New York Giants To Make Playoffs In 2020 According To Kyle Brandt

New York Giants, Eli Manning

The New York Giants are no stranger to missing the playoffs at this point, as the team hasn’t been in since 2016… And when they did make an appearance most recently, they were decisively defeated by the Packers during the infamous boat trip game that marked the beginning of the end for many of the players that were on the team’s roster at the time. After picking in the top five this year, the expectation isn’t for the Giants to make it into the playoffs.

But that’s exactly what’s predicted by one of the hosts of Good Morning Football, Kyle Brandt. According to Brandt, the Giants have enough pieces such as Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley to make a run at the playoffs that few are expecting.

“I look at Judge. I like the receivers. We’re all very encouraged by what Daniel Jones looked like at the end of last year, but listen, we got to talk about the rock star… Welcome my friends to the year of Saquon Barkley when he will emerge nine months from now as the best running back on the planet,” Brandt said. “I have stock in him and guys I don’t know if you’ve noticed, the Dow Jones is up for the year. It’s a miracle and if you do not own Saquon stock it might be too late.”

The Giants, of course, had one of the worst records in the league last season and ended up picking in the top five. More conservative projections have them finishing with a similar number of wins and drafting in a similar position come 2021.

Teams have, however, bounced back in short time spans and the Giants are bringing in enough new pieces to inspire some uncertainty and hope when it comes to their future results. Head coach Joe Judge, linebackers Kyler Fackrell and Blake Martinez, offensive tackle Andrew Thomas, and cornerback James Bradberry are all additions that are expected to play a major role early on in their Giants’ careers.

But will that be enough to lift the team into the playoffs after an awful performance last year? That’s still a stretch, but we’ll find out the answer this fall.

New York Yankees select Austin Wells with first-round pick in MLB draft

New York Yankees

The New York Yankees have selected Austin Wells (C) from the University of Arizona with their first-round pick in the 2020 MLB Draft.

Originally drafted by the Yankees in 2018 out of high school, the club has had eyes on Wells for some time now. Everyone knows that the New York Yankees values offensive production the most and that’s exactly what Austin Wells brings to the table. Scouts have noticed his ability to hit for power to all parts of the field. In his freshman season at Arizona, Wells batted .353 with 78 hits and five home runs through 56 games played. In the short amount of time that college baseball had this year, Wells was batting .375 with 21 hits and two home runs through 15 games played.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uFGkLn35k8Y

Something to note about Wells’ game is his great plate discipline. He can take a walk when it matters most, racking up 46 walks through 56 games. The only concern that comes with Wells is that scouts doubt his defensive ability behind the plate. He was a designated hitter his senior year in high school and there are some concerns that his defensive won’t be able to play at the next level.

It’s possible that Wells will begin primarily as a catcher, but move to another position. It’s been done before and some players have made great careers at positions they weren’t originally always playing, such as Bryce Harper and Kyle Schwarber. Wells is most comparable to Schwarber, as they both have similar frames and were both catchers starting off. Both players bat left-handed and throw right-handed, and had similar numbers in college.

This is what some scouts had to say about Wells’ game:

Dan Zielinki – Baseball Prospect Journal 

The left-handed hitter has power to all fields. The biggest question is Wells’ future defensive position, as he has work to do if he wants to stay behind the plate in pro ball.

Ian Smith – Prospect 365

Wells projects to be a 55 hit, 60+ power type profile as a professional. Where the concerns in Wells’ profiles lie are his defensive destination. A big body already at 6-foot-2 and 220 lbs., Wells shows good qualities as a backstop with a big arm and great leadership, but he struggles with breaking balls and doesn’t move particularly well.

Athlon Sports: 

There’s a healthy debate as to whether Wells will play catcher, first base or a corner outfield spot in pro ball, but there is a solid consensus that he should hit enough to be a productive pro even if he ends up at first base.

This was a good pick for the Yankees, as Wells brings a lot of talent to the table. He provides an above-average bat and if he’s able to figure it out behind the plate, this could be a steal for the Yankees.

NASCAR: Truck series driver quitting over new confederate flag and National Anthem policy

After NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace suggested that the confederate flag should be banned from events in an interview, the front office listened. On Wednesday, the sport announced that the flag will indeed be banned from NASCAR events. Additionally, competitors are no longer required to stand for the National Anthem.

This comes after NASCAR President Steve Phelps addressed drivers and fans about the racial injustices in our country before Sunday’s race at Atlanta. For Wednesday’s race at Martinsville, Wallace will be running a “Black Lives Matter” paint scheme.

