What are the New York Giants getting in rookie CB Cordale Flott?

cordale flott, giants

The New York Giants used a couple of draft picks in the later rounds of the 2022 NFL Draft to add depth to their secondary. One of the more intriguing players that they selected was Cordale Flott out of LSU. Cordale Flott is a speedy slot cornerback that could make a decent impact on the Giants’ defense.

What will Cordale Flott bring to the Giants?

With the 81st overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, the New York Giants selected cornerback Cordale Flott out of LSU. With their second pick in the third round, the Giants identified Flott as an under-the-radar cornerback. Cordale is a tall cornerback coming in at 6-foot-1, but he is also a bit light, weighing in at only 175 pounds. This skinny, lanky coverage man tends to play above his weight class, though, posting 40 or more total tackles in each of his last two collegiate seasons while also forcing 2 fumbles.

“Flott had his best season in 2021, earning a PFF coverage grade of 84.8 and allowing 51.1% of passes thrown his way to be caught.” – Pro Football Focus on Cordale Flott

Cordale Flott primarily played as a nickel in college. But PFF feels that Flott “has the traits to be an outside corner and contribute to this defense if he can take on that sort of responsibility.” He aligned 394 times outside, 797 times in the slot, and 93 times in the box. The Giants have a couple of capable slot cornerbacks on the roster already in Aaron Robinson and Darnay Holmes. It might be tough to determine where Cordale Flott fits in, but given the uncertainty surrounding James Bradberry’s future with the team, it is not unreasonable to suspect that the Giants will be trying to convert Flott into a boundary cornerback.

The Giants will have a fun time developing an athletic young talent in Cordale Flott. He is an aggressive, lanky cornerback from a university that produces some of the best defensive backs in the NFL on a consistent basis. It might take some time for Cordale to earn his reps and develop into a starter, but the traits are there. The New York Giants are getting a versatile athlete to round out their secondary in rookie cornerback Cordale Flott.

Report: Mavericks confident of keeping Jalen Brunson away from Knicks

jalen brunson, knicks

Despite having no cap space, the New York Knicks are rumored to be the biggest threat to pry away this playoffs breakout star Jalen Brunson from the Dallas Mavericks.

Brunson averaged 27.8 points, including a 41-point masterpiece in Game 2, 4.8 rebounds and 4.2 assists in the Mavericks’ first-round win over the other Knicks target Donovan Mitchell and his Utah Jazz.

Brunson’s biggest appeal is his ability to thrive on and off the ball. He has improved playing alongside Luka Doncic and showed he could take over when the Mavericks’ star is out.

All the dots connect to Brunson moving back to the East Coast near his birthplace (New Brunswick, New Jersey) after spending his first four years in the NBA in Texas. Some of the top Knicks decision-makers, led by executive vice president William Wesley and their star forward Julius Randle, were front and center during the series opener in a show of force.

Despite the Knicks’ overtures, the Mavericks are fully expecting Brunson to remain with the team beyond this season, according to Dallas-based NBA insider Marc Stein.

“Behind the scenes, though, team officials are expressing clear confidence that they will re-sign Jalen Brunson in the offseason. Detroit and Indiana are two teams with considerable cap space known to have an interest in signing Brunson this summer. New York’s interest has also been well-chronicled, even though the Knicks will have to make some moves to create sufficient financial flexibility to compete with the offers Brunson is expected to command that could exceed $80 million over four seasons,” Stein wrote Monday in his newsletter.

The Knicks are expected to unload some of their veterans to make a significant roster upgrade this summer. Kemba Walker’s $9.1 million expiring deal, along with Nerlens Noel’s $9.2 million and Alec Burks’ $10 million contracts (with a team option in the final year), are the hot candidates to be moved to clear space and roster logjam.

Another option for the Knicks would be a sign-and-trade, but the Mavericks reportedly will not cooperate.

The Mavericks twice passed up on extending Brunson for a much cheaper deal since the offseason. Stein, however, explained that the Mavericks’ thinking was tied to maintaining flexibility in case they need to include Brunson in a potential deal for a Doncic co-star. Now, Brunson proves he can play that role, raising his stock to an all-time high.

Their reluctance prompted Brunson’s father, Rick, a former Knick and Leon Rose’s first client, to take a shot at the Mavericks’ passiveness.

“We’ve got to figure out if Dallas wants him. Not words. Ain’t no discount, so don’t put it on us. Don’t tell me you love me. Show me,” Brunson told ESPN’s Tim MacMahon.

The Mavericks still have the upper hand against Brunson’s potential suitors led by the Knicks. They have his Bird rights, meaning they could go over the cap to re-sign him for five years while the other teams could only offer four years. Brunson is expected to command $20-25 million per year in a new deal.

“Free agency is essentially two months away as the second round begins, but the Mavericks are adamant that they will do just that when they get the chance,” Stein added.

