Thankfully, the frenzy associated with free agency and the NFL Draft is over. Now, teams are focused on constructing a roster for the 2021 season. That task begins with minicamp, then a short summer break before the start of training camp. For the New York Giants, the issue of roster depth is a constant battle. They have set their next off-season goal of bolstering their roster with quality veteran talent. Recently, the Giants added Kelvin Benjamin, Corey Clement and Ryquell Armstead to mix. Each brings a skill set that allows them to become an intriguing low-risk training camp candidate.
New York Giants Focusing on Adding Depth to Roster
Benjamin Looking to Resurrect His NFL Career
Benjamin might have the most difficult road of the three recent roster additions, as he has not played in the NFL since the 2018 season. Plus, the former wide receiver is switching positions in his return with the Giants. Benjamin is moving to the tight end position. The reason for the move is that speed is not the biggest component of his skill set.
The competition should be stiff as the tight end unit includes Evan Engram, Kyle Rudolph, Kaden Smith and Levine Toilolo. It will be an uphill climb for Benjamin as this group will be competing for three, maybe four roster spots. Right now, Engram and Rudolph are guaranteed a roster spot, but the others are up for grabs.
For Benjamin, it might come down to him becoming a flex player on the roster. At 6’5″, 245 pounds, he is an ideal receiving target in the red zone. This was an asset that was missing from the Giants offense last season.
Clements Eyeing Backup Role on Roster
The Giants have an immediate need for a quality backup at the running back position. Saquon Barkley is returning to the starting lineup from a torn ACL injury, so he will need someone who can take some carries off his plate this season. First, the Giants brought in Devontae Booker off the free agent market. Now, Clement has been added to compete for the complementary role in the running game.
The former Philadelphia Eagles tailback was signed after trying out with the Giants during rookie minicamp. He is best remembered for his role in the “Philly Special” touchdown gadget play in the Eagles win over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII. Clement took the snap before flipping the football to Trey Burton who threw a touchdown pass to a wide-open Nick Foles.
Clement spent four seasons with the Eagles after making the roster as an undrafted free agent out of Wisconsin. He gained 665 yards and scored seven rushing touchdowns during his time in Philadelphia. Plus, Clement showed the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield with 37 career receptions. The Giants coaching staff must decide if Clement has the skills to deliver quality yards in a reserve role.
Armstead’s Forgetful 2020 Season
Armstead would love to forget 2020 as he had two stints on the NFL’s reserve/COVID-19 list. In between, he injured his groin while rehabbing to get back on the Jacksonville Jaguars active roster. Armstead’s season ended when he contracted COVID for a second time as he developed complications with his respiratory system.
The Giants claimed Armstead off waivers from the Jaguars. They love his ability to be a viable option in several different offensive sets. It will not take long for the coaching staff to see Armstead’s value as a special-team performer on the final 53-man roster.
Recognizing holes on the roster quickly and plugging them up with quality candidates is key for a football team expecting to contend for a playoff berth. The lack of roster depth becomes an issue if one of the starters is injured and out of the lineup indefinitely.
Unfortunately, this scenario has been all too familiar to Giants fans in seasons past. Now, the coaching staff has options available. It will be fun to track this group’s progression this summer.
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