For part time Truck Series owner Ray Ciccarelli, he’s decided that’s enough. In a recent Facebook post, he announced that 2020 will be his last season in the sport.

“If this is the direction NASCAR is headed, we will not participate after [the] 2020 season is over,” said Ciccarelli. “I don’t believe in kneeling during the [National] Anthem nor taken people [away the] right to fly whatever flag they love.”

The Maryland native hasn’t raced yet in 2020, but ran 18 races over the prior three seasons. He scored one top-10 finish last season.

While many fans are happy with the changes that NASCAR is making, others are very upset.

“Sorry but no longer watching NASCAR thanks to you” said a fan to Wallace on Facebook. Another saying “If he runs with Black Lives Matter, I’ll turn my tickets in and never watch or attend another NASCAR race.”

The reaction from many fans is very disappointing, and proof that racism still exists far too frequently in society. If many fans are really choosing to no longer follow the sport over these new rules, then it may improve NASCAR’s reputation in the long run. It’s good that the sport realized that change was needed and did something about it.

What you need to know about NASCAR’s Confederate flag ban

NASCAR has banned the display of the Confederate flag at its events. Here’s what you need to know about the developments.

NASCAR announced on Wednesday that they will ban display of the Confederate flag at its sanctioned events. The ban comes hours before the premier Cup Series drops the green flag at Martinsville Speedway for the Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 (7 p.m. ET, FS1).

“The presence of the confederate flag at NASCAR events runs contrary to our commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for all fans, our competitors and our industry,” a statement from NASCAR reads. “Bringing people together around a love for racing and the community that it creates is what makes our fans and sport special. The display of the confederate flag will be prohibited from all NASCAR events and properties.”

Terms of how such a ban will be enforced have yet to be disclosed.

The Flag

Different versions of the flag of the Confederate States of America have been displayed by fans at NASCAR events, which primarily take place in the southeast United States. The CSA seceded from the United States of America in 1861 to protest of President Abraham Lincoln’s election, one that threatened to end the institution of slavery. Their secession led to the American Civil War, which ran from 1861 through 1865. CSA General Robert E. Lee surrendered to Union General and future American President Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House in Virginia, leading to the abolition of slavery and freeing scores of black slaves imprisoned on southern plantations.

The most renowned variant of the flag is likely most similar to the Confederate’s naval jack flowing in the latter stages of the war. Another extremely similar, rectangular variant was used as the battle flag for Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia. Despite the loss, attempts have been made to readapt the flag as a symbol of Southern pride and states’ rights. Critics have countered that the flag has been used as a glorification of racism and white supremacy, as well as a sign of intimidation toward African-Americans.

NASCAR and the Flag

In 2015, NASCAR began to discourage display of the flag after a white supremacist-inspired shooting left killed nine African-Americans at a Charleston, SC church. The perpetrator had previously posed with Confederate paraphernalia and engaged in white supremacist rhetoric. NASCAR publicly supported the decision of then-South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley to remove the Confederate flag from the State House. South Carolina is home to Darlington Raceway near Myrtle Beach, one of NASCAR’s original and most renowned tracks.

Then-Chairman and CEO Brian France later expressed a desire to ban the flag outright. At the time, NASCAR asked fans not to display the flag at events and offered an exchange program to trade in Confederate flags for American flags at the July 2015 race at Daytona International Speedway.

NASCAR has been a predominantly-white league since its inception in 1949. Only seven black drivers have partaken in events at the Cup Series level, including current full-time driver Bubba Wallace, who drives the No. 43 Chevrolet for Richard Petty Motorsports. It has unfortunately not been a stranger to racial controversy. During a virtual race on the iRacing platform, Cup Series star Kyle Larson casually used a racial slur in an event live-streamed on Twitch. Larson was suspended indefinitely by NASCAR and fired from his ride in the No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet.

In 2004, NASCAR began the Drive for Diversity program, which set up a platform to attract minority individuals to the sport, in a variety of roles, including those as drivers, crew chiefs, sponsors, and more. Former NBA All-Star and top overall pick Brad Daugherty played a role in the program’s development. The former University of North Carolina and Cleveland Cavaliers star is currently a co-owner of JTG Daugherty Racing, which fields the respective No. 37 and No. 47 Chevrolets of Ryan Preece and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

BRISTOL, TENNESSEE – MAY 31: Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Discount Tire Ford, celebrates after winning the NASCAR Cup Series Food City presents the Supermarket Heroes 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on May 31, 2020 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Driver Response

The debate regarding Confederate symbols has reopened in the wake of nationwide protests against systemic racism and police brutality against African-Americans. Removal of statues bearing the likeness of Confederate representatives has become more prevalent and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has also called for such statues to be removed from the U.S. Capitol Building.

During the initial tone down in 2015, NASCAR’s most prominent faces supported NASCAR’s decision. Four-time Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon told CBS This Morning that “there’s no place for it” and Dale Earnhardt Jr. agreed.

“It really does nothing for anybody to be there flying,” Earnhardt Jr. said to Dustin Long of NBC Sports. “It belongs in the history books, that’s about it.’’

Yahoo!’s Jay Busbee recalled a story from his 2016 book Earnhardt Nation: The Full-Throttle Saga of NASCAR’s First Family in which seven-time Cup champion and NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt Sr. removed a Confederate flag bumper sticker from his truck after his housekeeper, an African-American woman, told him of the flag’s connotations.

Prior to last Sunday’s Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, NASCAR President Steve Phelps called for a change in a radio message to drivers. “Our country is in pain and people are justifiably angry, demanding to be heard,” Phelps said. “The black community and all people of color have suffered in our country and it has taken far too long for us to hear their demands for change. Our sport must do better. Our country must do better.”

Since then, more drivers have been proactive in the fight against systemic racism and injustice. Wallace appeared on CNN earlier this week calling for an end to the Confederate flag’s display. Prior to the Atlanta event, Wallace was seen wearing an American flag facemask and a shirt bearing the words “I can’t breathe”, referencing the words spoken by Eric Garner and George Floyd, who died at the hands of officers in New York City and Minneapolis. On Wednesday night, Wallace’s No. 43 Chevrolet will bear the “#BlackLivesMatter” insignia. The image of a black and white hand together will be displayed on the hood.

Brad Keselowski stopped short of calling for an outright ban (telling USA Today’s Michelle R. Martinelli “it wasn’t (his) right”), but united with Penske Racing teammate Ryan Blaney to call for respect to another flag: the stars and stripes of America.

“I only salute one flag and that’s America’s,” said Keselowski, the 2012 NASCAR Cup Series champion and driver of the No. 2 Ford. “I recognize that (the Confederate) flag might mean something different to different people, but it doesn’t mean United States of America to me.”

“It’s tough, but I don’t really enjoy it because sometimes I feel like the people that wave them mean the negative when they wave them, and that’s not cool,” Wednesday’s polesitter Blaney added to Martinelli. ” I’d love to not see them at the race track, honestly, because it doesn’t make everyone comfortable, so that’s kind of where I stand on that. Bring your 50 stars flag; I think that would be way better.”

In an exclusive interview with ESM, Corey LaJoie, driver of the No. 32 Ford for Go Fas Racing, put in the simplest, most relatable terms possible hours before the ban.

“We need to now allow that banner to be at the racetrack,” LaJoie told ESM. “I don’t really care what it means, how you can justify what it means. I think, if anything, you can justify it being sensitive to the people it offends.”

“If my brother is definitely allergic to peanuts, but I love peanuts, I’m not going to eat peanuts in front of him, just because it has the possibility to hurt him physically. If there’s something that I consciously do that would offend somebody emotionally, I wouldn’t choose to do that, even if I enjoyed eating peanuts.”

“We are one community trying to entertain people. That’s what we show up 36 weekends out of the year to do, to entertain. We don’t want to exclude anybody. We want to have everybody feel welcome coming to a NASCAR race.”

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Giants: Who Will Start At Slot Cornerback In 2020?

The New York Giants have invested heavily in their secondary over the past two years. The Giants drafted three defensive backs in each of the last two NFL Drafts. They spent a first-round pick on DeAndre Baker, a second-round pick on Xavier McKinney, and two fourth-round picks on Julian Love and Darnay Holmes.

New York has a lot of potential in its young secondary, however, it is not yet a position of strength. In particular, the slot cornerback is a position of weakness for the Giants. Heading into 2020, there is a positional battle brewing at the nickel cornerback position, with a few young cornerbacks ready to compete. Who will start at slot cornerback in 2020?

Grant Haley

For the majority of the 2019 season, Grant Haley started at slot cornerback for the Giants. Haley’s performance was highly inconsistent, though. The young Penn State product struggled immensely in coverage. Haley allowed an 82.1% completion percentage in coverage last year, along with 342 yards and 1 touchdown.

