James Bradberry might be the NY Giants’ top defender, but he has the upside to be even more dominant in 2021
A strong case can be made that cornerback James Bradberry is the most impactful free agent signing Dave Gettleman has made during his time as NY Giants general manager.
In his first season in a Giants uniform, Bradberry made his first Pro Bowl, after producing 54 tackles and trying a career-high with three interceptions.
Bradberry was among the NY Giants’ most talented defensive players in 2020, and finished the season ranked as Pro Football Focus’ seventh-ranked cornerback, with a 79.8 overall grade after holding opposing quarterbacks to a meager 70.1 passer rating when targeting him.
Still, according to NFL.com’s metrics, Bradberry is among the league’s most “under-appreciated” players:
"With 474 snaps on the left and 396 on the right in 2020, per NGS, Bradberry traveled more than most CBs. In fact, he was one of just two corners to play 350-plus snaps on each side last season. Measuring his computer vision-derived coverage ability (passes defensed, targets resulting in no catch, interceptions and allowing fewer than 1 yard of YAC per catch), Bradberry had his best season to date. PFF agrees with my data, showing that Bradberry allowed just a career-low 70.1 passer rating last season."
With Bradberry as the foundation, the NY Giants have invested significant resources into the secondary the past two offseasons, including signing Adoree’ Jackson to start opposite him along with a second-round pick in defensive back Xavier McKinney last spring and nickel corner Aaron Robinson during this year’s draft.
If the NY Giants’ secondary is going to dramatically improve and New York is going to make a push for a return to the postseason for the first time since 2016, Bradberry figures to be a vital reason why.
Matt Lombardo is FanSided’s National NFL Insider and writes Between The Hash Marks each Wednesday. Email Matt: Matt.Lombardo@FanSided.com, Follow Matt on Twitter: @MattLombardoNFL