Which newly-released players could catch the Giants’ eye?
The 4 p.m. deadline for the New York Giants, and the rest of the NFL, to trim their rosters to 53 players has come and gone.
But that doesn’t mean that the roster shuffling is over with and this 53-man roster is the one with which the Giants will take the field against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Well over 1,000 players have just lost their roster spots, and at least some of them could be improvements at certain spots for the Giants’ depth chart.
Between the waiver wire and veteran free agents, here are 10 players who might interest the Giants. The Giants shouldn’t be looking for starters among the rest of the league’s castoffs, but they might find useful depth or players to develop who were forced off the roster due to the numbers game.
Jonathan Cooper (OG) - Cooper has been on five teams since being Drafted seventh overall in 2013. He has never capitalized on the athleticism that got him drafted so highly, but teams keep giving him chances. He is coming off an injury but could be an upgrade to the Giants’ interior offensive line depth.
Austin Howard (OT) - Howard was a solid right tackle for the Baltimore Ravens. However, the 31-year-old, 6-foot-7, 330-pound tackle seemed to regress badly after being signed by the Indianapolis Colts. However, the Giants wouldn’t need him to be a starter, just a better back-up option than Chad Wheeler.
Dorian Johnson (OG) - Johnson was considered one of the top offensive line prospects to come out in 2017, but fell to the 4th round after being diagnosed with a liver condition. He struggled in his rookie training camp and was released by the Arizona Cardinals. Johnson was praised in college for his easy movement in pass protection and run blocking, as well as his power. He could be intriguing developmental depth.
Kevin Minter (ILB) - Minter was drafted by the Arizon Cardinals in the second round of the 2013 draft. He spent the first four years of his career with the Cardinals, having his best years with new Giants defensive coordinator James Bettcher.
Scooby Wright III (ILB) - Another familiar face for Bettcher, Wright was signed off the Cleveland Browns’ practice squad in December of 2016. Wright isn’t an athletic linebacker, but he is incredibly instinctive and plays with a great competitive fire. He was also insanely productive at Arizona, notching 164 tackles, 31.5 tackles for a loss, and 15 sacks in his 2014 season (only played three games in 2015).
Tony Lippett - Well known to Giants’ DB coach Lou Anarumo, Lippett is a 6-2 former wide receiver. He is returning from a torn Achilles, but he has impressive measurables and upside.
Quenton Meeks - A surprise cut from the Jacksonville Jaguars who signed him as an undrafted free agent this off-season, Meeks is a well put together corner at 6-1, 210 pounds with easy hips and quick feet. Meeks is also the son of a long-time NFL coach and has a reputation as a smart player with a strong work ethic in the film room.
Cre’von LeBlanc - Another undersized slot corner, LeBlanc isn’t a great athlete, but he has quick feet, and excellent footwork to match receivers in short areas — not to mention an aggressive play style.
Dan Bailey - Bailey might have been THE surprise cut of 2018. Bailey has been one of the best kickers in the NFL since his second season. Bailey had a down 2017 season, making just 75 percent of his field goal attempts (none blocked), but before that he routinely completed more than 90 percent of his attempts. The Giants could believe that the odds are better that he will improve than will Aldrick Rosas.
Daeshon Hall (DL/EDGE) - Dave Gettleman drafted Hall for the Panthers in the third round of the 2017 draft. Hall has a powerful lower body, long (35-inch) arms, and the frame to either fill a role similar to Kareem Martin or Romeo Okwara as an outside linebacker on base downs who plays on the defensive line in nickel situations. He could add muscle and play the 5-technique.
These players might not be on the Giants’ radar, but they could be fun additions.
Doran Grant - Drafted out of Ohio State in 2015, Grant is a former All Big 10 selection, Grant is short at 5-10, but is still a stout 200 pounds. He is experienced in press coverage and has the quickness to play in the slot.
Braxton Miller (WR) - Miller is a converted quarterback, who is still learning the wide receiver craft, but he is an incredible athlete who is dangerous with the ball in his hand. The Giants might want to try and develop a talent capable of plays like this:
Dimitri Flowers (H-back) - This is a personal desire. Flowers wasn’t one of the best players in the 2018 NFL Draft, but the fullback/h-back from Oklahoma was one of my favorite players to watch on tape. He was also a favorite target for Baker Mayfield. It isn’t often you find a player capable of lead blocking or catching a pass and picking up a chunk gain from the backfield or slot. The Giants want to use alignments to isolate defenders and force mismatches, and a player with Flowers’ skill set could be a weapon for them.
Who would you like to see the Giants sign or claim off waivers?