Evaluating the Giants’ rookie cornerback tandem 12 games into the season

Nov 26, 2023; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New York Giants cornerback Deonte Banks (25) celebrates an interception against New England Patriots in the 1st half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants came into the 2023 season relying on two rookie cornerbacks to yield positive results in the secondary, Deonte Banks and Tre Hawkins II. Banks has been productive for the majority of his rookie campaign, but for Hawkins, things have been a bit more rocky.

Deonte Banks has performed well this season

This season, Banks has allowed just a 54.1% completion rate, 6.5 yards per target, and a 76.6 overall passer rating against. He has also recorded 10 pass defenses and two interceptions on the season.

Banks’ efforts have jolted him to the top of the Giants depth chart, as he has assumed the role of CB1 for the G-men at this stage of the season. In last Sunday’s win over the Patriots, Banks surrendered only three receptions for 29 yards, according to Pro Football Focus (PFF).

Tre Hawkins has struggled as a rookie

Hawkins, meanwhile, has had some notable struggles, particularly in tackling early on. On the season, he has 29 combined tackles but a missed tackle rate of 14.7%.

However, things have started to trend in the right direction for the rookie in that department. In their victory over the Washington Commanders in Week 10, Hawkins recorded six tackles, his most in a game since Week 3 against the 49ers.

He still has quite an ounce of work to do in pass coverage, as he has allowed an 80% completion rate, 13.6 yards per target, three touchdowns, and a 158.3 passer rating this season.

Ideally, with the Giants’ playoff hopes virtually nonexistent, Hawkins can use this opportunity to develop as a player and refine his skillset to potentially become an impactful piece from next season onward.

The Giants could have a strong cornerback duo in the future

It is worth noting that the pair of rookies had vastly different expectations coming in. Banks was drafted in the first round, so it is no surprise that he is developing quickly and efficiently. Hawkins was a late sixth-round pick who essentially earned the starting CB2 job after an impressive training camp.

There is still plenty of time this season for the pair to develop, and if Banks’ fast production is any indication of what Hawkins can accomplish, the Giants could have themselves a strong cornerback duo in the years to come.

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