Beasley wind up on the practice squad? As a veteran, he's not subject to waivers, so that's certainly something they could work out. It would be a big surprise if Robinson is not removed from the PUP list and activated by Tuesday's deadline. Ford-Wheaton was making a push, especially with his work on special teams, but a knee injury suffered Saturday night complicates things. Johnson would seem to have more value internally within the fan base than outside the team coming off an Achilles injury, so he should make it back. If the Giants could trade a receiver for another piece at a different position, that could happen as well.

Tight ends: 3

Who makes it: Darren Waller, Daniel Bellinger, Lawrence Cager

Practice squad: Tommy Sweeney

Out: Chris Myarick, Ryan Jones

Breakdown: The Giants could wind up looking at the waiver wire here to find a backup in the mold of what Bellinger brings to the table as a blocker. Sweeney's recovery from a medical event suffered last week clouds his immediate future and availability, although he said he was "doing good, feeling good" Saturday night. Myarick's hand injury suffered against the Jets puts his spot in question, too.

Offensive line: 10

Who makes it: Andrew Thomas, Ben Bredeson, John Michael Schmitz, Mark Glowinski, Evan Neal, Joshua Ezeudu, Matt Peart, Tyre Phillips, Marcus McKethan, Shane Lemieux

Practice squad: Jack Anderson, Korey Cunningham, Julien Davenport

Out: Sean Harlow, Wyatt Davis

Breakdown: The Giants' starting group is set, and it'll be interesting to see how a settled line performs. The guard who loses out on a starting role (Bredeson, Ezeudu, Glowinski) will be next man up. The biggest question is at swing tackle. Peart has had considerable ups and downs. Phillips could be an option to back up at right tackle and serve as jumbo TE. McKethan is still developing. You can't let serviceable linemen go in this NFL climate, and Lemieux can give you what you need at guard in a pinch. It would not be a surprise if the Giants look to the waiver wire to find an upgrade at tackle if they can.

Defensive line: 5

Who makes it: Dexter Lawrence, Leonard Williams, A'Shawn Robinson, Jordon Riley, Rakeem Nunez-Roches

Practice squad: D.J. Davidson, Ryder Anderson

Out: Kevin Atkins, Brandin Bryant, Donovan Jeter, Kobe Smith

Breakdown: That's a strong group at the top of the depth chart. Riley's emergence has put Davidson, who recently came off PUP in his ACL recovery, and Anderson, who is dealing with an arm injury, on the bubble. A sleeper for the PS is Smith. Could see Anderson on the initial 53, then moved to short-term IR.

Outside linebackers: 5

Who makes it: Kayvon Thibodeaux, Azeez Ojulari, Jihad Ward, Oshane Ximines, Tomon Fox

Practice squad: Haba Baldonado

Out: Tashawn Bower

Breakdown: Neither Ximines nor Fox distinguished himself in the second half of the preseason finale against the Jets' backups, so we could absolutely see the Giants add someone for depth purposes depending on fit. Fox is younger with more upside, which puts Ximines on the bubble.

East Rutherford, NJ August 26, 2023 -- New Giants linebacker Isaiah Simmons during warm ups. The NY Jets against the NY Giants on August 26, 2023 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ, as the rivals play their final preseason game before the start of the NFL season.
East Rutherford, NJ August 26, 2023 -- New Giants linebacker Isaiah Simmons during warm ups. The NY Jets against the NY Giants on August 26, 2023 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ, as the rivals play their final preseason game before the start of the NFL season.

Inside linebackers: 5

Who makes it: Bobby Okereke, Isaiah Simmons, Micah McFadden, Darrian Beavers, Carter Coughlin

Practice squad: Dyontae Johnson

Out: Cam Brown, Ray Wilborn

Breakdown: Brown has been out for weeks with an undisclosed injury, so we'll see if he lands on IR. Coughlin played well on defense in reserve Saturday night and has special teams value.

Cornerbacks: 5

Who makes it: Adoree’ Jackson, Deonte Banks, Tre Hawkins III, Cor’Dale Flott, Darnay Holmes

Practice squad: Amani Oruwariye

PUP: Aaron Robinson

Out: Darren Evans, Zyon Gilbert, Gemon Green

Breakdown: Would not be a shock to see the Giants add someone here. They worked out veteran William Jackson last week. Oruwariye has been up and down but would seem to have the most value if they decide to keep six. Green and Gilbert left with injuries Saturday. Holmes has a cap hit of over $2 million clouding his status, and he was playing in the third quarter Saturday night, usually a sign of players being squarely on the bubble. He may have to take a pay cut to stay, or could be a trade chip for a depth player the Giants don't believe will get to them on waivers.

New York Giants safety Dane Belton (24) runs a drill during an NFL football practice in Allen Park, Mich., Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2023. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
New York Giants safety Dane Belton (24) runs a drill during an NFL football practice in Allen Park, Mich., Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2023. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Safeties: 5

Who makes it: Xavier McKinney, Jason Pinnock, Dane Belton, Nick McCloud, Gervarrius Owens

Practice squad: Alex Cook

Out: Bobby McCain

Breakdown: McCain suffered a concussion on an illegal blindside block by Randall Cobb on Saturday night, so his status is uncertain. Cook has had an active preseason, and that should be enough to come back as a developmental prospect on the PS. Owens left Saturday's game late with a tweaked hamstring, so it's unclear if that'll hurt his chances.

Specialists: 3

Who makes it: K Graham Gano, LS Casey Kreiter, P Jamie Gillan

Practice squad: None

Out: LS Cameron Lyons

Breakdown: Gillan's inconsistency will hang over his status for the foreseeable future. It would not be a surprised if the Giants try to find another developmental punter to have on the practice squad. Could the Giants cut Kreiter to use the roster spot at another position, or to give them flexibility to move a player to short-term IR, only to re-sign their veteran long snapper later in the week? That level of roster gymnastics is certainly possible.

This article originally appeared on NorthJersey.com: NY Giants roster: Who's in, who's out in our final 2023 projection