Giants testing veteran cornerback in new role

new york giants, darnay holmes

The New York Giants are overhauling their secondary this season after enduring a couple of key departures in free agency. The new personnel has prompted the coaching staff to mix and match the lineup, testing to see who will fit best in which role. One of the players being moved around is veteran cornerback Darnay Holmes.

Throughout his career, Holmes has been a quality nickel cornerback for the Giants. But during the team’s mandatory minicamp, Holmes spent a lot of his time playing outside cornerback.

Darnay Holmes got a lot of reps on the outside

New York Giants cornerback Darnay Holmes (30) and wide receiver Darius Slayton (86) participate in organized team activities (OTA's) at the Giants training center on Wednesday, May 31, 2023, in East Rutherford.
Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran/ / USA TODAY NETWORK

According to Giant Insider, Holmes got a lot of reps on the outside during Tuesday’s minicamp practice. Art Stapleton of North Jersey reported that Holmes’s boundary cornerback reps came with the second team.

Holmes played outside cornerback primarily throughout his collegiate career before transitioning into the slot at the NFL level. He was drafted by Big Blue in the fourth round in 2019 and has been with the team ever since, appearing in 54 games and making 11 starts in four seasons.

In 2023, Holmes played a career-low 123 snaps, only 23% of the Giants’ defensive snaps that season. He will hope to bounce back and earn more playing time in 2024, but the recent addition of rookie nickel Andru Phillips could hold him back. But if Holmes can prove his worth as a boundary cornerback as well, he could fight for playing time this season.

The Giants could use more depth at outside cornerback

new york giants, darnay holmes, Giants, nyg
Nov 28, 2021; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants cornerback Darnay Holmes (30) intercepts a pass intended for Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Quez Watkins (16) at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

The Giants recently signed veteran cornerback Tre Herndon to their roster, providing them with some quality depth on the inside. Herndon has primarily played the nickel cornerback role throughout his career. Though he has spent a decent amount of time on the outside too, Herndon is viewed primarily as a depth signing in the slot.

Deonte Banks and Cor’Dale Flott are expected to be the Giants’ two starting cornerbacks on the boundary this season. But behind them are a slew of unproven backups. Nick McCloud stands out as one of the better cornerbacks on the roster, but even he is relatively unproven. As are the rest of the backups in Tre Hawkins III, Aaron Robinson, and David Long Jr.

Holmes having the ability to play both on the inside and the outside increases his chances of making the final roster while also giving the Giants more flexibility in case of any injuries. Right now, their secondary is thin. They lack experience and are banking on youth players to develop into quality starters. However, their veteran backups increase the floor of the secondary’s potential and give the Giants flexibility entering the 2024 season.

Mentioned in this article:

More about: