Giants’ veteran cornerback could steal the starting CB2 job

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
Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants’ No. 2 cornerback job is open for competition this summer as the coaching staff searches for the player to lock down the starting job opposite Deonte Banks. While third-year cornerback Cor’Dale Flott seems to be the leading man for the position, the Giants do have a veteran cornerback who could attempt to steal the starting job.

Nick McCloud could aim to steal the Giants’ No. 2 cornerback role

Oct 22, 2023; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; Washington Commanders wide receiver Terry McLaurin (17) unable hang on to a first half pass as New York Giants cornerback Nick McCloud (44) defends at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Nick McCloud is entering his fourth career season, aiming to step into a larger role after flashing potential in 2023. Over the past two seasons with the Giants, McCloud has only been on the field for 849 defensive snaps. However, he has managed to make an impact in his small sample size of playing time.

In 2023, McCloud earned a 74.8 overall Pro Football Focus grade, which led all Giants cornerbacks on the year. He totaled 28 combined tackles, two pass defenses, and one interception while surrendering only 128 yards, one touchdown, and a 60.9% completion rate (14/23) in coverage. McCloud also added three forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries while also missing just one tackle on the year.

Despite his small sample size, McCloud was impressive whenever he took the field last season. His hallmark moment came in Week 18 against the Philadelphia Eagles. McCloud got the start in that game and performed well, surrendering just three receptions on five targets for 29 yards with three tackles and one forced fumble.

McCloud played well during the final stretch of the season while playing an expanded role. He seemed ready to step into a full-time starting gig, but will face competition for that job this summer.

McCloud will have to compete for the starting job

New York Giants cornerback Cor'Dale Flott (28) and New England Patriots wide receiver Tyquan Thornton (11) fight for the ball in the 2nd half at MetLife Stadium

Flott is the leading man for the No. 2 cornerback job after head coach Brian Daboll expressed confidence in him to take over the starting position this offseason. It’s Flott’s job to lose but McCloud could be the man to take the position out from underneath him.

But even if Flott does win the starting job, McCloud has certainly earned himself some extra playing time in the 2024 season. He played well enough last year to prove to the coaching staff that he can be relied on as a rotational starter. If injuries occur in the secondary, McCloud should be the first man up to be inserted as a spot starter.

Flott has missed 10 games due to injuries over the first two seasons of his career. His injury history should encourage McCloud to stay the course and continue to maintain his role as the team’s primary backup cornerback.

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