5 newly-released players the Giants could consider

The NFL had its second round of cuts from 85-80 on Tuesday. The ever-growing decimation of the New York Giants’ roster resulted in zero players waived or released; instead, the Giants placed offensive linemen Nick Gates and Matt Peart on the reserve/PUP list and linebacker Darrian Beavers, tight end Andre Miller, and tight end Ricky Seals-Jones on season-ending injured reserve.

New York’s offensive line is battered at the moment, and both the tight end and linebacker rooms were questionable before the injuries. Seals-Jones was thinking of as the number one tight end heading into camp, but a toe injury ended his season.

Now, the Giants are in a position with two rookie tight ends, Chris Myarick, and veteran Jordan Akins who played deep into the fourth quarter during both preseason games.

New York has a week of practice with their city brethren before playing the Jets on Sunday. Two days later, on Aug. 30, the Giants will have to cut their roster to 53 by 4 pm EST. GM Joe Schoen made several remarks alluding to high activity by the pro personnel department to field the best 53 men come Sept. 11 in Tennessee vs. the Titans.

There will be new faces who spent training camp in different colored uniforms on this Giants team after final cuts. It’s possible that the Giants add players who were just released in the second round of cuts. Schoen added cornerback Olaijah Griffin after the first round, and he played 25 snaps against Cincinnati, including this aggressive run fit.

Here’s a list of five recently-released players who could interest the New York Giants.

[NOTE: Players released with injury settlements are not included]

Chris Herndon, TE

The hype around Herndon after the New York Jets selected him in the fourth round of the 2018 draft was palpable. He caught 39 balls on 54 targets for 502 yards and four touchdowns within Jeremy Bates’ offense during his rookie season. He looked poised for a solid career in green, but he received a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s policy on substance abuse to start 2019 before eventually landing on injured reserve.

Herndon had a solid 2020 season under the tutelage of Dowell Loggains, although he had five drops on 44 targets. The Jets traded him to the Vikings for a fourth-round pick (pretty high capital for Herndon) to start the 2021 season. Herndon had four catches and a touchdown for Minnesota. The Saints just released him, and the Giants are in desperate need for tight end competition, especially a veteran tight end.

He’s 6’3, 253 pounds. He’s not the biggest, and his career is rocky to say the least, but I see no harm in taking a flier on a 26-year-old tight end with athletic upside.

Harrison Hand, CB

The former Temple Owl and Baylor Bear cornerback has inside-outside versatility with insane 96th and 94th percentile broad and vertical jump scores.

I thought Hand was a solid value early on Day 3 in the 2020 NFL Draft, where he was eventually selected by the Minnesota Vikings in the fifth round. A new regime is now in charge and hand was waived (*snickers*). Here’s an interception from his rookie season:

(slot, bottom of screen)

Hand flips his hips and works underneath Jared Cook’s (87) out-breaking route to undercut and come away with a Drew Brees interception. The 23-year-old has talent; he’s dealt with some hamstring issues throughout his career, but the Cherry Hill, NJ native has enough tools and versatility to compete for a roster spot.

Alex Mollette, IOL

The rookie UDFA out of Marshall is 6’2, and 300 pounds; he’s technically sound and quick. Mollette was released by the Colts – one of the better interior offensive line units in the league. In the last two seasons at Marshall, in 742 pass blocking snaps, Mollette allowed zero sacks and ZERO pressures, according to Pro Football Focus. This is from the 2020 season:

In his college career, he’s played 832 snaps at center, 1,598 at left guard, and 655 at right guard. In 48 preseason snaps, he allowed one pressure and graded well by PFF’s standards. He has 33-inch arms, 9.5-inch hands, an 80.5-inch wingspan, and his athletic testing was average at his per day.

The Giants are currently struggling at interior offensive line. Injuries continue to be an issue, and offensive tackle Will Holden was forced to play center during the second preseason game. Taking a chance on a player like Mollette makes some sense.

Shaun Dion-Hamilton, LB

The former Alabama Crimson Tide linebacker was released by the Lions. The 26-year-old was a sixth-round pick in 2018 with 97 tackles, 2.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, and an interception to his name. He’s an athletic 6’0, 235 pounds, but he struggled to find the football field in 2021.

The injury to Darrian Beavers opens up an opportunity for the Giants to add a linebacker if they’re not convinced in the skillsets of Carter Coughlin or Austin Calitro. I ultimately believe the Giants will add a linebacker, but I don’t necessarily think it’ll be Dion-Hamilton. Longtime journeyman Joe Schobert was also released during the second round of cuts. If the Giants add a linebacker, it will likely be sometime next week.

Ryan Santoso, K

Ahh, who doesn’t love kickers, right? The former mustachioed New York Giant was recently waived by the Jacksonville Jaguars. Giants’ current kicker, Graham Gano, suffered a concussion while attempting to make a tackle up the sideline. Punter Jamie Gillan kicked a 31 yard field goal in the absence of Gano. Head coach Brian Daboll already speculated on the possibility of adding a kicker to the roster because of Gano’s injury. If they do, Santoso could be that guy.

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