One of the more underrated position battles of the 2019 offseason might come at the cornerback position for the New York Giants. If the first day of OTAs had any indication of what the Giants’ mindset is going into the start of full-team practices, it’s that second-year corner Sam Beal has claim to the first-team reps.
Beal was a Supplemental Draft selected in 2018, finishing the year on injured reserve after succumbing to season-ending surgery before the regular-season even began. An unfortunate circumstance for Beal, despite the team, knowing about the ailment prior to drafting him.
However, Beal is a feisty corner with solid instincts. He’s not the fastest defender on the field, but he’s pesky and will play tight in man-coverage. He had a solid first day of OTAs on Monday, securing an interception and nearly coming up with a second off Eli Manning.
New York Giants: An exciting position battle is forming
First-round pick, DeAndre Baker, started OTAs with the 2nd-string team. This was surprising as Beal and Baker theoretically have the same amount of NFL experience given the former’s injury.
Nonetheless, Beal performed well, and head coach Pat Shurmur noticed, stating:
“Beal looked pretty good, he has to get his seas legs a bit, but he looked good.”
This is very good news for the second-year player, given he’s coming off a significant injury and surgery. This presents a big challenge for Baker, one that some did not anticipate given his quality at Georgia and tenacity in coverage.
What does DeAndre Baker bring to the Giants?
Big Blue is getting a potentially premium corner in Baker, the top-ranked player at his position from the 2019 NFL Draft. The Giants moved up into the first-round from the 37th pick to grab him.
Last season, he tallied nine passes defended, two interceptions, and one forced fumble. He’s a physical corner that can match up with any wide receiver. He has elite speed and man-coverage capabilities. The expectation is that he will secure the No. 2 corner spot opposite Janoris Jenkins, but Beal has certainly shown he can provide competition in a limited sample size.