New York Giants have a position battle brewing at slot corner – here’s what to know

New York Giants, Corey Ballentine

Taking a look at the slot corner position and where the New York Giants stand:

Reflecting back on the 2019 season, the defense was a significant deficiency that plagued the potential success of the team. New York Giants’ GM Dave Gettleman allocated ample draft-capital toward bolstering the secondary last offseason, injecting youth into a unit that was already thin, to begin with. Ultimately, struggles were expected, but the Giants ranked as one of the worst defensive units in the league and put immense pressure on the offense to score points.

Daniel Jones endured two losses where he threw four touchdown passes — that’s unacceptable on every level. Improving the defense as a whole was a priority this offseason, as Gettleman made numerous signings in free agency and drafted free safety Xavier McKinney out of Alabama to sure up the deep-half of the field.

However, one position of weakness was at slot corner. Grant Haley, Corey Ballentine, and Julian Love all spent time in the slot, but none of the three enjoyed any real success. Love’s sample size was too small to determine his adequacy, Haley is a solid run-stopper from the slot but struggles in coverage, and Ballentine was a liability in all facets of the game as a late-round pick in 2019.

In the most recent draft, Big Blue landed UCLA corner Darnay Holmes in the fourth round, who was projected as one of the best nickel prospects in the draft by NFL analysts.

Holmes, who endured a troublesome childhood and graduated from UCLA in three-years, enjoyed a special moment after being drafted:

“After I was selected, [my family and I] did a little champagne toast and my dad said something that stuck with me,” Holmes wrote. “‘New York is a place where you’re going to be under a lot of pressure. The fans there love their football and demand winning.’ Then he raised his glass. ‘This is going to be the toughest challenge you’ve ever faced, but Son, you were built for this. Embrace it. Now it’s time to put your head down and get to work!’

Holmes brings ample knowledge and athleticism to a position that has been empty for quite some time. If the undersized corner can utilize his speed and coverage skills to match up with quick pass-catchers at the NFL, his value could extend far beyond the fourth round.

The Giants made sure to inject talent into the position to try and bring the best out of the players they already had on the roster. Holmes will battle it out with Love, Haley, and Ballentine in the coming months, and hopefully, it will result in the position being solidified for years to come.