New York Giants: Could Grant Haley Still Be The Slot Cornerback In 2019?

New York Giants cornerback, Grant Haley.

The New York Giants‘ defense was pitiful in the team’s all-around disappointing 2018 season. The Giants finished 5-11, dead last in their division for the second straight season.

The Giants’ secondary allowed 252.8 yards per game in 2018, ranked 23rd in the league. The Giants had players such as cornerback B.W. Webb and safety Curtis Riley playing in their defense. Webb was the 77th ranked cornerback in the NFL according to Pro Football Focus, while Riley was the 79th ranked safety.

The Giants knew they could not go into the 2019 season starting below-average players in the secondary, so they invested heavily in that position in the 2019 offseason. In the 2019 NFL Draft, the New York Giants drafted 3 cornerbacks (4 if you count cornerback Sam Beal). They also acquired their new starting safety, Jabrill Peppers, via trade in the 2019 offseason.

The Giants’s secondary is completely revamped now. However, there are still a couple of question marks. For example, it is still yet to be known who will be the Giants’ free safety of the future. In the imminent, there are also questions, such as how it is still unknown who the Giants will start at slot cornerback in 2019. However, there are reasons to believe the slot cornerback position will be secured by the same young man who started at that position last year.

Grant Haley Stats And Highlights

The Giants started an undrafted free agent rookie at slot cornerback in 2018. That rookie was Grant Haley out of Penn State. Haley already looks like a diamond hidden (and found) in the rough.

Grant Haley played in 10 games and started 9 of them. In those 10 games, Haley recorded 33 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, and 2 passes defended. Grant Haley was the highest graded Giants cornerback by Pro Football Focus in 2018.

Haley had an overall grade of 69.3, which is considered above average by PFF’s metrics. Janoris Jenkins’s grade was only a 68.0, so Haley technically outplayed the Giants’ best cornerback.

Grant Haley flashed his true potential in week 12 of the 2018 season. This was a game on the road against Philadelphia. The Giants lost this game, but not due to the play of Grant Haley.

Haley’s matchup was targeted 5 times in week 12. Grant allowed only 2 completions for 22 yards. He also forced 1 incompletion and allowed a 53.8 QB Rating against him.  This earned Grant Haley an 86.0 Slot Coverage Grade in week 12 which was the best of any player in the NFL with a minimum of 10 coverage snaps.

Grant Haley flashed his potential a few times in 2018 and played solid at the slot cornerback position. He has a bit of competition for that starting job this year, but Haley has proven that he has the ability to start and provide quality snaps at the slot cornerback position. If Grant Haley can have more games like his 2018 week 12 performance, he will keep his starting job in the slot.

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