The Knicks reportedly passed up on a Brunson trade during Rose’s first few months as team president. Now, they will face an uphill battle to steal Brunson away.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

Giants’ new 5th round linebacker is a perfect scheme fit for Wink Martindale

micah mcfadden, giants

The New York Giants waited until the late rounds to address the linebacker position, picking up Micah McFadden out of Indiana and Darrian Beavers from Cincinnati in the 5th and 6th round respectively.

New general manager Joe Schoen took a very intriguing approach toward his draft class, focusing on scheme fits and players they can build around instead of simply the best player available approach.

With that in mind, Schoen spent one of his 5th round picks on the Indiana linebacker, who made a significant impact in the Big Ten last year as a senior. Standing at 6’1″ and 240 pounds, McFadden is made of pure muscle but is a bit undersized to play be a well-rounder LB in the NFL. He was initially projected as a 6th-round draft pick, but the Giants will sidestep his coverage liabilities and focus purely on his pass-rush and run-stopping traits.

In 2021, Micah produced 6.5 sacks, 15.5 tackles for loss, and 77 total tackles. His numbers undoubtedly jump off the screen but he comes with weaknesses and technical vulnerabilities. McFadden played in 738 snaps last year, including 342 run defense snaps, 124 pass-rush snaps, and 272 coverage snaps.

McFadden missed 16 tackles, which represents one of his negative traits. However, that is mostly due to bad form and lack of technique, something the Giants can easily coach out with time and experience. There’s a lot to like regarding McFadden, though, specifically that he seeks out contact and loves to get involved in the run game. He’s extremely powerful at the point of attack and can win a number of different ways as a blitzer, which will benefit Martindale’s system.

Tangibly, McFadden ranked in the 87th percentile with his 20-yard shuttle at 4.15 seconds and in the 88th percentile with his 3-cone at 6.88 seconds. He has below-average arm length and average height, but he’s extremely quick and decisive.

Martindale loves to play a blitz-heavy Cover-1 scheme, so pairing McFadden with Blake Martinez could benefit the team tremendously if the Giants would prefer Blake stay at the second level and mitigate any big plays in the run game. Micah gives me shades of former Giants LB Ryan Connelly with a bit more pass-rush to his game.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see McFadden start his career with the punt team, serving as a blocker in the middle of the formation.

Yankees could bring back veteran outfielder if Joey Gallo is forced to miss time

New York Yankees, Brett Gardner

Just as New York Yankees slugger Joey Gallo was picking up steam, he suffered a left groin injury against the Kansas City Royals over the weekend. As Gallo took off for second base, he felt a bit of tightness which forced the Yankees to make a decision, pulling him prematurely despite his willingness to stay in the game.

Gallo has elevated his batting average to .180, still an abysmal number, but he’s been far more effective in recent days. Gallo has contributed two homers in the past week but still hosts a 42% strikeout rate, a number he desperately needs to decrease if he wants to become a more reliable offensive weapon.

The former Texas Ranger remains confident that the injury won’t hold him back and he can play if needed, but Miguel Andújar looked good in left field on Sunday, meaning the Yankees will likely take it slow with Gallo’s return.

“I’m not concerned at all,” he said. “I think it just tightened up on me a little bit. Just as a precaution, they thought probably early in the season, in the cold, just come out now and not make it worse.”

There’s always a possibility that general manager Brian Cashman brings back Brett Gardner, who still hasn’t found himself a team despite his desire to continue playing this season. Garner will likely get the call if the Yankees pick up any injuries or need to supplement deficiencies, hitting .222 last season with 10 homers and 39 RBIs.

“He’s been a great Yankee, just a very difficult offseason because of the interruption, and you’re drinking out of a firehouse when the lockout gets lifted. The last few years, he’s been someone we’ve waited to deal with until towards the end (of the offseason), and the way it has played out so far, there wasn’t a spot. … He had a player option for this year, so there was a spot. He chose to opt out, and that set up a course of action on how it all started to play out. Other transactions affected things in the current time frame.”

Gardner is 38 years old, though, and it seems as if the Bombers would prefer to roll with younger options like Tim Locastro and Andujar. Locastro has been phenomenal to start the year defensively, and while his average has dropped a .154, a small sample size of action suggests volatile imbalances.

However, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Yankees brought back Gardy at some point in the season to help mitigate fatigue and provide more value in the leadership category. The Yankees currently hold the best record in baseball have won nine consecutive games, including three straight series, but they have a tough matchup against the Toronto Blue Jays starting on Monday, meaning they will need all hands on deck.

Isiah Kiner-Falefa is settling in and helping the Yankees win ballgames

isiah kiner-falefa, yankees

After an inauspicious start of his career with the New York Yankees, Isiah Kiner-Falefa is settling in as the team shortstop. He came in to the Bombers as a complementary piece in the Josh Donaldson trade, but with time, patience, and a lot of hard work, he is proving capable of being the perfect placeholder for the organization, as it waits for top prospects to develop.

