The New York Giants have a limited number of undrafted rookies. Which ones will ultimately step up en route to a final roster spot?
This past weekend, a number of different undrafted rookies’ New York Giants tenures ended before they even really commenced. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic that’s forcing numerous alterations onto the National Football League, the Giants decided to shrink their roster down to 80 guys, a move they needed to make on or before Aug. 16.
Now, 14 undrafted rookies remain, all of whom carry unique talents and possess unique stories of how they arrived in East Rutherford. One thing does remain the same though: each will need to heavily impress the coaching staff in this weird and unusual period prior to the regular season in order to earn a spot on the final roster.
And of these undrafted rookies, which will successfully complete the crucial and difficult task of making the team?
Disclaimer: “cut” doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t sign a deal to join the practice squad.
CB Jarren Williams (Albany) – Cut
The Giants recently signed defensive back Jarren Williams, who proved to be a physical corner with the University of Albany (46 combined tackles in 12 games last year).
He’s definitely talented, and Big Blue has a weird situation in the defensive backfield with DeAndre Baker‘s current status. Nonetheless, this all shouldn’t directly lead to Williams making the team, as the young player would need to cover a significant amount of ground from now until September.
WR Binjimen Victor (Ohio State) – Makes team
The Giants absolutely need a tall receiver for Daniel Jones to utilize — it’s a type of player the organization passed on during April’s draft.
At 6-foot-4, Binjimen Victor is currently the tallest receiver on the roster. If he’s able to prove he could become an extra weapon when the offense is knocking at the doorstep of the end zone, he could have a real shot at making the final roster.
LB Dominique Ross (North Carolina) – Cut
Depth is important at any position in the game of football, and linebacker Dominique Ross could certainly bring that to this ballclub as a coverage specialist. The Giants already possess a decent enough foundation at that position though, both in the slated starting lineup as well as in the reserves segment of the depth chart.
OL Kyle Murphy (Rhode Island) – Cut
Former Rhode Island Ram Kyle Murphy definitely carries versatility on the offensive line, considering he started 21 games at left tackle, five at right tackle, nine at left guard, and one at the center position while in college.
But out of the two undrafted rookie offensive linemen, the Giants would likely take the one we’ll discuss soon over Murphy. Nonetheless, look for the organization to possibly add Murphy to the practice squad.
TE Kyle Markway (South Carolina) – Cut
Kyle Markway put up decent numbers during his 2019 campaign with the South Carolina Gamecocks, having caught 31 balls for 349 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The Giants simply employ too many tight ends on the roster though. Look for the team to proceed into the regular season with Evan Engram, Kaden Smith, and potentially Levine Toilolo and Eric Tomlinson. Big Blue signed the latter two individuals this offseason.
WR Austin Mack (Ohio State) – Cut
The receiver room isn’t exactly the strongest unit within this organization, but I can’t see the Giants keeping more than one wideout from this undrafted rookie group on the roster. Thus, considering I already have them giving Victor a final roster spot, I’m going to guess they’ll ultimately say no to Austin Mack.
RB Javon Leake (Maryland) – Makes team
Not only do I think Javon Leake has a chance to make the roster, but I also believe he could earn significant playing time on special teams.
Leake was a fantastic return specialist for Maryland, having won the 2019 Rodgers-Dwight Return Specialist of the Year Award for the top guy at that position in the Big Ten Conference. He additionally earned first-team All-Big Ten honors for his efforts in that very role.
His talents aren’t limited to that area of the field though. Leake led the Terrapins with 736 rushing yards last year and additionally topped the squad with a 7.2 yards-per-carry rate (minimum 40 carries).
He can succeed in multiple areas and should absolutely be given a roster spot for the (hopeful) 16-game slate.
DB Jaquarius Landrews (Mississippi State) – Cut
The Giants might not need to bring in a defensive back even with Baker now on the commissioner’s exempt list, and if they did, they’d be better off seeking someone in free agency.
Jaquarius Landrews is a solid player who proved to be physical at the collegiate level (77 total tackles in 13 games last year). But the defensive backfield is too young for the Giants to want to keep another rookie to go along with the trio they drafted in April — Xavier McKinney, Darnay Holmes, and Chris Williamson.
DE Niko Lalos (Dartmouth) – Cut
The Giants already possess a decent enough foundation of edge rushers who they could use in a committee-based approach. Markus Golden and Lorenzo Carter will likely lead the way with Oshane Ximines, Kyler Fackrell, and Carter Coughlin taking over the reserve spots.
And if this Joe Judge-led coaching staff will need to make a decision between Coughlin and Niko Lalos, expect them to go with the former. The ex-Minnesota Golden Gopher is an athletic specimen who greatly impressed in college, having twice earned second-team All-Big Ten honors.
TE Rysen John (Simon Fraser University in Canada) – Cut
I truly can’t see the Giants giving Rysen John a final roster spot considering his inexperience competing against quality talent, but there’s a chance he ends up a practice squad addition. At 6-foot-7, he could work towards becoming that weapon Jones needs near the goal line (just like Victor).
OT Tyler Haycraft (Louisville) – Makes team
All of a sudden, the Giants have a bit of an issue at the offensive tackle position. With left tackle Nate Solder opting out of the 2020 season, first-round pick Andrew Thomas may start on the quarterback’s blindside, which would leave the starting right tackle role wide open.
Matt Peart, Nick Gates, and Cam Fleming will all compete to start, but considering how crucial the offensive line is to Jones’ development, it’s imperative that depth be employed. Thus, enter Tyler Haycraft, a guy who portrayed his talents for Louisville as a teammate of New York Jets rookie tackle Mekhi Becton.
WR Derrick Dillon (LSU) – Cut
It’s the same situation as with Mack: the Giants may not want to keep more than one receiver from this undrafted rookie group on the final roster. Victor would be the guy to retain, which is unfortunate for former LSU Tiger Derrick Dillon.
WR Tony Brown (Colorado) – Cut
The Giants recently claimed undrafted rookie Tony Brown off waivers from the Cleveland Browns. For Colorado last year, he racked up an impressive 56 receptions for 707 yards and five scores through a dozen contests. But, as with every receiver on this list not named “Binjimen Victor,” Brown isn’t likely to make the final roster.
DB Christian Angulo (Hampton) – Cut
Christian Angulo will compete during the training camp period, but there are just too many guys on the roster who are more skillful and have competed against more noteworthy talent. Even with the recent issues involving this New York secondary (both on and off the field), Angulo isn’t likely to surpass any of the other options on the depth chart.