The Giants have completely rebuilt their secondary

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
Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants have pulled out all the stops to rejuvenate their secondary this off-season, strategically bolstering their cornerback roster and securing a fresh strong safety for the 2023 campaign. Armed with two rookies, Big Blue is all set to counter their Week 1 rival, the Dallas Cowboys.

A Closer Look at the Giants’ Rejuvenated Secondary

So, what exactly has changed in the Giants’ secondary, and what potential are we talking about here? Let’s break it down.

CB Deonte Banks: A Blend of Athleticism and Versatility

Drafted with the 24th overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, Deonte Banks was brought in primarily for two things: Athleticism and upside. With the highest athleticism score among cornerbacks at the NFL Combine and the third-highest in a decade, this 22-year-old checks all the boxes for Wink Martindale’s defensive scheme.

At 6-foot and 205 pounds, Banks shines both as an aggressive run defender and a player versatile enough for both man and zone coverage.

In this preseason, Banks was involved in 61 snaps, recording three tackles and shutting down four targets without allowing a single reception. From day one, he was slated to be a Big Blue starter, but he’s not the only rookie making waves.

CB Tre Hawkins: The Underdog from Old Dominion

Tre Hawkins beat the odds, hailing from the less-heralded Old Dominion University. Making the most of his training camp and preseason chances, he too played 61 snaps. Hawkins managed five tackles, a couple of stops in the run game, and gave up just 30 yards over four receptions from six targets.

Aggressive and reactive, Hawkins has held his own pretty well, even when opponents targeted him. With a sturdy 6-foot-3, 195-pound frame, this 23-year-old shows promise as we approach the regular season.

CB Adoree Jackson: The Experienced Slot Corner

Expected to transition into the slot against Dallas in Week 1, Adoree Jackson is the Giants’ most seasoned defensive back at 27. The USC product played 554 snaps last season before a knee injury sidelined him. During his tenure, he allowed 338 yards in coverage, snatched two interceptions, and made seven pass breakups. Last season, he notably excelled in run defense under Martindale’s scheme, which seems to have elevated his overall play.

SS Jason Pinnock: The Jets’ Loss, Giants’ Gain

Snagged off waivers last year after the New York Jets let him go, Jason Pinnock comes into the Giants’ fold with plenty of promise. The 24-year-old strong safety played 459 snaps in 2022, recording 35 tackles and nine stops while allowing only 161 yards in coverage. With expectations running high for his debut season as a starter, Pinnock stands as a beacon of potential in the Giants’ revamped secondary.

FS Xavier McKinney: The Linchpin in the Last Line

As a 25-year-old free safety entering a contract year, Xavier McKinney aims for nothing less than brilliance. While contract negotiations with the Giants are on hold for now, a strong season could change that. McKinney, who participated in 554 snaps last year, racked up 31 tackles and eight stops, despite missing some time due to a BYE week ATV accident that fractured multiple fingers. Adept both in the box and as a free safety, McKinney remains an essential element of the Giants’ defense, especially under Martindale’s blitz-heavy approach.

With such comprehensive upgrades, the New York Giants are geared up to showcase a formidable secondary in 2023 — there could be rookie hurdles to overcome, but the unit’s upside is undeniable.

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