Haley showed minimal improvement in coverage after an inconsistent rookie season in 2018. However, Grant has been consistently efficient as a tackler. In 2019 the cornerback recorded 43 combined tackles, 4 tackles for loss, and only 3 missed tackles.

Grant Haley is an efficient run-defender. But his lack of production in coverage will likely take him out of the running for the starting role in 2020.

Julian Love

Julian Love had an impressive rookie season in 2019. Love played cornerback in college and was considered for the Giants’ nickel corner job last season, however, he ended up playing safety instead. Julian Love was very impressive as a safety and made a strong impact, starting in 5 games while Jabrill Peppers was out with injury.

It seemed like Love would be the starting safety alongside Peppers in 2020. That was until the NFL Draft. New York selected the talented safety Xavier McKinney in the second round this year. Julian Love could stick around at the safety position, giving the Giants plenty of flexibility and versatility in their secondary. However, he could make the move back inside to slot cornerback and receive more playing time.

Julian Love has the coverage skills and experience to compete for the slot cornerback job. However, his impressive play at safety as a rookie will likely keep him in that role this season.

Darnay Holmes

The newest option for the Giants at slot cornerback is rookie Darnay Holmes out of UCLA. New York selected Holmes in the fourth round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Darnay Holmes was not a slot cornerback in college- he was an excellent outside cornerback. But he is a bit undersized for the outside, so he projects better as a nickel cornerback in the NFL.

Darnay Holmes was impressive working as a slot cornerback at the Senior Bowl. He dealt with an injury in his last collegiate season, but he still showed plenty of promise and potential. The Giants may not want to put Holmes out there as a rookie immediately, however, the upside is clearly there. He is a talented and athletic cornerback that could be a difference-maker on the Giants’ defense for years to come.

Former Mets’ pitcher Matt Harvey reportedly drawing interest from Japan in addition to South Korea

After struggling to the tune of a 7.09 ERA in 59.2 frames with the Los Angeles Angels last season, former New York Mets‘ ace Matt Harvey has struggled to find an interested team in his services for the 2020 season and beyond. Add coronavirus-related concerns and the uncertainty of the MLB season, and things are not looking good for the “Dark Knight” stateside.

Because of that, it is increasingly likely that Harvey continues his career in Asia. According to MLB Network’s Jon Herman, quoted by NJ.com, the former Mets’ hurler is drawing interest from Japanese teams in addition to the already reported intentions of South Korean teams to have his services.

A New York Post report confirmed a few days ago that “a Korean-based report by SBS that Harvey’s representatives with Scott Boras’ agency reached out to KBO teams. According to the report, there’s no match yet, but it remains a possibility. KBO rosters allow a maximum of three foreign players and only two can be pitchers.”

The Mets aren’t interested

On Monday, Boomer Esiason reported on WFAN that Harvey “has reached out to the Mets about a reunion.” Yet Anthony DiComo, MLB.com’s Mets beat writer, said that “there’s no truth to the rumor that the Mets and Matt Harvey have mutual interest in a reunion. That ship appears to have sailed.”

Harvey wants to continue pitching but he admits that those days may be over. Here is what he said recently to the New York Post:

“I have thought about it here and there. I haven’t not had a job in 10 years. It’s definitely different, but it’s exciting at the same time because I feel so good mechanically. I hope somebody gives me a shot. I feel like I have many more years in me. … I’m throwing bullpens once or twice a week. I hope I get the opportunity. I feel like I’m in high school again, where I have to showcase myself and start all over. I just want to put myself in position to be ready and if it doesn’t work out, to know I put the effort in to make a comeback.”

Harvey was a star for the New York Mets from 2012 to 2015, then injuries and some curious decisions derailed his career and relationship with the team.

New York Yankees Player Profiles: DJ LeMahieu, will he repeat MVP?

New York Yankees, DJ LeMahieu

The New York Yankees 31-year-old David John “DJ” LeMahieu will start his second year with the Yankees and quickly become a favorite player among all fans. The Cubs selected LeMahieu in the second round of the 2009 MLB draft, and he made his MLB debut for the Cubs in 2011 before being traded to the Rockies before the 2012 season. LeMahieu won a Gold Glove Award in 2014, 2017, and 2018 and was named an MLB All-Star in 2015 and 2017, and won the National League batting title in 2016. After becoming a free agent, he signed with the Yankees before the 2019 season.

