The probability of an undrafted free agent finding success in the NFL is unlikely, but it’s certainly possible, just ask New York Giants defensive tackle Damon Harrison.
The Giants’ defense saw an influx of talent at the linebacker and defensive line positions – signing Alec Ogletree, Kareem Martin, Josh Mauro, and drafting B.J. Hill and R.J. McIntosh. The secondary didn’t see much of any upgrade, as GM Dave Gettleman elected to address positions of need with aging veterans that were never above-average players in the first place.
In addition to the veteran pickups, the Giants picked up several UDFA’s to provide competition at cornerback. Corners Grant Haley (Penn State) and Aaron Davis (Georgia) will battle for the slot corner position, with Davis likely to play a reserve role on the exterior.
Delving into Haley and Davis:
Haley acquires extreme quickness, which attests to his potential in the slot. Primarily, wide-outs have more strength and speed, allowing them to expose deep routes. In the slot, Haley will face off against smaller receivers with more quickness than speed, which should match up perfectly with his skill-set. His frame is quite small, though: 5-foot-9, 190-pounds.
Confidence should be high in Haley, as it was a surprise he wasn’t drafted. He has four years of quality coverage experience and will certainly play a solid role on the defense given the opportunity on the active roster.
Aaron Davis on the other hand is a wild-card, but his 4.40 40-yard dash speed and versatility have gotten him an opportunity with the Giants. He has some upside, but there isn’t much information on him to properly address his potential.
Ultimately, it will come down to his ability to develop and show the coaching staff that his speed can translate to the NFL level. At the University of Georgia, Davis showed a keen ability to get in on tackles and be around the ball. His speed allowed him to contribute assists on tackles and provide support in coverage. He will look to play a similar role on the Giants in 2018 if given an opportunity.