Leading up to the first week of the preseason, the New York Giants have officially released their first unofficial depth chart. Let's analyze where these players stand right now!
* - rookie #- PUP (physically unable to perform) bold- starter
1st string- Daniel Jones 2nd string- Mike Glennon 3rd string- Clayton Thorson
There really should be no controversy or movement at this position. Daniel Jones is the rightful starter of this team. Now, we may see Mike Glennon step in mid-way through the season if Jones hasn't made the necessary improvements to his game.
1st string- Saquon Barkley 2nd string- Devontae Booker 3rd string- Corey Clement
(Alfred Morris, Gary Brightwell*, Sandro Platzgummer)
The running back position is often one that utilizes all levels of the depth chart, and except for one or two guys, it's easy for the final roster spot at this position to see constant change throughout the season. With Barkley coming off a huge injury, the Giants, have put one of the most consistently healthy guys in Devontae Booker behind him.
I believe a battle at this third-string spot will emerge between Corey Clement and Alred Morris. Clement was instrumental in Philly's win against New England in the Super Bowl. He is another guy who hasn't had too many injuries, and he has experience returning on special teams, which will help his chances of earning a roster spot.
Alfred Morris, the 32-year-old veteran, had solid runs with Washington and Arizona but has been a journeyman for most of his career. He knows Joe Judge from his time on and off the practice squad and active roster last season. Morris and Clement are the two main guys I'd look to take this third-string roster spot. I wouldn't even be surprised if Clement takes the second-string position.
1st string- Eli Penny 2nd string- Cullen Gillaspia
There is very little debate about this position. Eli Penny is one of the most consistent players on this team and only broke his 44-game streak due to a non-COVID-related illness at the end of last season.
1st string- Kenny Golladay 2nd string- Darius Slayton 3rd string- David Sills V
(C.J. Board, Austin Mack, Damion Willis)
1st string- Sterling Shepard 2nd string- John Ross 3rd string- Kadarius Toney*
(Dante Pettis, Alex Bachman, Matt Cole)
Kenny Golladay and Sterling Shepard have solidified themselves as the rightful starters for week one. Darius Slayton is a solid number two, or three, and will stay exactly where he is.
Here's a major shift I'd watch out for. The Giants' first-round pick Kadarius Toney may take John Ross's spot as second-string. Ross, the speedy veteran, hasn't lived up to his high expectations and the Giants are going to want to give their first-rounder more playing time. However, John Ross should have no problem making this 53-man roster, especially with his ability on special teams.
With Slayton staying where he is, the fight for a possible roster spot will happen between C.J. Board, and David Sills, who both spent time on and off the practice squad last season. It will most likely come down to who Daniel Jones has more connection with, considering their physical attributes don't offer the Giants anything they don't already have.
1st string- Evan Engram 2nd string- Cole Hikutini 3rd string- Rysen John
1st string- Kaden Smith 2nd string- Nakia Griffin-Stewart 3rd string- Jake Hausman*
Tight Ends for the Giants are one of the positions they shouldn't give too much thought to. Pro-Bowler Evan Engram is a clear starter, and when healthy, veteran Kyle Rudolph will be as well. Usually, there is room for about 3, maybe 4 tight ends on the 53-man roster. Assuming the Giants will stick to 3, my bet is Kaden Smith, who was also a part of this roster for the 2020 season.
Rudolph will most likely be available for week 1. He had foot surgery over the offseason but was seen limiting his practice during minicamp. Foot injuries are tricky because if not healed all the way they continue to come back, and usually worse, so it's not surprising the Giants don't want to rush him back into practice.
On the off-chance that Rudolph isn't healthy for week 1, I think Nakia Griffin-Stewart is next up. He spent time with Joe Judge and Daniel Jones on the practice squad for some of last season. Regardless of who ends up getting that spot, they most likely won't see the field too often with the assortment of weapons the Giants now have.
