The narrative pointed at the New York Giants’ secondary prior to the 2019 NFL draft was certainly a bad one. Featuring just Janoris Jenkins, Sam Beal, and Grant Haley in the defensive backfield, the Giants needed to make several major moves to upgrade the unit.
Beal, a third-round supplemental draft pick from 2018, missed all of last season with a shoulder injury that required surgery. The Giants knew about the ailment but saw the upside in his talent electing to take him anyway. He will now compete with two new corners that present a fantastic value in the first and fourth-round round specifically.
Deandre Baker, coined the best corner in the draft, and Julian Love, an absolute steal in the fourth, will now battle it out for starting jobs alongside Beal and Haley.
The Penn State undrafted free agent from 2018 will compete with Love in the slot position playing primarily in nickel packages. The unit turned over completely after the draft — here’s a look at a before and after the draft:
Outside: Janoris Jenkins/Sam Beal Inside: Grant Haley
Outside: Janoris Jenkins/Sam Beal/ Deandre Baker/Julian Love Inside: Grant Haley/Julian Love
Adding two new immediate starters to the unit will help in extracting the most value out of the players they have. Beal’s value is unknown, but his lack of experience will not help when it comes to earning a starting role. However, I do believe that the plan is to provide Beal with a year’s worth of experience in a reserve role.
What the New York Giants’ plan could look like:
With Jenkins’ contract expiring at the end of 2020, the plan could be to provide Beal and Baker with plenty of experience to take over upon his departure. Baker will likely emerge as the No. 1 option on the team with Love featuring in the slot. This would provide the supplemental draft pick, Beal, with a chance to earn the No. 2 corner spot.
This plan would not only be the ideal scenario, but it would provide the Giants with a young core in the secondary for years to come. Of course, we cannot forget about Corey Ballentine either. The sixth-round pick was recently shot in a terrible incident, but he’s expected to make a full recovery and join the Giants for mini-camp. He’s a long shot to compete for a starting role, but I wouldn’t rule him out as his size and speed are impressive.
Ballentine still has some room for growth in regards to his instincts and awareness, but a year of development will do wonders for his future success.
The Safety position:
Moving on to the safeties, the Giants are betting big on former Arizona Cardinal, Antoine Bethea. His relationship with DC James Bettcher played a big part in bringing him over to New York. I do like this move as he still has some gas left in the tank and will be a fantastic mentor for the new members in the secondary.
In addition to Bethea, the Giants now have Jabrill Peppers prowling the secondary. He’s realistically Landon Collins’ replacement, but he’s far less of talent against the run. Peppers can cover well and line up all over the field like a Swiss Army knife. Bettcher will get the most value out of him playing him in coverage and close to the line of scrimmage. I’m extremely excited to see what he can do in the secondary this season. Bethea should be a fantastic mentor for Peppers as well.