The New York Giants have an awkward dilemma in their secondary. Second-year cornerback DeAndre Baker was recently arrested, then later released on bond. Some information seems to indicate his innocence, but nothing is certain yet. Whether he is exonerated of his charges or not, the Giants need a backup plan at the cornerback position.
The Giants have James Bradberry as their primary cornerback. Opposite of him, the plan was to watch DeAndre Baker develop after a tumultuous rookie season. Baker struggled mightily on the field and was reported to have some trouble off the field, too. The hope was that Baker could take his game to the next level in a new defensive scheme. Hopefully, that still happens. But what if it doesn’t? What will the Giants do about their second outside cornerback position?
New York has a few options on their roster from which they can choose. But the most intriguing possibility is someone that many would not even consider an option. Newly drafted rookie cornerback Darnay Holmes should have a shot to compete for the outside cornerback position. Holmes was drafted to play the nickel cornerback position. Holmes could probably be a day one starter in the slot. But fans might have been too quick to write Darnay Holmes off as an outside cornerback.
Why Darnay Holmes Could Succeed On The Outside:
Darnay Holmes was drafted to play inside at the nickel cornerback position. But this would be a first for Darnay. The cornerback spent his collegiate career at UCLA playing outside cornerback. Darnay’s playing style is actually similar to that of a prototypical outside cornerback. The problem is, Holmes is small. Darnay stands in at roughly 5 feet 10 inches and 195 pounds (but it would not be surprising if those numbers are a little high).
Trust me, I’m not crazy. I’m not the only one who thinks Holmes can succeed on the outside. Like I said, his playing style is more suitable for the outside than it is for the inside- he is just a bit undersized. Below you will find a quote by an expert draft analyst who agrees with me:
“Darnay Holmes projects best as a boundary corner in off-man coverage. Holmes’ stature is probably best suited for the nickel, but some pedestrian tackling enthusiasm suggests he’d thrive more in a true cover role.” – Kyle Crabbs of The Draft Network
There are other prominent voices who see success in Darnay’s future. If you disregard my thoughts and the thoughts of one of the best draft analysts in the industry, maybe you will take the words of a few NFL legends into consideration.
High Expectations Among NFL Legends
Rod Woodson, Deion Sanders, and Aeneas Williams. What do all three of these former NFL players have in common? They are all Hall of Famers. Anything else? Oh yeah, they have all publicly stated their support and belief in Darnay Holmes. These three legends share the opinion that Darnay Holmes was one of the biggest steals of the 2020 NFL Draft (selected by the Giants in the fourth round).
Rod Woodson, Deion Sanders, and Aeneas Williams have all worked with Darnay Holmes as mentors in his past. So maybe they have some bias, but they do seem pretty confident in their protégé. Here are some quotes from the Hall of Famers that helped Darnay Holmes get where he is today (all quotes via Jordan Raanan of ESPN):
“I know he was taken in the fourth round. But I like his mindset. No coach can measure one’s heart and one’s mind until you start playing. I think when I’ve seen him playing and talked to Carnell and his son, just the way he moves and how fluid he is and has that recall during the games when people are doing stuff to him that makes you kind of excited to watch a player like that.” – Rod Woodson
“I was thinking in the back of my mind, a team is going to get a steal.” – Aeneas Williams
“He looked flawless. Was unbelievable.” – Deion Sanders on Darnay Holmes’s impressive work in the speed-turn drill at the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine
Darnay Holmes has received high praise from some of the best ever to do it. Taking this into consideration, along with Darnay’s excellent coverage ability, there is no reason to consider Holmes strictly a slot cornerback at this point. He deserves a chance to prove himself on the outside. Whether DeAndre Baker returns to the team or not, the Giants should allow Darnay Holmes to compete for the outside cornerback position.