While the offensive line was the weakest link on the New York Giants in 2017 by far, the unit has been upgraded substantially over the course of the offseason. The line remains unproven, despite the additions of left tackle Nate Solder and guards, Patrick Omameh and Will Hernandez. We can assume there will be an improvement nonetheless.
Now that the line has been solidified, the unit that remains untouched and stripped are the cornerbacks. With Janoris Jenkins in a bit of legal trouble as a dead body was found in his home, the group is in serious danger of being left with little depth and talent. It’s likely that Jenkins is found not-guilty of being an associate in the death of his family friend, due to him being in Florida since the commencement of mini-camp.
Why are the cornerbacks the weakest link for the New York Giants?
General manager Dave Gettleman heavily invested in the offensive line, choosing to disregard the secondary, similar to what he did with the Carolina Panthers. Gettleman’s ideology is – strength in the trenches equals wins. He signed several corners this offseason, but none are considered starting quality talent.
The current unit consists of Janoris Jenkins, Eli Apple, William Gay, Chris Lewis-Harris, Grant Haley, Teddy Williams, B.W. Webb, Curtis Riley, and Donte Deayon. While some of these options, likely Williams, Webb, and Lewis-Harris are on the bubble, the retained talent still doesn’t present means for optimism.
The Giants ranked 31st in pass-yards allowed in 2017, averaging 252.4. They didn’t do much to improve their unit and may have actually gotten worse after letting Ross Cockrell leave in free agency. In addition, no draft picks were spent on upgrading the position, but rather undrafted free agents were brought in to earn a starting role on an NFL team; that’s never a good idea.
A lot of expectations for William Gay:
The overall depth is a major point of concern with the cornerbacks, which puts a lot of pressure on Gay, the Giants’ third-option at CB. Gay played in just 271 defensive snaps with the Pittsburgh Steelers last season; their secondary recently went through a major youth overhaul. Gay will be 34-years old this season, but is a stellar cover-corner when at the top of his game. It’s possible his best days are behind him given his age, but there’s a reason he was signed to play a reserve role. Injury concerns will, as always, be something to look out for in a veteran corner, but if the starters can remain healthy, he can play an essential role in keeping Jenkins and Apple fresh throughout the season.