DJ was born in California, but his family moved to Michigan where he attended high school. When in high school he played as a shortstop
and pitcher for the school’s baseball team. In his senior year, as a
leadoff hitter, he batted .574 with eight home runs, 16 doubles,
seven triples, 70 runs scored, 32 runs batted in (RBIs), and 39
stolen bases.

Although he was selected in the draft by the Detroit Tigers he decided to attend Lousiana State University instead. He was a shortstop for the baseball team and excelled with a .350 batting average. He later transitioned from shortstop to second base. LeMahieu was selected to the 2009 College World Series All-Tournament team. He hit .444 in the series leading all players in the series with 12 hits.

After being selected by the Cubs in the 2009 draft, his Cubs career didn’t last as the Cubs traded LeMahieu to the Colorado
Rockies in 2011. In May of the following year, he was called up to replace an injured player. In August, he recorded his career-best four-hit game against the Brewers for a 9-6 Rockies win. Later in August, LeMahieu
wrote his name into the record books, as he recorded 12 assists in a
9-inning victory against the Los Angeles Dodgers on the 28th. He was
2015 All-Star and in 2016 LeMahieu won the National League batting
title. His .348 season average led all of Major League Baseball.
He was 2017 All-Star, and in 2018 he was named the best defensive
player in all of the majors.

DJ becomes a New York Yankee

DJ always wanted to play for the New York Yankees. His childhood idol was Derek Jeter. He, in an interview, said that he wanted to be like Jeter and modeled his on the field and off the field life after him. On January 14th of last year, DJ signed a $24 million two year contract with our Yankees. He couldn’t have the number 2, so he selected #26. During his short time with the Yankees, he has played shortstop and third base but primarily second base,  where he has excelled. The Yankee orgainization refer to him as the super utility player. He quickly became a fan favorite for his frequent and timely hitting and good play at second base.  For his hitting, he was coined “the Machine.”

Last season he had the most hits of any Yankee and was third in runs batted in. He also had the most doubles. Although he is not a home run hitter he provides that much needed timely hitting that is missing from some of the home run hitters. DJ has turned out to be more than the Yankees could have ever hoped for. He plays 2nd 3rd, SS and a back up of Voit at first.

LeMahieu ended his first season batting .327 with 197 hits, 102 RBI’s, and an OPS of .893. He also had the most singles of any player in baseball.  After the season, MLB awarded him the Silver Slugger Award, and the New York Yankees named him it’s MVP.  The only question is if DJ can repeat his 2019 performance in the shortened 2020 season, if there is one.

LeMahieu will become a free agent at the end of the season, even if there is no baseball played this year.  Of all the 2020-2021 free agents, he is a lock to be given a contract extension. DJ has said he loves playing for the Yankees and hopes to remain on the team.

As I stated before DJ is 31 years old and will turn 32 on August 31. He is married to his wife Jordan since 2014 who is a real estate agent. They have made the decision to keep information about their children under wraps. He is presently living in New York City during the season where he and his wife are loving the city and being with the Yankees. They have a winter residence in Birmingham, Michigan where other family members live. LeMahieu immediately blended in with the team and is well liked in the clubhouse.

Former Yankees and Mets outfielder Claudell Washington dies at 65

New York Yankees

Former MLB outfielder Claudell Washington died on Wednesday morning at 65 years old, according to a report from the New York Post. He played for several organizations during his successful career in the bigs, most notably with the New York Yankees and the Atlanta Braves. He also spent a season with the New York Mets.

He played in the 1974 Oakland Athletics that were crowned MLB champions after beating the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-1 in the World Series.

Washington was known as a versatile outfielder that had some pop (164 home runs in the big leagues) and speed (312 stolen bases.) According to Fangraphs, he accumulated 16.9 fWAR in his 17-year career.

He played for the New York Yankees from 1986 to 1989, then had a brief stint with the California Angels and later when back to the Yankees to finish his career in the Bronx.

ESPN.com was the first outlet to report the news. Per the San Francisco Chronicle, Washington was living in the Bay Area and had been struggling with an illness for several years.

He played with the Yankees and Mets

Washington was born in Los Angeles. Out of his 17 seasons in the major leagues, four were with the Yankees and one with the Mets.

Washington went to the All-Star game in two occasions. His World Series win on a talented Oakland team came when he was a rookie.

All in all, Washington retired from MLB with a .278/.325/.420 line, a .330 wOBA and a 105 wRC+. He wasn’t a particularly good fielder but as the numbers indicate, he was a slightly above-average hitter who contributed both power and speed.

