As the 2020 New York Giants go into the new year with new players on the roster, some of the old ones have to go. Every year NFL teams have to make tough decisions based on performance. It is crucial for the Giants to improve what the future will look like.
While others go, there will be players who need to fulfill their last chance of being on the roster in 2020 and beyond. Here is one player at each position group that could be on the chopping block.
Make or Break Players for the 2020 New York Giants
Quarterback- Alex Tanney
Tanney has been with the Giants since 2018 when he competed with Kyle Lauletta and Davis Webb for a roster spot. Tanney was the backup quarterback in 2018, but the third-string quarterback in 2019. Since the New York Giants drafted and then started Daniel Jones, Eli Manning moved to backup in 2019.
It is not all set and done for Tanney since Manning retired, however. Tanney regressed in the 2019 preseason, which is the only time he got snaps to play. He made some questionable throws and others thought 2018 4th-round pick Kyle Lauletta outplayed him. However, Lauletta was cut in late August.
Tanney has much more competition coming into 2020 with new coaching staff. The Giants signed former Cleveland Browns and Washington Redskins quarterback Colt McCoy and undrafted Northern Arizona quarterback Case Cookus. They also claimed former Dallas Cowboys backup, Cooper Rush.
One thing that McCoy has over Tanney is game experience. Other than throwing one passing 2019 vs the Miami Dolphins, Tanney has only played one regular-season game in his career. That was with the Tennessee Titans back in 2015.
Cooper Rush, however, knows Jason Garrett’s offensive scheme and sat behind Dak Prescott for the first three years of his career. Tanney still could be a candidate for the QB3 position, but if he does not have an impressive preseason in front of this new staff, he may be released.
Running Back- Wayne Gallman
Gallman has fallen out of favor of the Gettleman regime for a while. Gallman was a 4th-round draft pick in the previous regime out of Clemson. The New York Giants expected to have him as a long-term RB1 or RB2 option in the future. That was until Jerry Reese and Ben McAdoo were fired.
The Dave Gettleman regime tried replacing him twice as RB2 and the results have not come away so far. Jonathan Stewart was signed to be a mentor to Saquon Barkley and a reliable backup but was put on Injured Reserve after four games. Rod Smith was signed in 2019 and was cut in the 2019 preseason due to injury. After Gallman got injured, the Giants brought in former Baltimore Ravens running back Javorius Allen to be the backup, and Gallman fell behind in the depth chart.
Now the Giants have signed Dion Lewis. If Lewis does not get hurt, expect Gallman to be RB3 or possibly out at the end of the summer.
Jon Hilliman is in a worse situation but still is competing. Javon Leake brings some impressive stuff from his college career at Maryland. He can return kicks and as a backup, had at least seven yards per carry in his time at Maryland.
Though the college level is different, Gallman has not got over four yards per carry in the NFL and cannot return kicks or punts via special teams. Gallman has to show this new staff a hidden talent or he will be landing on the waiver wire come September.
Wide Receiver- Corey Coleman
This former Cleveland first-round pick has made a lot of pit stops in the first couple years of his young career. One of them being the Giants.
The New York Giants picked up Coleman in early October 2018 and signed him to the practice squad. He was promoted to the active roster on October 25th. He made some good kickoff returns against the San Francisco 49ers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers and was great on special teams.
They brought him back on a one-year contract in 2019. Unfortunately, he tore his ACL on the first day of training camp and ended up on injured reserve. They brought him back once again in late March of 2020. Coleman’s last shot is here. The Giants are in need of a steady kick off returners like him and others competing like Corey Ballentine, Jabrill Peppers, or Javon Leake.
With the amount of undrafted wide receivers the Giants brought in, Coleman will have a run for his money. Coleman will have to show some weaponizing talent in the passing game for the 2020 New York Giants to keep him as a receiver behind Golden Tate, Sterling Shepard, or Darius Slayton.
This is Coleman’s last chance to try to be a late bloomer first-round pick if he has not blown that chance already.
Tight End- Evan Engram
One of the few members of the Reese regime that stayed during the Gettleman roster massacre in 2018: Evan Engram. Engram is highly productive on the field with a wide receiver-like ability at tight end, that creates a mismatch vs. opposing safeties and linebackers.
However, it is worth noting that Engram has not stayed healthy for a full season in his career yet. Engram is with his 3rd coaching staff in four years. With Kaden Smith’s emergence and Engram’s injury history, he will have to stay on the field to the best of his ability and avoid injury.
The New York Giants did not draft a tight end but kept Garrett Dickerson, signed Levine Toilolo, Rysen John, Kyle Markway, and Eric Tomlinson. Engram’s run blocking has been an issue, which is why in the past Rhett Ellison was always there to help. Ellison retired, enter Toilolo.
The Giants picked up Engram’s 2021 fifth-year option in late April. If Engram does not stay healthy the full season or the coaching staff does not like what they see, he could be trade bait in late October this year. Engram will need to stay healthy for almost all of the games to stay on this roster.