On Sunday, he worked a crucial walk in a long at-bat against Kansas City Royals’ pitcher Dylan Coleman to start the seventh inning. The Yankees were losing by a run, but after the twelve-pitch base on balls to Kiner-Falefa, Anthony Rizzo was hit by a pitch and DJ LeMahieu walked.

Aaron Judge and Donaldson drove in a run apiece to turn the score around, and the Yankees wouldn’t look back. It all started with IKF.

“That’s the at-bat that sparked it all,” manager Aaron Boone said, according to Brendan Kuty of NJ Advance Media. “Every run we scored today, he was a big part of it,” Judge stated.

Kiner-Falefa is already up to a .303 batting average, a .721 OPS, a 113 wRC+, and two steals, with good defense at shortstop: you could say he has done a bit of everything.

The Yankees’ shortstop just wanted to give his team a competitive at-bat

About his at-bat on Sunday, he said: “I just wanted to battle. I just wanted to put up a scrappy at-bat.”

And boy, he did it.

“That’s a tough matchup,” Boone said of Kiner-Falefa’s moment. “That’s a tough right-on-right matchup there. To spoil, spoil, spoil and lay off a good 3-2 pitch — it’s a good at-bat, a winning at-bat.”

The Yankees have now won nine straight games, and IKF has been a big part of it. He is currently sporting career-highs in batting average, wRC+, OPS, average exit velocity (88.1 mph) and hard-hit rate (37.5 percent).

“What we’re going through now is something I’ve never experienced,” Kiner-Falefa said. “Just showing up to the field every day, I want to come to the field. I want to hang out with my teammates. That’s the biggest thing and the coolest thing — the camaraderie. I think if we can keep building, the sky’s the limit. We’re going to have a bumpy road. We know that’s going to happen. We just have to stick with it and pick each other up.”

UFC books headliner between Calvin Kattar and Josh Emmett

UFC

Over the weekend, news broke of a banger of a main event in the UFC‘s featherweight division. All Access MMA was the first to break the news that the promotion had booked a headliner between Calvin Kattar (23-5) and Josh Emmett (17-2).

The fight will headline the UFC’s Fight Nigh in Austin, Texas on June 18th. For Josh Emmett, this will be just his second main event inside the octagon. He will enter the octagon on June 18th riding a four-fight winning streak.

Holder of some of the strongest power in the division, Emmett is on the verge of title contention. The last time we saw him was at UFC 269 when he took on Dan Ige. It was a close fight, but Emmett picked up the unanimous decision victory.

It was Emmitt’s first fight in over a year after he had torn his ACL against Shane Burgos. Now, Emmett is ready for his second main event and his toughest test to date inside the octagon. A win on June 18th puts him in the title picture, but getting the win won’t be easy.

Another UFC Main Event for Kattar

While this is just Emmett’s second main event, someone who isn’t new to the main event scene in the UFC is Calvin Kattar. In fact, the fight night on June 18th will be Kattar’s fifth main event in his last six fights.

The last time we saw him was in January when he took on Giga Chikadze. Despite being the betting underdog, Kattar came out and showed everyone why he should’ve been the favorite. The Boston Finisher brutalized Chikadze over the course of five rounds.

It was a great bounce back win after Kattar himself was handily beaten by former UFC champion Max Holloway. Overall, Kattar is 3-1 in his last four and he’s looking to pick up his second straight win when he faces off with Josh Emmett in June.

How will the New York Giants utilize Wan’Dale Robinson on offense?

wan'dale robinson, giants

The New York Giants met with Kentucky wide receiver Wan’Dale Robinson on three separate occasions before taking him in the 2nd round of the 2022 NFL draft. While most analysts had Robinson projected as a 4th-round pick, new general manager Joe Schoen and head coach Brian Daboll believed taking him in the 2nd was justifiable.

If you look at the type of players that new offensive coordinator Mike Kafka and Daboll have used in the past with their respective teams, Robinson fits the mold perfectly. Having a shifty, quick receiver that has similarities to Tyreek Hill and Cole Beasley makes a lot of sense heading into the 2022 season. Robinson is far from a Hill or Beasley replica, but he has the opportunity to create an identity of his own after dominating at Kentucky in the SEC last season.

Over 13 games, Robinson tallied 104 receptions for 1,334 receiving yards and seven touchdowns. He also contributed 111 rushing yards to boot.

For a smaller guy at 5’8″ and 185 pounds, Robinson has elite change of direction capabilities and is an explosive playmaker with the ball in his hands.

“Versatile, got quickness, explosiveness–he’s tough, even for a smaller guy. Been a very productive player really going back to high school when he played there in Kentucky,” said head coach Brian Daboll.

