Giants Activate Defender 1 Day After Losing Him to COVID-19 List

Giants place LB Josiah Tauaefa on COVID-19/Reserve List

Getty Olsen Pierre #72, Markus Golden #44, Josiah Tauaefa #48 and David Mayo #55 of the New York Giants

Well, that was fast. In a tough news day for New York Giants fans, one headlined by the loss of projected starting cornerback Sam Beal to an opt-out decision, the G-Men, fortunately, ended Wednesday on a much more positive note.

The Giants officially activated linebacker Josiah Tauaefa off of the reserve/COVID-19 list on Wednesday evening. This, coming on the heels of Tauaefa landing on the list just one day prior.

Follow the Heavy on Giants Facebook page for all the latest stories, rumors and viral content!

Tauaefa Battling for Roster Spot

For a player such as Tauaefa, any time missed on the practice field is critical to their chances of making the team’s final 53-man roster. Thankfully for his hopes of making the Giants, Tauaefa’s time away from the team was short-lived.

Tauaefa originally signed with the Giants in 2019 as an undrafted free agent out of UTSA. While the linebacker failed to make New York’s opening day roster, he did eventually find his way there.

Signed to the team’s practice squad following his release, Tauaefa would be promoted to the Giants’ active roster in Week 5 vs. the Minnesota Vikings following a slew of injuries to Big Blue’s linebacking corps that included the likes of Ryan Connelly and then-captain Alec Ogletree. Tauaefa would go on to rack up three tackles and two tackles for loss in the Giants’ 28-10 home loss to the Vikings.

All-in-all, the Texas native appeared in 12 games during his rookie campaign, collecting six combined tackles and forcing one fumble.

Is Tauaefa Big Blue’s New Special Teams Ace?

Heading into the 2020 NFL season, the Giants’ top-3 inside linebackers appear all but cemented. Big-ticket free-agent Blake Martinez is etched into one of the two starting inside backer jobs, while the likes of the aforementioned Connelly and the unheralded, yet productive, David Mayo will battle for the right to line up next to him along New York’s starting 11.

Tauaefa will have a chance at locking down the fourth linebacker spot this offseason, although he’ll have his hands full with the additions of youngsters such as “culture drive” Cam Brown. For Tauaefa to make his presence felt, he’ll have to prove his worth on special teams, a spot where he showed plenty of promise last season, even leading to his name mentioned amongst potential “new special teams aces” for the Giants by SI.

With Joe Judge taking the reigns in New York, a long-time special teams coordinator with the New England Patriots, you can expect special teams prowess to hold an even more prominent place in determining roster spots than ever before.

According to Pro Football Focus, the Patriots have finished ranked within the top-5 of special teams units in three of the last four seasons, and within the top-10 in all but one season that Judge served as the team’s special teams coordinator.