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Coaches Corner: Final 53-man roster on Defense and Special Teams.

By Michael Stewart/@TheTruthNYG

This will be part 2 of a two part series of the New York Giants 53-man roster on the defensive side of the ball and special teams. Like the offensive side, there were tough decisions for me as there were a few positions that were very competitive and up for grabs. Also, the latest injuries in the final pre-season game against the Jets could alter the final cuts on Tuesday. With that in mind I see the Giants having 25 players represent the defensive side of the ball with some surprises with injuries playing a major factor and 3 special team players. So let’s get right to it and here are my final picks of which players make the 53-man roster.

Defense (25)

Defensive Line (5): Leonard Williams/Dexter Lawrence/Justin Ellis/Nick Williams/DJ Davidson: I project the Giants will once again go with five defensive linemen as Nick Williams and Ryder Anderson will battle it out for the 5th and final spot. At this point, I think Williams edges out Anderson who could end up on the practice squad.

Inside Linebackers (4): Blake Martinez/Micah McFadden/Cam Brown/Austin Caliltro: I see the Giants going with four ILB for 2022 with Austin Caliltro edging out Tae Crowder after his performance against the Jets. The season ending injury (ACL) to Darrian Beavers opened the door for Caliltro . Brown is the Giants best gunner on special teams and that will be enough to earn a roster spot.

Outside Linebackers (6)Azeez Ojulari/Quincy Roche/Elerson Smith/Kayvon Thibodeaux/Jihad Ward/Oshane Ximines: I’m still on the bubble with Oshane Ximines making the final roster as he really hasn’t established himself in any of the three pre-season games, UDFA signee Tomon Fox has shown better pass rushing ability and has been more active than Ximimes, so that might be enough to take that spot away from him. If not, Fox goes to the practice squad to start the season.

Cornerbacks (6): Adoree Jackson/Aaron Robinson/Darney Holmes/Rodarius Williams/Harrison Hand/Cordelle Flott: Once James Bradberry was released, this position holds the most concerns on the defensive side for me and we could still see GM Joe Schoen explore the waiver wire before opening day? If Rodarius Williams is unavailable for opening day, look for Darren Evans to be added to the roster.

Safeties (4): Xavier McKinney/Julian Love/Trent Thompson/Yusuf Corker:  Andrew Adams was released last week; which came as a surprise as Adams has had a solid camp. Reports have stated that GM Joe Schoen likes both Trent Thompson and Yusuf Corker and would rather go younger at the safety position. Once Dane Belton returns from the IR, GM Joe Schoen and HC Brian Daboll would need to make a decision on the safety position as I don’t see the Giants keeping five on the active roster.

Special Teams (3)                                                   

Punter (1): Jamie Gillan: Currently the only punter on the current, but that should change once training camp begins.

Kicker (1): Graham Gano: Gano concussion incident should be fine by opening day, Gano will be the kicker for the Giants this season.

Long Snapper (1): Casey Kreiter: Kreiter is secured a roster spot as the only long Snapper on the roster, for now.

The NFL will once again allow all NFL teams to add two players per game from the practice squad to be available for each game, making the game day roster go from 53 to 55. GM Joe Schoen will be very busy after the final cuts to solidify the roster from a list of over 800 players who will be cut on Tuesday. Don’t expect to see the Giants break the bank on any available player as their cap space is hovering around $5M.