The Giants now have three players, including Robinson, Kadarius Toney, and Saquon Barkley who can take the football to the house at any given moment. Ultimately, if you give each of those three players enough reps, one of them will create electrifying production.

In addition, given slot receiver Sterling Shepard is expected to miss the beginning of the season and Toney has faced injury problems early in his career, having a player like Robinson who can supplement potential losses is extremely valuable.

Daboll has already indicated how excited they are to get their hands on Robinson and begin to develop a scheme that extrapolates on his skill set.

“A guy we’re anxious to get our hands-on and work with and implement into our scheme.”

Wan’Dale always believed he was capable of being drafted in the 2nd round but clearly didn’t expect to be taken so early.

“I always felt like I was talented enough to be picked this early,” Robinson said. “I just felt like somebody just had to believe in me and not believe in the hype thing and just believe in the football player.”

Many have criticized the selection, but it is entirely possible the Giants had inside knowledge that either the Buffalo Bills or Kansas City Chiefs were targeting him as a potential replacement or addition to their already potent offenses.

Given Buffalo stole Georgia running back James Cook off the board, adding an electrifying playmaker seemed to be a priority for them. The Giants likely didn’t want to miss out on the opportunity, trading back a number of times to add more selections in the mid-rounds, while also guaranteeing they would land a perfect scheme fit on offense.

The Giants desperately needed to increase their creativity before the snap, especially after recording a 7.5% pre-snap motion rate in 2021. Some of the best teams in the NFL utilize pre-snap motion far more often, including the San Francisco 49ers at 83.7%, Baltimore Ravens at 54.1%, and Los Angeles Rams at 49.1%.

The Giants barely got their players moving along the line of scrimmage, which made their offensive schematics more predictable, resulting in one of the worst units in football. Robinson will help tremendously in forcing cornerbacks to move and shifting the defensive alignment to keep them off balance. Pre-snap motion is also a great way to determine if a team is playing man or zone coverage, which gives the quarterback more knowledge prior to the snap.

In addition to the change in offensive schematics, Robinson also offers Jones easy production in the short portion of the field. The Kentucky standout receiver is a dominant screen catcher and can make something out of nothing. He is a quarterback’s best friend, creating yardage and efficiency while taking the risk factor away from the quarterback throwing downfield.

However, that is not to say that Robinson won’t also be targeted in the intermediate and deeper portions of the field, since he has the speed and athleticism to make plays all over. Daboll already indicated that Robinson can play inside and outside, despite being a smaller and shorter receiver.

In conclusion, many have pointed out that the draft board hosted more established players when the Giants selected Robinson, but he’s clearly a productive stud and will bring an electric element to the Giants’ offense. Pairing him with Toney will keep defenses honest and force them to allocate more attention, which should open up more opportunities for everyone.

Yankees make odd decision re-assigning budding relief pitcher to Triple-A

clarke schmidt, yankees

The New York Yankees are currently on a nine-game winning streak, which suggests they have made all the right decisions over the past three series. However, after a come from behind victory against the Kansas City Royals on Sunday afternoon, manager Aaron Boone made an odd decision, re-assigning one of his budding relief pitchers to Triple-A.

Bullpen arm Clarke Schmidt was sent down to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, despite hosting an impressive 1.23 ERA this season over 7.1 innings.

“It’s a real tough pill to swallow,’’ said Schmidt, who has performed really well this season. “I’m throwing well, doing my job and getting guys out. It’s just part of the game. It’s a business also. I hope to get back up here soon.”

Schmidt has earned 8.59 strikeouts per nine rate, 90.9% left on-base percentage, 61.1% ground ball rate, 3.66 SIERA, and 4.08 xFIP.

Schmidt has been an entirely different player this year after struggling with the Yankees over a small sample size in 2021. He dominated with Scranton, posting a 2.10 ERA, and he’s translated those numbers to the majors in 2022.

Looking at his velocity, he’s averaging 94.3 mph with his fastball, up nearly 2 mph from 2021. His sinker is also sitting at 94.6 mph. Schmidt actually has a fantastic repertoire of pitches at his disposal, including a fastball, sinker, change-up, slider, and cutter.

“I feel like a different player than in previous years,’’ Schmidt said. “I don’t think the moment was too big for me at all. … I’ll take what I did this month and roll with it.”

Clarke’s last performance came on April 20 to get the Detroit Tigers when he lasted 3.1 innings and struck out six batters. Since then, the Yankees haven’t utilized him, oddly, preferring to lean on Miguel Castro and Michael King. It is possible that Boone is playing a numbers game against specific batters, but Schmidt might have justified his worth early in the season.

While this might be a temporary setback for the young bullpen arm, the Yankees will undoubtedly call him back up when needed.