RT: 1st string- Matt Peart 2nd string- Nate Solder
RG: 1st string- Will Hernandez 2nd string- Chad Slade 3rd string- Jake Burton*
C: 1st string- Nick Gates 2nd string- Jonotthan Harrison 3rd string- Brett Heggie*
LG: 1st string- Shane Lemieux 2nd string- Kenny Wiggins 3rd string- Kyle Murphy
LT: 1st string- Andrew Thomas 2nd string- Nate Solder 3rd string- Jackson Barton
Okay so this offensive line, for the most part, has its starters sorted out. A theme the Giants are beginning to see with this line is the rise of a younger generation. Center, Nick Gates, who started all 16 games last season, is the clear-cut starter as well as the Giants' 2nd round pick of 2018, Will Hernandez. You can also bet on Giants' 2020 1st round pick, Andrew Thomas, to stay as the starter at left tackle.
At right tackle, my bet would be for Matt Peart to stay as the starter. Solder reportedly walked off the field on Tuesday with a shoulder injury, but has since been seen at practice, so it's something to keep an eye on but not too big of an issue. Shane Lemieux, who recently returned to practice after a knee injury at the end of July, is a potential second-year breakout player. There should be zero question that he is the starter, and veteran Kenny Wiggins gives the Giants a reliable backup if Lemieux goes down again.
The offensive line is thinning, however. With Nate Solder possibly down, technically two backup spots vacated, and no depth at right tackle, the offensive line is in dire need of good health, as well as sufficient backups all along the line.
DE: 1st string- Dexter Lawrence 2nd string- B.J. Hill 3rd string- David Moa 4th sting- RJ McIntosh
Dexter Lawrence, the clear-cut starter, will stay there, so the battle comes down to who his direct backup will be. Hill played in all 16 games last season for the third consecutive season. McIntosh was inactive for all of last season, and Moa has been a journeyman through practice squads around the league, including the Giants' last season. I'd expect to see Moa take that third-string spot just because he has played more recently, but Hill and Lawrence are strong, so the likelihood the Giants will need Moa or McIntosh is small.
NT: 1st string- Austin Johnson 2nd string- Danny Shelton
Johnson has proved to be durable, playing in all 16 games last season, and he also did not miss a single game in the 4 previous seasons he played (2016-2019). Shelton provides good backup material as he's started 72 games over the course of 6 years, and contributed to New England's Super Bowl win v. the Rams in 2019.
DT: 1st string- Leonard Williams 2nd string- Raymond Johnson III*
After being franchise-tagged, Leonard Williams, who then reached a deal earlier this offseason, was a top 10 defensive tackle this past year. Raymond Johnson III, the undrafted rookie signed in May, will have a chance to learn under one of the game's finest. The Giants are putting great stock in Williams' health. If Williams does go down during the season, and Raymond Johnson isn't ready, Austin Johnson and B.J. Hill have experience in the tackle position. There is great flexibility, unlike the offensive line, along this defensive line.
SLB: 1st string- Lorenzo Carter 2nd string- Trent Harris 3rd string- Ifeadi Odenigbo 4th string- Cam Brown
Cam Brown played 15 games last season, the majority on special teams, and as he continues to not develop the way the Giants want, it's safe to assume he will either lose his spot or continue his role on special teams. Odenigbo may add some depth to the Giants as he has quality experience at the defensive line. I wouldn't be surprised if Odenigbo moved up this depth chart because he is switching from defensive end to strongside linebacker, and may need more time to adjust. Trent Harris, who was originally signed by the Patriots in 2018, started just 4 games for the Giants last season. Harris and Odenigbo will be the two fighting for that second string, and most likely they will see the field quite often, as a possible relief for Carter.
MLB: 1st string- Blake Martinez 2nd string- Reggie Ragland 3rd string- Carter Coughlin 4th string- Cale Garrett
There is absolutely zero question that Blake Martinez, arguably the strongest member of this defense, is the starter. The battle is now for his backup position. Cale Garret, who roamed between the Vikings and the Titans last season until being signed by the Giants, shows little promise of advancing past this 4th string. I could see his role staying on the practice squad. Ragland won the Super Bowl with Kansas City in 2020. Last season he played in all 16 games with Detroit with 51 tackles. His biggest competition is Carter Coughlin, who was a 7th round draft pick in 2020. He played in 14 games for the Giants last season and stared strongside linebacker vs. the Browns. Choosing between those two will be a decision made later in the preseason after we've seen them in multiple games.