Offensive Line- Nate Solder
This player will show up on Dave Gettleman’s resume for the rest of his front-office career. Nate Solder was brought in on a four-year/ $62M contract in 2018 to replace incumbent 2015 1st-round draft bust tackle Ereck Flowers.
Solder did not do well in the first half of year one, but did better in the second half of eight games, only allowing one sack. In 2019, there was a different result. Solder gave up 11 sacks, 57 pressures and his inconsistent blocking made Daniel Jones’ rookie season even worse.
Nate Solder does have a child going through chemotherapy right now, in which we wish him luck and do understand the circumstances. However, when he decides to be on the field, he has to live up to the contract he was given and he has not done so halfway in.
The New York Giants drafted two tackles in the first three rounds in Andrew Thomas and Matt Peart. Solder is not likely to be cut because of his $19M cap hit, which would cause the Giants to eat $13M. Solder could start the season at left or right tackle, depending on Thomas’s development status. But once Matt Peart is ready, Solder could be gone.
Solder has one last chance to prove himself as a starting tackle for the Giants. They confirmed with the picks that they are already moving in from him. However, his preseason play will determine if he is even worthy of starting the first couple of games.
Defensive Line- B.J. Hill
The next two make or break players are not likely to be cut, but just out of the starting rotation.
B.J. Hill’s sack total, stats, and playing time went down compared to his rookie 2018 season. Hill had 3.5 sacks fewer and fewer tackles.
Once Leonard Williams was acquired from the New York Jets, his playing time significantly decreased. Because of Williams’ priority via trade, Hill saw fewer snaps. Williams came up with 0.5 sacks less in 2019. However, he still improved the Giants run game and put pressure on the quarterback.
Regardless of sack total, we saw a little reduction from Dalvin Tomlinson in 2018 alike to Hill’s in 2019. Then Tomlinson had the best year of his career (yet) in 2019.
James Bettcher is gone and Patrick Graham has entered as the defensive coordinator. Hill will have to impress Graham on a clean slate in order to get more snaps this upcoming season for the 2020 New York Giants.
Linebacker- Lorenzo Carter
It is quite odd that both 2018 Gettleman third-round draft picks to appear on this make or break player list. Carter had an impressive rookie season, prompting hype of a possible double-digit sack season in 2019. In more playing time, he failed on the expected jump. Even though he recorded more tackles and quarterback hits, he only got 0.5 sacks and six more pressures in his sophomore season.
With Patrick Graham’s expertise with linebackers, this should definitely give Lorenzo Carter the boost he anticipates. Blake Martinez (inside linebacker) and Kyler Fackrell had their best seasons while Graham was the linebackers coach in Green Bay Packers in 2018.
The Giants need help with rushing the passer and Carter’s failed jump made a negative impact on the defense last year. Other than a leaky and rookie secondary.
If Carter does not make the productive jump, Oshane Ximines could take his spot depending on what side Patrick Graham positions them. Fackrell’s familiarity could put him first on the depth chart, so the other side will have to be occupied. Whether it be a rotational pass rush system or not.
Defensive Back- Grant Haley
This player was not a part of the solution, instead of being a part of the porous and inexperienced secondary of 2019. Some of the blame goes on the New York Giants and James Bettcher for putting Haley among others in the slot as misfits. However, the player has to produce his best in a given situation.
Haley is one of the worst cover cornerbacks in the league with a passer rating of 140.1. He can definitely tackle in the box in the run game, but his weakness is the passing game.
The Giants drafted Darnay Holmes, a true nickel cornerback in college to challenge Haley and the other competing slot cornerbacks. Julian Love also could move back down to cornerback with Xavier McKinney drafted in Round 2 of April’s draft.
All the slot cornerbacks have other talents other than being a corner. Love can play free safety and Darnay Holmes and Corey Ballentine can return kicks. If Patrick Graham likes Haley enough, he could switch him to linebacker (though he is undersized) or a box safety, since he is a big tackler.
Haley has to hope for a position change. Otherwise, he will have to learn to cover better in order to stay on the 2020 New York Giants roster.
Special Teams- Aldrick Rosas
Two is definitely greater than one in this situation here. Aldrick Rosas had one Pro Bowl season and two horrible seasons since coming onto the New York Giants roster in 2017.
After missing seven extra points in 2017, the Giants brought in former Minnesota Vikings kicker Marshall Koehn to compete with him. Rosas won by a long shot and Koehn was cut. Rosas only missed one extra point and field goal in 2018, awarding him a Pro Bowl selection.
In 2019, the ship sank again and Rosas regressed. Rosas missed more field goals and made more extra points than in his abysmal 2017 season. Competition brings out the best in everybody. The Giants should bring in some competition this summer to make sure it was just a tough year for Rosas. If he loses the battle, he could be out of a Giants uniform soon.
A good kicker is the only piece missing on special teams. That means Rosas needs to return to his 2018 form to stay with the 2020 New York Giants.
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