There are three New York Giants who find themselves on the bubble heading into training camp despite previously having prominent roles.
Training camp is an exciting time for players and fans, as teams come together in preparation for the upcoming season. For players, it can also be an unsettling time over the uncertainty of where they stand with their current team.
Across the league, there are probably 20-25 players on each team who are locks to make their respective rosters.
This offseason, New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman upgraded the roster through free agency, the draft, and the trade market. As a result, there are a few Giants players who were once thought to have prominent futures, however, now find themselves on the bubble heading into training camp.
Wayne Gallman had an efficient rookie season in 2017, appearing in 13 games and carrying the ball 111 times for 476 yards. The former Clemson Tiger also caught 34 balls for 193 yards and a touchdown.
There was a brief thought that when the Giants didn’t re-sign their leading rusher from 2017—Orleans Darkwa—that Gallman could be the starter in 2018. But all of that changed when the Giants took Saquon Barkley with the No. 2 pick in the draft. In 2018, Gallman saw his yards per carry drop from 4.3 to 3.5. He carried the ball only 51 times as well.
The Giants signed former Cowboys running back Rod Smith in the offseason to create more competition to be Barkley’s primary backup. Gallman will now have to beat out Smith, Paul Perkins, and Elijhaa Penny to be second-string on the depth chart. If he can’t win the backup job, he may not be in the Giants plans for 2019.
When the Giants drafted Kyle Lauletta in the fourth round of the 2018 draft (No. 108 overall), the belief was one day he would get the chance to be Eli Manning’s successor. His chance to succeed Manning were enhanced when the Giants cut Davis Webb shortly after the Giants’ final preseason game in 2018.
Despite the Giants 1-7 start, Lauletta remained inactive on game days while Alex Tanney was the backup to Manning. Then, on Oct. 30, Lauletta was arrested and charged with eluding police, resisting arrest, and obstructing administration of law. This came in addition to other motor vehicle charges such as reckless driving and disregarding an officer’s directions in Weehawken, New Jersey.
He would finally make his NFL debut in a mop-up role in the Giants’ 40-16 beat down of the Washington Redskins in Week 14. Lauletta, however, wouldn’t make the most of his opportunity, as he went 0-for-5 with an interception. That was the lone time that he saw the field.
Now it’s clear who Manning’s successor is, as Big Blue selected Daniel Jones with the No. 6 overall pick. The Giants may decide to keep three quarterbacks on the roster, but after the immaturity Lauletta showed last season, Pat Shurmur may elect to keep the 31-year-old Tanney to help mentor Jones on the sidelines.
Nate Stupar has managed to find his way on NFL rosters since being selected in the seventh round of the 2012 draft by the Oakland Raiders (No. 230 overall). Last season, his first with Big Blue, he racked up 14 tackles while playing on both special teams and in a backup linebacker role.
However, in the fifth round of the 2019 NFL Draft, the Giants took Wisconsin inside linebacker Ryan Connelly in the fifth round (No. 143 overall). Connelly seems poised to play the role that Stupar occupied last season.
Connelly is eight years younger than the 31-year-old Stupar and is better in pass coverage. Therefore, if Stupar is going to remain a Giant in 2019, he’ll have to shine in both training camp and the preseason.