The New York Giants defense has been their identity so far through eight weeks. It's been a tough stretch for the team and its fans, as they currently stand at 2-6, last in the division and well on their way to a Top 5 draft pick in April if the trend continues.
The problem with this Giants team certainly doesn't involve their efforts on the defensive side of the ball, at least as of late. Defensive coordinator Wink Martindale has helped orchestrate a unit that has forced eight turnovers over the last four weeks. After accumulating just five sacks from Weeks 1-6, they've added 10 more since, led by rising star pass rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux.
It seems that almost every player on this Giants defense is capable of making plays, no matter how many snaps they receive. One of those players is second-year cornerback Cor'Dale Flott. Flott, who was one of the team's third-round picks in 2022, is starting to show signs that he can consistently be a playmaker for Martindale's scheme.
Cor'Dale Flott must get more reps for the Giants defense moving forward
When the Giants decided to draft Flott last year, he was viewed as a developing player. Standing at 6-2, 175 pounds, many believed Flott's build couldn't hold up against bigger receivers. He didn't receive many defensive opportunities in 11 games as a rookie, appearing in just 45 percent of snaps. Special teams was where Flott resided most of the time in 2022.
However, Flott showed promise in the few opportunities he received at corner. He ended his rookie year with 26 combined tackles and two pass breakups. He almost got his first career interception in Minnesota during Week 16, but it inevitably ended up being overturned. He also held his own in Week 18 against the Eagles, forcing an incomplete pass on star receiver A.J. Brown, which certainly got head coach Brian Daboll fired up.
This season, however, has been completely different. Flott has seen zero special teams snaps, an indication that his role is strictly defense only. He's a rising star at slot cornerback, overtaking Darnay Holmes. In the 185 defensive snaps Flott has appeared in thus far, 154 have been out of the slot.
The Giants have struggled for years to find a solid nickel cornerback. Holmes has held down the position since he was drafted, but has problems with penalties and is not very consistent. Flott didn't see the field for the first three weeks of the season, but has come along nicely and is starting to hit his stride at the same time the Giants defense is as well.
An early notion that Flott improved over the offseason was in Week 5, where he went stride for stride with Tyreek Hill on a crossing route to force an incompletion:
Since then, Flott's game has been outstanding, seemingly making plays every weekend. In five games this year, the LSU product has 12 tackles and three pass breakups while allowing a 54.5 percent completion rate and 5.5 yards per target. To put that into perspective, rookie cornerback Deonte Banks, who's having a solid start to his first season, is also allowing 5.5 yards per target and a 51 percent completion rate.
Flott doesn't see the field as much as Banks, so he's certainly making an impact whenever he's called upon in nickel packages. Flott had two pass breakups in the Giants' 13-10 loss to the Jets last week. His impact is certainly not going unnoticed.
While the Giants season hasn't been glamorous thus far, especially on the offensive side of the ball, the way this defensive unit has stepped up in recent weeks shouldn't be overlooked. There are plethora of young pieces to build around such as Thibodeaux, Dexter Lawrence, Banks and Bobby Okereke. With the way Flott has been playing, he definitely can be a huge positive for this team going forward.