The NY Giants will see a major overhaul at the cornerback position heading into the 2020 season. Former top cornerback Janoris Jenkins was released late last season after making insensitive remarks to fans and 2019 first-round draft pick Deandre Baker just landed on the commissioner’s exempt list stemming from armed robbery charges that were filed against him.
The Giants added a top cornerback in free agency when they signed former Panthers corner James Bradberry to a three-year contract worth $43.5 million. Bradberry was solid for Carolina, matching up against top receivers such as Michael Thomas, Julio Jones, and D.J. Moore in divisional games. Last year, the 26-year-old had 65 total tackles, three interceptions, 12 pass deflections, and one sack in 15 games.
Big Blue will look for former third-round supplemental draft pick Sam Beal or 2019 sixth-round draft pick Corey Ballentine to step up after both had up-and-down campaigns last season in their first year playing professional football. The team also added the speedy Darnay Holmes in the fourth round of this year’s draft, as a potential player to fill a much-needed role as a slot cornerback. With an average age of 23.4 years of age for their top five cornerbacks, the Giants have a lot of youth at the position.
The Giants added Chris Williamson in the seventh round of the 2020 draft and Montre Hartage and Rashaan Gaulden in free agency to compete as additional depth pieces at cornerback. It is also possible that the team’s 2019 fourth-round pick, Julian Love, reverts back from safety to cornerback or plays a form of cornerback/safety hybrid role for the Giants this season.
The NY Jets will rely on a gaggle of former Indianapolis Colts cornerbacks this season. Four of the top five cornerbacks on the Jets formally played with Indianapolis including recent signing Pierre Desir, as well as Arthur Maulet, Nate Hairston, and Quincy Wilson. Only Brian Poole has not spent time with the Colts.
Desir will likely be the number one corner for the Jets this season after being signed in the offseason. L of the NY Gast year with Indy, the 29-year-old had 50 total tackles, 11 pass deflections, and three interceptions in 12 games. Meanwhile, the 27-year-old Maulet had 38 total tackles, one fumble recovery, one interception, one touchdown, and two pass deflections in 12 games. Poole, who projects as the nickel back had 59 total tackles, an interception, and five pass deflections in 14 games for Gang Green.
The Jets will look for Hariston, Wilson, 2019 sixth-round pick Blessuan Austin, 2020 fifth-round pick Bryce Hall and undrafted free agent rookies Javelin Guidry, Shyheim Carter, and Lamar Jackson to fill depth spots at cornerback.
Advantage: NY Jets
If Deandre Baker hadn’t gotten himself suspended, the Giants would have the clear advantage at cornerback, given Baker’s pedigree and the massive improvements he made in the last six games of the season. However, it is looking unlikely he steps on the field for the Giants this season and potentially ever again. While James Bradberry looks every bit the part of a stud lockdown cornerback, it is difficult to give the Giants the advantage given the inconsistent play from Beal and Ballentine.
That said, if the Giants do in fact move Julian Love back to the cornerback position (where he played at Notre Dame), I feel Love could thrive there opposite of Bradberry. If that scenario plays out and Holmes is as good of a slot corner as many believe he could be, the Giants cornerback corps could end up being surprisingly good, especially with Beal and Ballentine as depth pieces. Until that happens though, I feel it is an advantage for Gang Green at corner.