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Giants do a major remodel of roster

New York Giants head coach Pat Shurmur watches

New York Giants head coach Pat Shurmur watches from the sideline during the first half at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford NJ on Aug 30, 2018. Credit: Daniel De Mato

Consider the page turned.

The Giants announced their 53-man roster on Saturday, and nearly half of the players who made the team have been added since the end of the 2017 campaign. General manager Dave Gettleman and coach Pat Shurmur overhauled nearly every corner of the depth chart to the point that only 21 of the players currently on the active roster were with the Giants for Week 1 last year.

Twenty-seven players remain on the team after the offseason of turnover. Twenty-six of the current players were brought in by the new regime.  That’s a high number, but one that should not be surprising given the misery of last season’s 3-13 record.

When Giants co-owner John Mara fired Ben McAdoo and Jerry Reese in December, he said “wholesale changes need to be made to this organization to get us back to the team we expect to be.” This roster reflects that.

Only 12 players drafted by former general manager Reese were on the active roster as of Saturday evening. Only seven players who were with the Giants when Tom Coughlin was the coach are still with the team. And with the release of veteran linebacker Mark Herzlich, only two players remain from the Giants’ most recent Super Bowl-winning team in 2011: Eli Manning and Zak DeOssie.

A number of players who had large on-field roles on last year’s team were waived, including Darian Thompson, who was one of only five to start all 16 games in 2017. The third-year safety and former third-round pick has not been on the field in several weeks with a hamstring injury and was waived/injured, so he could wind up returning to the team on injured reserve.

Others who were key components of last year’s team who saw their time with the Giants end were wide receivers Roger Lewis Jr. and Travis Rudolph, safety Andrew Adams and linebacker Calvin Munson. Those three players had a combined 18 starts last season. Last year’s fifth-round pick, Avery Moss, also was waived. The Giants already had placed Paul Perkins, who began 2017 as the starting running back, on injured reserve.

The ones who stuck on Saturday included four undrafted rookies: center Evan Brown, safety Sean Chandler, linebacker Tae Davis and running back Rob Martin. Cornerback Donte Deayon, a cutdown day casualty each of the previous two seasons, made the team this year on the strength of a two-interception game against the Patriots on Thursday. He beat out Chris Lewis-Harris and rookie Grant Haley.

Hunter Sharp, who had been competing with Kalif Raymond for the punt returner job along with the final spot at wide receiver, made the team and Raymond was waived. Josh Banks, a second-year defensive lineman who was an undrafted rookie last year but spent the season on injured reserve, also made the current roster.

“As I’ve said, I feel like we’re on the right track,” Shurmur said in a statement through the team. “We had a competitive training camp that forced us to make some tough decisions. We will continue to look to improve the roster in any way we can.”

That last part is important to remember. The Giants still have plenty of opportunities to tweak their roster and possibly part ways with even more reminders of 2017.

Between signing free agents and making waiver claims, there is a good chance that when it takes the field for its first post-cutdown practice on Monday, the team will look different than it did at the NFL’s 4 p.m. deadline on Saturday.

New York Sports