The Giants’ defense will have a new and improved secondary in 2023

New York Giants cornerback Deonte Banks (36) breaks up a pass intended for Detroit Lions wide receiver Chase Cota (88) in the first quarter at Ford Field

The New York Giants will be displaying a new-look secondary this season. The unit is expected to be led by two rookies, CBs Deonte Banks and Tre Hawkins on the outside, followed by veteran CB Adoree’ Jackson moving over to the slot, and Jason Pinnock at safety opposite Xavier McKinney. Despite the lack of experience within the unit, the Giants are expecting their secondary to take a big step forward in 2023.

Expectations for two rookie cornerbacks starting on the outside

Banks was taken in the first round of this year’s draft and was expected to be a massive part of the secondary right away. But for Hawkins, a very strong camp is what elevated the sixth-round draft pick to a starting gig in defensive coordinator Wink Martindale’s secondary, and both rookies have received a lot of praise from their coaches.

“They’re both playing well right now and deserve the reps with the ones,” Martindale said to Sports Illustrated earlier this month. “We’re excited to see their growth. Every day is a new day for them as far as there’s something else they find out, and it’s fun to watch.”

Adoree’ Jackson moving into the slot

For Jackson, while he is moving away from his traditional spot as the main perimeter cornerback, he is ready to take on a new challenge as a slot cornerback. This move would ultimately allow him to continue playing his usual snap count while also playing alongside the two shining rookies.

“It’s all about helping the team at the end of the day,” Jackson said to the Giants’ website earlier this month. “Seeing where you can be put and placed and just do different things.”

A new safety emerges in the Giants’ secondary

Pinnock has quickly established himself as someone who can grow his game to a whole new level this season. The safety has been stellar in camp and preseason so far, including an interception recorded in the opening play of the preseason.

If Pinnock’s strong camp play translates into the regular season, the Giants will have themselves a very strong secondary that will put intense pressure on opposing offenses. The recent acquisition of Isaiah Simmons from the Cardinals also gives the team flexibility to place Simmons virtually all over the field, thanks to his versatility.

Pinnock will be the starter on the back end alongside McKinney. Entering his fourth season, McKinney is hoping to bounce back after a disappointing 2022 campaign in which he played just nine games and failed to snag a single interception. In this upcoming contract year, McKinney will hope to look more like he did in 2021 when he totaled five interceptions for Big Blue.

The Giants’ defense was one of their weak points despite last season’s success. But with the additions they made to bulk up the secondary, fans should be in for a treat watching their team’s defense go to work in 2023.

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