Over the past two years, the New York Giants have made it a priority to strengthen their secondary. The Giants drafted three defensive backs in the 2019 NFL Draft and three more in the 2020 NFL Draft. On top of that, New York made a splash signing on a cornerback in the 2020 free agency period.
This offseason the New York Giants signed cornerback James Bradberry to a three-year, $43.5 million deal. Bradberry is a 26-year-old corner out of Samford who spent his first four seasons with the Carolina Panthers. Brabderry’s next three NFL seasons are slated to be played with the Giants. Over the course of his time with the Gmen, James Bradberry will be the X-factor of the team’s defense.
Why James Bradberry Is So Important
The New York Giants have a brand new coaching staff heading into the 2020 NFL season. New head coach Joe Judge hired Patrick Graham to be his defensive coordinator. The Giants will have a brand new defensive scheme to learn and implement this season:
Graham had a great defensive scheme in place. The two major play calls of the Miami defense were blitzing and man to man coverage. Graham was very clever with his blitzing packages, using a variety of linebacker and defensive back blitzes. In Miami, Graham would also send in delayed blitzes to really disturb an offense. This was not just done in between the gaps; the blitzes came from different spots on the field. The Dolphins Blitzed on 35% of their snaps, 41% on third down (which was the third-most in the league). The Dolphins ran man to man coverage 50% of the time in the 2019 season and would often show blitz and drop back into coverage. This was a great strategy in the Graham defense, keeping opposing offenses on their toes because of the constant blitzing formations. – Jack Quartararo of ESM
How successful the Giants are in executing this new man-coverage-heavy defensive scheme largely depends upon James Bradberry. As the team’s new number one cornerback, Bradberry’s performance in man-coverage will largely determine the success of the team’s secondary.
James Bradberry Stats and Highlights
In Carolina, Bradberry was used as a true number one cornerback. He followed the opposing team’s best wide receivers and shadowed them for the majority of games. In the NFC South, Brabderry went up against some of the best wide receiver competition in the entire league. Here’s how he fared:
James Bradberry shadows in 2019 pic.twitter.com/BJeoY1ayti
— Jeff Ratcliffe (@JeffRatcliffe) March 16, 2020
James Brabderry consistently got the better of his opponents in 2019. In the Giants’ new man-coverage defensive scheme, he will shadow the likes of Amari Cooper and Terry McLaurin. Will he continue to be the top dog in 2020?