The sky’s the limit for the NY Giants’ revitalized secondary as they aim to be a serious threat to opposing teams.
After inking CB James Bradberry to a three-year, $45 million deal this past offseason, NY Giants GM Dave Gettleman’s former 2016 second-round draft pick as a Carolina Panther immediately became the central piece from which management would rebuild their depleted secondary.
By drafting S Xavier McKinney and CB Darnay Holmes, and signing perhaps the best of the remaining DBs in the market in CB Logan Ryan, Gettleman followed through on his mission to build upon the initial Bradberry signing.
Entering his 8th NFL season, Ryan is coming off a stellar 2019 season in which he played all 16 games; racking up a career-high 113 combined tackles, 4.5 sacks, and 4 interceptions (just 1 shy of his single-season high of 5 in 2013).
Considering he spent his first four seasons in New England, there’s also something to be said of the familiarity HC Joe Judge, DC Patrick Graham, and Ryan all share as former members of the Patriots where they worked together during the 2013, 2014, and 2015 seasons.
Apart from Ryan’s noteworthy versatility to play in the slot and both safety positions, this signing also comes at a time when it appears that former 2019 first-round draft pick, Deandre Baker is likely to be released due to off-the-field issues, and coincidentally after a less-than-stellar rookie season.
Similarly, as the NY Giants’ second-round pick from this year’s draft class, McKinney, is currently recoverilng from a foot injury that is expected to keep him sidelined for at least the first half of the season, Logan Ryan will be able to fit seamlessly into the defensive schemes of this NY Giants team right away.
Meanwhile, their fourth-round pick, Holmes finished training camp strong, standing out among the rookie class; making this UCLA corner one of the rookies to watch closely this season as he joins a deep group of defensive backs.
Now following a surprising string of roster cuts from the NY Giants on September 5th, Big Blue’s defensive back depth will include: CB Corey Ballentine, CB James Bradberry, S Sean Chandler, S Nate Ebner, CB Darnay Holmes, FS Julian Love, S Xavier McKinney*, S Jabrill Peppers, CB Logan Ryan, and CB Issac Yiadom.
As a result, Week 1’s starting squad is poised to feature: Bradberry and Ryan as the starting cornerbacks, with Holmes dropping down in the slot along with Julian Love and Jabrill Peppers as the safeties.
It’s a remarkable turn of events for a rebuilding franchise whose efforts to field a drastically improved football team in 2020 managed to dodge two major blows to their secondary, thanks to Judge’s competitive training camp program and the Ryan signing.
Even as fans cry out for a reunion with former NY Giants Super Bowl CB Prince Amukamara, Gettleman (who is currently competing for his own job) deserves credit for deftly improving a position group weakened by the McKinney injury and the Baker controversy.
Furthermore, the NY Giants acquired Yiadom, the Broncos former 2018 third-round pick, for their 2021 seventh-round pick in yet another depth-add to further supplement their stockpiling of talent at the cornerback position.
Highlighting the NY Giants’ secondaries biggest strengths
The most notable strength in this talented group of defensive backs is their dynamic mix of youth (all are under 30, except for Ebner) and experience, which highlights the NY Giants’ expanding window of opportunity as they enter what appears to be the final year of their rebuilding program.
Additionally, these athletes understand the speed of the game and can adjust well to developing plays on the field once the ball is snapped. This group is also defined by their shared athleticism, veteran leadership from players like Ryan and Bradberry, and raw potential; particularly in the cases of Holmes and McKinney.
Moreover, not only will the team’s young DBs be learning under Judge’s leadership, which places an emphasis on accountability, they’ll also be playing aside seasoned veterans in Bradberry, Ryan, and Ebner.
As for the rest of the team … well, Dave Gettleman seems to be optimistic about Joe Judge’s leadership. And after experiencing his rigorous training program this past August, I am confident that Judge could very well be the x-factor for this year’s Giants team.