Giants players banking on breakout from 3rd-year safety

New York Giants safety Jason Pinnock (27) intercepts a pass from Detroit Lions quarterback Nate Sudfeld (10) during the first half of a preseason game in Detroit on Friday, Aug. 11, 2023.
Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

The New York Giants have a new starter on the back end of their defense this season with Jason Pinnock taking over at strong safety. Former starting safety Julian Love departed in free agency this offseason, paving the way for Pinnock to ascend into a larger role. As Pinnock enters his third season in the NFL (second with the Giants), he appears primed for a massive breakout campaign.

Giants teammates are banking on Jason Pinnock

Not only do fans and analysts see the massive potential with Pinnock; but the players do too. Dan Duggan of The Athletic recently polled Giants players for their take on breakout season candidates, and Pinnock was a popular pick.

“Just the way Pinnock has grown. He came in here last year and he was kind of teetering — he wasn’t sure about certain plays. Now his confidence is so much better. That’s being a pro on his part and being able to jump from Year 2 to Year 3. Now you guys are seeing that. I think he’s going to be a great player. He’s going to be somebody to watch.”

Matt Breida via The Athletic’s Dan Duggan

Pinnock was picked up by the Giants off the waiver wire last summer after the New York Jets made a critical roster misstep. Now he is grabbing the attention of his teammates in blue, impressing the likes of star TE Darren Waller with his versatility.

“Pinnock is very versatile,” Waller said. “He’s a physical safety, but also in space, he’s made a lot of plays. He can blitz. He can do a lot of things that (defensive coordinator) Wink (Martindale) asks those guys to do. I just feel like he’s playing good ball.”

Pinnock has looked special in the preseason

All summer long, Pinnock has looked special. At the start of the summer, there appeared to be a competition for the second starting safety job opposite Xavier McKinney. That competition did not last long as Pinnock quickly locked down the starting gig.

“Pinnock has been having a real good camp,” Giants WR Isaiah Hodgins said. “I just like the competitiveness that he has in his game and how fierce he plays and how he approaches it. But also his film study and how he takes care of his body, he’s just a real pro. I can tell he really wants it, and it’s a really important year for him.”

In Big Blue’s first preseason game, Pinnock looked like a star on the field. Despite playing just five snaps, Pinnock managed to total a tackle for loss, two pass breakups, and an interception.

Filling the void left behind by Julian Love will not be an easy task, but Pinnock seems to be up for the challenge. The Giants can now enter Week 1 against the Dallas Cowboys with confidence in their defensive backfield.

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