In the 2018 Supplemental Draft the New York Giants won their silent bid on Sam Beal with their 3rd round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.
While it felt like a win for the team at the moment, he was quickly sent to season-ending IR after just one practice.
The team certainly could’ve used him last year but looking at the 2019 cornerback depth chart the competition appears to be more challenging for the 2nd year cornerback.
That leads us to this question: Is he a lock to make the New York Giants?
Here’s the main cornerback assets:
Up top is Janoris Jenkins as the proven veteran and best cornerback on the team. The only way he leaves this roster before 2020 is via trade.
DeAndre Baker was selected 30th overall in 2019 and has looked far better than what you could ask of a rookie cornerback. He’s not going anywhere.
Grant Haley has had a very solid camp and doesn’t appear to be losing his starting position at nickelback anytime soon.
Corey Ballentine was only a 6th round pick in 2019 but has been a very pleasant surprise for the team. He’s had his fair share of first-team reps with DeAndre Baker resting his knee.
Luckily for Sam Beal, Julian Love is occupying a spot at safety instead of cornerback.
Who’s Sam Beal competing with?
At this point it’s safe to consider those 4 cornerbacks larger priorities for the team than Sam Beal.
This means it’s down to Sam Beal vs. Antonio Hamilton for potentially 1 more spot on the roster. If the team were to keep 6 cornerbacks both would be viable options, barring Beal’s health.
If they only keep 5 cornerbacks which one makes the team?
On one hand, the Giants invested highly in Sam Beal with what would’ve been the 70th overall pick in the 2019 Draft. They just can’t get him healthy to find out what he’s capable of so far.
On the other hand, Antonio Hamilton was only a UDFA (undrafted free agent) in 2017, now going into his 3rd season. His productivity has been a pleasant surprise, Hamilton has rotated with Corey Ballentine for first-team reps with Baker out of the lineup.
It would be painful for GM Dave Gettleman to flush what would’ve been the 70th pick in the 2019 Draft. While that much is true, sometimes a mistake is a mistake. Gettleman has proved before he doesn’t mind correcting his own mistakes by releasing Patrick Omameh a few months after signing him to 3 year/$15 million contract with $5.5 million guaranteed. He then traded away Odell Beckham Jr. just 1 year into a 5 year/$95 million extension with $65 million guaranteed. Parting with a recent 3rd round pick wouldn’t be the hardest transaction Gettleman has had to make. Especially when considering the move would be about his health rather than failing to draft adequate talent.
At this point, the New York Giants keeping 6 cornerbacks seems like Sam Beal’s most likely path to making the team. Unfortunately for Beal, the last time the team kept 6 cornerbacks was in 2015. The New York Giants are under new management making the past less relevant but the new-comers only kept 5 cornerbacks last year as well.
What should the team do?
Ultimately, this comes down to a numbers game with the roster. If the team can only keep 5 cornerbacks due to being light at other positions a short stay for Sam Beal in New York could be more understandable. If the team can manage to sneak him on the backend of the roster as a 6th cornerback this would be ideal considering his price tag. Teams very rarely cut a 2nd-year player who equates to a Day 2 selection in the Draft, even when they’re injury-prone players.
Sam Beal might not be a lock for the roster but based on what the team paid for him recently, they’d be foolish to not at least try to prioritize keeping him.