3. Corey Ballentine not the answer
When the NY Giants added James Bradberry in free agency and added Darnay Holmes in the fourth round of the 2020 NFL Draft, it appeared as though cornerback was going to be an area of strength for the team moving forward. After all, they had 2019 first-round pick Deandre Baker, 2018 supplemental third-round pick Sam Beal, and 2019 sixth-round selection Corey Ballentine on the roster.
Ballentine was expected to be a decent option as a depth piece, occasionally spelling the guys ahead of him on the depth chart, and potentially chipping in on special teams for the GMEN. However, after Baker was cut and Beal opted out, Ballentine was elevated up the depth chart to become the second outside cornerback, with Holmes serving as the slot corner.
This was concerning, given the struggles that Ballentine endured last season when playing outside cornerback. He was targeted frequently by opposing offenses and the results were typically favorable for the wide receiver.
Those struggles appear to have carried over to the 2020 NFL season, as Ballentine was targeted early and often by Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers offense. While Ballentine finished with the second most total tackles with nine, it was because of the frequency in which he was targeted and the number of times the pass was completed to the receiver he was defending.
Seven of the times that Ballentine was targeted by the Steelers offense resulted in a reception for a first down. Pittsburgh had a total of 14 plays to convert a first down and Ballentine was the target for half of those. That is a very ugly statistic and opposing teams are sure to recognize how susceptible Ballentine is when watching game film.
The Giants will have to find a different solution soon. When Xavier McKinney returns from injury, the team could opt to put either Julian Love or Logan Ryan at the second cornerback position. However, they will have to figure something out in the meantime as McKinney is not expected back any time soon and Ballentine is an absolute liability.
I look for that to be addressed before next week’s game against the Chicago Bears.