When the Giants’ rookies were forced into a locker-room dance contest in front of the veterans early in training camp, one set of moves stood out above the others. It was undrafted receiver Roger Lewis Jr.’s shimmying and wild gyrations that most impressed the likes of Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr.
So enchanted was Manning by the moves that before Thursday night’s preseason game against the Patriots, the starting quarterback pulled the rookie aside and gave him an order.
“He was like: “ ‘Hey, let’s go out and score a touchdown. I want to see you do that dance,’ ” Lewis said of his conversation. “So there you go.”
Lewis did score a TD with 3:49 left in the game, but it was the catch, and others like it, that made him the latest of the Giants’ dancing receivers. Beckham has his variety of moves, Victor Cruz has the salsa. And now Lewis will have a chance to get his groove on in the season.
Lewis is one of two young receivers the Giants kept in their first draft of the 53-man roster, along with Tavarres King, who scored three TDs in the past two preseason games. There almost certainly will be more changes to the team before next week’s opener in Dallas, but for now the two receivers are NFL players. Lewis and King beat out rookies Darius Powe and Anthony Dable and 2015 sixth-round pick Geremy Davis to fill out the bottom of the receiver depth chart.
“Roger and T.K. are two guys that really took a big jump,” Ben McAdoo said as the team announced its roster moves Saturday. “They hit the ground running in the offseason, made tremendous strides and got better and improved. They pushed each other along with the rest of that group. There was great competition in that group.”
The most recognizable name among the cuts was running back Andre Williams, a fourth-round pick in 2014 who led the Giants in rushing as a rookie and played in all 32 games the past two seasons. It’s far from a surprise, though. Williams played sparingly in the final two preseason games and was considered to be on the bubble for a spot.
“I believe I am the healthiest, hardest-working running back not on an active roster now,” Williams wrote on Twitter after the announcement. “So I’ll wait.”
The remaining running backs are Rashad Jennings, Shane Vereen, Orleans Darkwa, Bobby Rainey and rookie Paul Perkins.
The Giants also put tight end/fullback Will Johnson on injured reserve. Johnson, signed as a free agent from the Steelers in the offseason, suffered a burner in the preseason opener and did not play in any other games.
“It’s unfortunate that it’s come to this,” McAdoo said. “He came in and played some good ball for us. He’s a guy that we think highly of.”
Behind Williams, Davis has the most experience as a Giant among Saturday’s cuts, having appeared in 10 games for the team last season.
Among the other moves to get to 53, the Giants terminated the contracts of OL Adam Gettis and DT Jermelle Cudjo; waived QB Logan Thomas, offensive linemen Dillon Farrell and Ryan Seymour, DT Louis Nix, DE Stansly Maponga, LBs Brad Bars and Ishaq Williams, and DBs Leon McFadden, Michael Hunter, Donte Deayon, Justin Currie and Andrew Adams. Offensive linemen Emmett Cleary (finger) and Jake Rodgers (ankle) were waived injured.
Kicker Josh Brown was placed on the NFL’s reserve/suspended list and will be eligible to return on Sept. 12. Randy Bullock remains on the roster and is slated to be the opening-day kicker for the Giants in Dallas.