Starters – Xavier McKinney, Julian Love
Reserves – Dane Belton, Jason Pinnock
Xavier McKinney is the best player on the Giants defense, a captain, and will be the defensive signal caller in 2022. Love was also voted a captain, and, like McKinney, will be on the field for every snap in 2022 (if healthy). Belton played well before breaking his collarbone early on in training camp, but he will reportedly be back for the season opener, which is big news for the Giants defense.
On Wednesday, the Giants claimed Jason Pinnock off waivers from the Jets, where he received reps with the Jets’ first-team defense in training camp. The Jets were really upset to see him go, and were desperately hoping to get him back on the practice squad, but he is now on the Giants, where the promising young safety will likely see meaningful reps. The safety group has improved drastically in last 24 hours. Veteran safety Tony Jefferson decided to leave Baltimore and join the Giants’ practice squad, and it is fair to assume he will be on the field for the Giants many Sundays this fall.
Starters – Adoree’ Jackson, Aaron Robinson, Darnay Holmes
Backups – Justin Layne, Nick McCloud, Cor’Dale Flott
The two biggest wavier claims the Giants made on Wednesday can be found here: Justin Layne and Nick McCloud. Layne, a 2019 third-round pick from Pittsburgh, is a great special teams player who played in 43 games at cornerback the last three seasons for Pittsburgh. Layne was a college standout at Michigan State, and he is a big depth upgrade over what the Giants had last week. McCloud was signed as an undrafted free agent by Buffalo a season ago, and ended up playing with Cincinnati last season. He returned to Buffalo this offseason, and narrowly lost a battle for the backup cornerback spot on the league’s best defense. Jackson is still the lockdown No. 1 corner for the Giants, while it would seem that Layne or McCloud could push Robinson for the starting second corner job. Holmes had a great training camp, and is firmly entrenched as the starting slot corner. Rookie Cor’Dale Flott will be Holmes’ backup.
Starters – Graham Gano, Jamie Gillan, Casey Kreiter
Graham Gano will be the Giants’ kicker again in 2022, and the Giants hope that their kicker will not be their best player for the third straight season. Jamie Gillan, nicknamed the Scottish Hammer, has played well enough in training camp to be the Giants’ new punter in 2022. Casey Kreiter returns once again in 2022, where he will anchor the special teams unit as a long snapper. Gary Brightwell will likely be the kick returner, while Darius Slayton or Richie James will return punts.