The NY Giants had an immensely successful 2022 season despite having a not-so impressive defense at times. Big Blue's defense ranked 25th in yards allowed per game, 16th in passing yards allowed per game, 27th in rushing yards allowed per game, 18th in points per game, and 25th in takeaways.
Despite those poor numbers, the Giants were able to make the playoffs for the first time since 2016. Giants defensive coordinator Wink Martindale deserves a lot of credit for that. Despite being handed one of the least talented and experienced defenses in football, Martindale's defense forced a ton of timely stops.
Opponents converted third downs just 37.55 percent of the time against Big Blue last fall, the fifth-lowest opponent conversion rate in football. Martindale's blitz-heavy defense contributed heavily to that. His troops sacked opposing quarterbacks 41 times, the 13th most in the league.
Martindale's squad did that despite a plethora of injuries and despite playing without a quality CB2, ILB1, and ILB2. He has quality talent and a healthy defense heading in 2023, which is why expectations are sky-high. Here are five bold predictions for the NY defense this fall and winter:
5. Deonte Banks proves to be the CB1 of the future
On the Giants current depth chart, Adoree' Jackson is CB1 and Banks, the Giants 2023 first-round pick, is CB2. By the end of the season, Giants Nation will regard Banks as the best cornerback on the team.
There is very little not to like about Banks. The Maryland product is a fiery cornerback that talks a lot of trash and was one of the biggest risers in the pre-draft process. At the 2023 NFL Combine, Banks ran a blazing 4.35 40-yard dash, posted the third-best defensive back broad jump in NFL Combine history, and recorded a ridiculous 42-inch vertical.
The Giants defense plays extensive man-to-man coverage, an area in which Banks excels. Opposing quarterbacks completed just 43.3 percent of passes when targeting Banks in his final collegiate season. The absurdly athletic Giant was left on an island against Ohio State superstar Marvin Harrison Jr. in November, a player that will likely be a top-five pick in the 2024 NFL Draft and gave up just 53 yards (53 yards was the most Banks gave up in a 2022 game).
Playing alongside Jackson will significanly help ease Banks' transition to the NFL. While Jackson will likely be guarding opposing WR1s like Cedee Lamb, Terry McLaurin, AJ Brown, and Stefon Diggs, Banks will likely face WR2s like Brandin Cooks, Jahan Dotson, DeVonta Smith, and Gabe Davis. I wouldn't be shocked by midseason if Banks starts to receive WR1 assignments.