When the New York Giants signed James Bradberry in 2020 to a three-year, $43.5 million deal, nobody expected him to emerge as one of the best corners in football. This past season, Bradberry logged a 79.9 overall coverage grade, per PFF, allowing 454 yards and just three touchdowns all season long. After Week 1 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, where he allowed two scores, he gave up just one the rest of the campaign, showcasing an unbelievable developmental step under coordinator Patrick Graham.
Bradberry has established himself as one of the best man coverage corners in football, and the Giants are looking to take their defense in a new direction after relying on zone coverage far too often last year due to weakness at CB2. According to SIS, the Giants ran man coverage 23% of the time by season’s end, after Graham operated in the cover-1 formation (reliant on man coverage) 50% of the time as the DC for Miami in 2019.
With the signing of Adoree Jackson, the Giants now have a fantastic duo of corners who can expose matchups on a weekly basis. Bradberry man-marked some of the best receivers in the game last year, including Allen Robinson, DK Metcalf, Mike Evans, and others. He limited Robinson in Week 2 to just 14 yards, picking up an interception and nearly two more.
One former Pro Bowl corner had great things to say about Bradberry. D’Angelo Hall, a three-time Pro-Bowler and 14-year veteran, stated on NFL Network that Bradberry is the third-best CB in the NFL, behind Xavien Howard of Miami and Jalen Ramsey of Los Angeles.
“When he put on the No. 24, with the Carolina Panthers I was like ‘hold up … is this Josh Norman 2.0?’” Hall said. “But when James Bradberry moved to the Giants and played more man-to-man coverage he really showed me he is an elite (corner) in this league.
“I got to see him go twice last year against (Washington wideout) Terry McLaurin, who I think is a dog. Bradberry rose to the occasion every single time.”
Providing him with even more assistance with the signing of Jackson, Bradberry will have the luxury of playing on an island, facing off against more refined route runners and receivers with size. Jackson will take on speedy pass-catchers in a more physical role. Jackson prefers press, man coverage, while Bradberry is more of an off-ball man coverage corner.
Excellent secondary play will also help the Giants’ pass rush, which they overhauled this season with the addition of Azeez Ojulari, Elerson Smith, Ryan Anderson, and Ifeadi Odenigbo.