The Senior Bowl featured several stand-out players, but one defender the New York Giants could target in the mid-round is cornerback Thomas Graham.
The Giants have struggled with the CB2 position in recent years, featuring Corey Ballentine to start the 2020 season and quickly moving onto Ryan Lewis. After Lewis picked up an injury, Isaac Yiadom took over the starting job, playing a majority of snaps after week eight.
While Yiadom did have some decent performances, notably against the Arizona Cardinals, where he posted a 77.2 overall grade and allowed just 8 yards in coverage, the Giants likely donâ€™t feel confident moving forward with him as a starting option.
The team will gain back Sam Beal in 2021, as he opted out due to COVID-19 last season. Julian Love also showed some promise at corner in the final two weeks of the year, indicating a potential position battle.
However, taking a chance on a corner in the mid-rounds could be a beneficial move, especially with Darnay Holmes proving to be a solid slot corner last year out of the fourth round.
What would Graham bring to the New York Giants?
Thomas is an intriguing player out of Oregon, displaying solid strength in man coverage and the ability to press effectively against bigger opponents. He is not an elite athlete with above-average speed, but he is fundamentally sound, a trait that normally transfers to the NFL.
One of most overlooked things when evaluating nickel DB is accounting for whether or not they have substance to handle bigger slot WRs. Impressive rep here by @oregonfootball CB Thomas Graham, who’s giving up 4.5” and 18 lbs. @_TG4__ also was FBS leader in PD (40) entering 2020. pic.twitter.com/OyWxUdfDgG
— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) February 24, 2021
Graham has already met with most teams in person during the Senior Bowl, meaning the Giants have done their due diligence on the Oregon product. Having a developmental player who has high upside based on his technique is a positive, and while most teams might bet on athleticism over fundamentals, Graham is an exception.
Having a strong presence opposite James Bradberry in the secondary would be phenomenal, and while the Giants could take a look at several veteran free agents, finding cost-efficient youth is likely a more productive method of asset appropriation.
The Giants simply donâ€™t have a plethora of money to spend this off-season, still having to retain Leonard Williams and potentially Dalvin Tomlinson. With that being the case, I fully expect them to allocate a draft pick on a corner, and while Alabama stand out, Patrick Surtain and Virginia Tech speedster Caleb Farley could be on the board at 11, the Giantsâ€™ needs on offense outweigh their needs on defense.