Mets’ fans will remember his three-homer performance against the Los Angeles Dodgers on June 22, 1980, in a 9-6 victory.

Yankees fans will have a fond memory of him, as well: he hit the 10,000th home run in franchise history on April 20, 1988 after sending a ball to the bleachers as a pinch-hitter off Twins closer Jeff Reardon.

Will the New York Jets ‘Bless’ Austin with a starting cornerback position?

New York Jets, Bless Austin

Going into the 2020 off-season, general manager Joe Douglas of the New York Jets knew what he had to do. The weakest link on defense was easily the cornerbacks unit, and while there are nine players currently at the position vying to compete for a starting job, one corner should be indulged due to the potential he showed in 2019.

Reviewing who the New York Jets have at corner:

Arthur Maulet, who played in six games for the Jets in 2019 alongside Bless Austin and Brian Pool, could have a solid shot at earning starting time early on next season. The Jets also traded a sixth-round pick for Quincy Wilson, who showed some promise for the Indianapolis Colts. They also added Nate Hairston, who also came from the Colts last season. Hairston mainly served as depth, as he was unable to lock down reps over Austin or Maulet.

The Jets also drafted fifth-round pick Bryce Hall, who was considered a top prospect before suffering a significant injury last season. Scouts believe he could be a first or second-round pick in the draft — Jets might have landed an extreme value in the fifth round with Hall. He lead the nation in past break-ups and is one of the best pure cover-corners coming out of the draft.

Nonetheless, he is a bit shaky in man-coverage, and his ball skills are questionable. Hall will likely fit well in a zone cover-3 scheme, but he deserves an opportunity to feature his abilities in press-coverage. He struggled in off-ball with Virginia at times. Luckily, he has plenty of time to develop and refine his abilities, and he could earn a starting job sooner rather than later.

However, Bless Austin as a player I want to talk about, based on his production last season and what he’s bringing into year two out of Rutgers.

Austin played in seven games last year, starting at six. He logged 25 combined tackles, four passes defended, and one forced fumble, a 62.2% completion rate against and allowed one touchdown. One of his more problematic statistics was his missed tackles rate, at almost 20%.

Based on his rookie numbers, I’m not too convinced the Jets are as high on Austin as most believe. He missed a ton of tackles and was about average in coverage. With that being said, I do think he has a ton of untapped potential that the Jets could extract in the coming years. As a Rutgers player, he’s not expected to be a premium level option in the NFL, but he showed the ability to stick with NFL level receivers in his rookie year.

The competition for the No. 2 corner spot will be heavy, but Austin has his foot in the water.

Did the New York Giants land a darkhorse defensive back in XFL standout Dravon Askew-Henry?

New York Giants, Dravon Aksew-Henry

Most people probably have no idea who Dravon Askew-Henry is. The New York Giants recently signed the former XFL stand out as an addition to their defensive backs to brew competition during the 2020 preseason.

Henry is a Pennsylvania native, and most are unaware that he is a cousin of former Jets All-Pro cornerback Darelle Revis. Henry comes from a long lineage of talented football players, and he was on pace to being a draft pick in 2019. Unfortunately, an ACL injury suffered in 2016 put him at a disadvantage and hurt his physical skill set. However, he signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers last year, but his stint in the NFL was short.

Askew-Henry made subsequent stops with the Jacksonville Jaguars and New England Patriots before eventually landing with the XFL last season. The New York Guardians under head coach Kevin Gilbride landed Askew-Henry, and while the XFL season was cut short, he recorded 12 tackles and six pass breakups.

So, where does Henry fit into a crowded New York Giants defensive backfield?

As a defensive back, he will be competing with rookie Xavier McKinney, second-year player Julian Love, Corey Ballentine, Darnay Holmes, Chris Williamson, and more.

He has a tall task ahead of him if he wants to earn a spot on the active roster, but based on his film, Askew-Henry possesses the athletic ability to compete at the NFL level. He has the power and explosiveness to shoot downhill and stop the run if need be, and he is a fundamentally sound player that could fill a role on special teams in a worst-case scenario. I expect him to compete for the starting nickel role, where there’s currently an open spot available for the taking.

Do I think Askew-Henry is a Darkhorse player? Probably not.

However, you can’t write off players too early, and all New York Giants fans know that after seeing what Victor Cruz became at the wide receiver position. Nonetheless, there’s a ton of competition in the secondary, but a lot of the talent available is not at an above-average or elite level, giving Askew-Henry a solid chance of landing an active spot if he can hold his own during training camp.