WIL: 1st string- Tae Crowder 2nd string- Devante Downs 3rd string- TJ Brunson 4th string- Ryan Anderson
Relative to the other linebacker positions, this starting job is up for grabs. The current starter, Tae Crowder, was the last pick of the 2020 draft, or also known as 'Mr. Irrelevant'. Crowder played in 11 games last season, including one v. Washington where he scored in the final minutes, inevitably winning the game for New York. Downs is in his second year with the Giants and played in all 16 games last season. He saw the majority of his snaps coming on special teams. Crowder has the experience snaps-wise, but Downs looks to develop into a more mature version of himself from last season. I bet that Crowder starts.
OLB: 1st string- Oshane Ximines 2nd string- Azeez Ojulari* 3rd string- Nikos Lalos 4th string- Elerson Smith*
This is another position that I believe doesn't have a clear-cut starter. Giants' 2nd round pick, Azeez Ojulari, has been taking reps with the 1's during practice this week. The rookie brought high hopes to the Giants universe as a possible powerful defensive force. Ximines suffered a shoulder injury early last season vs. the Rams and missed out on the rest of the season. I strongly believe we will see Ojulari take the starting position in week 1 vs. the Broncos. He just needs a little more development throughout training camp, but Joe Judge is very high on the youngster.
LCB: 1st string- James Bradberry 2nd string- Isaac Yiadom 3rd string- Madre Harper 4th string- Sam Beal
Pro Bowler, James Bradberry, is leading this squad into dominance this season. Isaac Yiadom will most likely keep his standing as second string. In his first season with the Giants, last season, he played in all 16 games, 10 of which he started. Madre Harper has been on and off the Raiders' practice squad over the last year, and Beal has had injuries throughout last season. He missed some time due to a hamstring injury, and then, later on, suffered from a shoulder injury that knocked him out for a couple of weeks. With this deep of a DB room, especially cornerbacks, I would expect Harper and Beal to go to the practice squad.
RCB: 1st string- Adoree' Jackson 2nd string- Darnay Holmes 3rd string- Rodarius Williams* 4th string- Jarren Williams
The Giants invested $39 million into Jackson this offseason, so the veteran will be starting. Darnay Holmes, Giants' 2020 4th round pick, played in 12 games last season while recovering from a neck injury. Rodarius Williams will create heavy competition for Holmes. Reports from training camp show the rookie looking quite promising. Williams, unlike Holmes, has proven to be durable with setting a record at Oklahoma State with 48 consecutive starts.
SS: 1st string- Jabrill Peppers 2nd string- Julian Love 3rd string- Quincy Wilson 4th string- Montre Hartage
Jabrill Peppers and Julian Love have just about solidified their spots on this team. Peppers, the seasoned veteran, and Love, who played all 16 games last season and tallied 61 tackles (4th on the team). Wilson, the 5th year veteran, has had 61 tackles throughout his career. Hartage and Johnson are likely to make the practice squad if they can even reach that point without being waived. This DB room is just insanely deep, and the competition is tougher than most in the league.
FS: 1st string- Logan Ryan 2nd string- Xavier McKinney 3rd string- Joshua Kalu 4th string- Chris Milton, Jordyn Peters*
Logan Ryan is the clear-cut starter, and McKinney is the definite number two. He missed the beginnings of last season on injured reserve after undergoing foot surgery, but before his injury, he was regarded as the best safety in the draft. The Giants scooped him up in the 2nd round. With two spots full there may be only one more spot available at this position. Kalu has been on and off waivers for the Titans for the past 3 years. Milton has been transferring through the Titan's and Colt's practice quads for the past couple of years as well. The rookie Peters was signed and then waived by the Jets earlier this year. The likelihood any of the last 3 guys will see the field often is slim, especially with the strength of McKinney and Ryan.
LS: 1st string- Casey Kreiter 2nd string- Carson Tinker
H: 1st string: Riley Dixon 2nd string- Ryan Santoso
P: Riley Dixon
PR: 1st string- Jabrill Peppers 2nd string- Adoree' Jackson 3rd string- Kadarius Toney* 4th string- Dante Pettis
KOR: 1st string- John Ross 2nd string- Jabrill Peppers 3rd string- Kadarius Toney* 4th string- Dante Pettis
K: 1st string- Graham Gano 2nd string- Ryan Santoso
A quick note about Ryan Santoso, who was hitting balls consistently from 50 yards out during practice. Even if he doesn't make the team because of Gano's excellence, the Giants will want to keep him around to secure depth to this kicking game.