Giants projected to have young and inexperienced, but promising secondary in 2024

Oct 22, 2023; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New York Giants cornerback Deonte Banks (25) celebrates after an interception against the Washington Commanders during the first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants are entering the 2024 season with an abundance of youth and inexperience starting in their defense. Their secondary in particular has been overturned with younger talent poised to break out this season.

The Giants have an inexperienced secondary

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver A.J. Brown (11) catches the ball as New York Giants cornerback Nick McCloud (44) pursues during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium
Jan 7, 2024; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver A.J. Brown (11) catches the ball as New York Giants cornerback Nick McCloud (44) pursues during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Of the Giants’ five starters in the secondary, none of them have more than three professional seasons under their belts.

Outside cornerbacks Deonte Banks and Nick McCloud are entering their second and fourth seasons respectively, nickel cornerbacks Cor’Dale Flott and Andru Phillips are entering their third and rookie seasons, respectively, and safeties Jason Pinnock and Tyler Nubin are entering their fourth and rookie seasons, respectively.

After electing not to add a veteran starter in free agency, New York is heading into the season with a bunch of young players in their defensive backfield. Pinnock leads the secondary in starts with just 23 made starts in his career thus far.

Rookie defensive backs have great potential for Big Blue

Syndication: The Record, tyler nubin, new york giants
Credit: Chris Pedota, NorthJersey.com / USA TODAY NETWORK

Two of the Giants’ projected starters, safety Tyler Nubin and nickel cornerback Andru Phillips, are rookies who were drafted just last month. Nubin was taken in Round 2 and Phillips was taken in Round 3, but both of these day-two picks are expected to see significant playing time in year one.

Nubin is an exciting young safety talent with immense potential. He was the No. 1 ranked safety in this year’s draft class and ranked No. 31 overall on Pro Football Focus’s Big Board, despite being taken all the way at pick No. 47. Nubin is Minnesota‘s all-time leader in interceptions, totaling 13 in his career. He posted a 33.0 passer rating allowed in coverage since 2021, per PFF. Nubin will be the Giants’ starting free safety this season.

Phillips is also an exciting rookie who PFF was also high on. They named the Giants’ selection of Phillips the best of any pick in the third round. The Kentucky product had a career-best 23 defensive stops which led all SEC cornerbacks in 2023, per PFF. He is expected to start in the slot for Big Blue, but has the versatility to play outside cornerback as well.

The Giants have a pair of young cornerbacks ready to take a step forward

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Jayden Reed (11) runs the ball after a catch against New York Giants cornerback Deonte Banks (25) during the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium
Dec 11, 2023; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; Green Bay Packers wide receiver Jayden Reed (11) runs the ball after a catch against New York Giants cornerback Deonte Banks (25) during the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Two of the Giants’ returning starters are both young and preparing to embark on breakout campaigns. Deonte Banks, last year’s first-round pick, is entering his second season and looking to build off of what was a solid rookie year. He quickly became the team’s primary cornerback and is readying up to develop further into that role this season. Banks snagged two interceptions and racked up 11 pass defenses as a rookie.

Alongside Banks is third-year cornerback Cor’Dale Flott, who has primarily played in the nickel, but seems like to move to outside cornerback this season. Head coach Brian Daboll told reporters that he has a lot of confidence in Flott’s ability to step up as the team’s second starter on the outside this season. Flott finished the 2023 season with one pick and five pass defenses.

The Giants’ projected starting secondary is young and inexperienced, but each player has a high ceiling and rather exciting potential to develop. Under new defensive coordinator Shane Bowen, zone coverage will be deployed at a high rate, hopefully simplifying things for an inexperienced defensive backfield that will need to be the glue for this unit.


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