The New York Giants have made an effort to improve their secondary in recent years. The 2019 NFL Draft saw New York invest three draft picks into defensive backs (four if you count Sam Beal). The most exciting prospect that the Giants landed was DeAndre Baker at the end of the first round.
After selecting Daniel Jones and Dexter Lawrence with the sixth and seventeenth picks, the Giants traded back up into the first round to secure the stud Georgia cornerback. Baker was plugged in as a starter on the defense immediately, but he struggled to make an impact right away.
In fact, DeAndre Baker was a liability in coverage for the majority of his rookie season. But he did show a lot of improvement in the second half of the season and flashed his potential as a great NFL cornerback. That being said, what should the Giants expect from DeAndre Baker heading into his sophomore season in 2020?
Cornerback Two, Again
Last season, the Giants’ primary cornerback was Janoris Jenkins. This season it will be James Bradberry, the Giants’ latest and greatest free-agent acquisition. Bradberry is a solid press-coverage outside cornerback, just like Baker was expected to be coming out of college. So in 2020, Bradberry will be the Giants’ primary cornerback with Baker manning up the opposite side of the field as the second cornerback on the depth chart.
A New Scheme
DeAndre Baker is getting a new scheme to play in next season. This is surely music to his ears as Baker was not at all a scheme fit in James Bettcher’s defense. Bettcher often had Baker sit in zone coverage and play far off the line of scrimmage. Somehow Bettcher did not understand that Baker is a press-man cornerback. Jamming wide receivers at the line of scrimmage and locking them down in man coverage is what DeAndre strived in at Georgia.
The Giants’ new defensive coordinator, however, will utilize DeAndre Baker’s skillset. The Giants’ defense in 2020 will feature a lot of man coverage and press coverage. This is exactly what Baker needs to improve his game- a defense that prioritizes the things he is best at.
A Strong Finish To His Rookie Season
As I mentioned earlier, DeAndre Baker exhibited a lot of improvement in the second half of the 2019 season. Baker had 8 passes defended in 2019, 5 of which came in the final four games of the season. Against the Bears and Eagles in Week 14, Baker allowed only one catch on seven targets for seven yards combined, adding three pass breakups (According to Pro Football Focus).
In a new and improved defensive scheme, DeAndre Baker is a breakout candidate for the Giants in 2020. The young cornerback was truly lockdown in college and cornerbacks have a steep learning curve when entering the league. Hopefully, Baker can make the jump in his second season and prove to be the first-round prospect we all thought he was.