New York Giants: Who will replace James Bradberry at CB2?

aaron robinson, new york giants

The New York Giants made a major move today to free up salary-cap space. Veteran cornerback James Bradberry was released after two impressive seasons with the team. Bradberry was one of the Giants’ best players but they could not afford to keep him any longer. The move to release Bradberry freed up $10.1M in salary cap space for the Giants. New York now has money to invest in its rookies, but it also has a major hole to fill on its defense. Who will replace James Bradberry in the Giants’ starting lineup?

Could the Giants find Bradberry’s replacement in free agency?

There are a few free agents that the Giants could potentially target to replace James Bradberry. Releasing Bradberry freed up some cap space for the Giants to work with, but most of that money will be allocated toward their 2022 rookie draft class. With what little money shall remain, New York could look to sign a free agent on a veteran minimum contract.

Veteran cornerbacks like Joe Haden, Kyle Fuller, and Xavier Rhodes could be options for the Giants. All three of these cornerbacks play on the outside and have been in the league for some time. Admittedly, these guys are all past their prime playing years, but it could be beneficial for the Giants to sign one of these veterans with the hopes of receiving average cornerback play and stability along the boundaries.

Who could step up on the Giants’ roster?

Adoree’ Jackson is the new CB1 in town for the Giants. Jackson played as CB2 opposite of Bradberry in 2021 but will elevate to the primary role now. But who will now play opposite of Adoree’ Jackson? There are some young cornerbacks on the Giants’ roster who could compete for the position.

Aaron Robinson is a name to keep an eye on. The 2021 third-round pick flashed potential as a rookie. He played primarily as a slot cornerback in college and as a rookie, but Robinson’s aggression and size could make him a match on the outside. Aaron Robinson is 6-foot-1, 193 pounds, giving him adequate size as a boundary corner. He was targeted in coverage 30 times as a rookie, allowing 19 completions for 207 yards and 1 touchdown. ARob also managed to break up 3 passes while racking up 26 combined tackles after appearing in 9 games with 2 starts.

Another young cornerback that could compete outside is rookie cornerback Cordale Flott. The Giants drafted the LSU product in the fourth round of the 2022 NFL Draft. Cordale is another nickel cornerback that could convert to the outside. He is a bit light, though, to play on the boundary in the NFL. But where Flott lacks in size, he makes up for it with his aggression and ball skills. Cordale had 13 PBUs and an interception in college; 5 PBUs in 2021. In college, Flott aligned 394 times outside, 797 times in the slot, and 93 times in the box (PFF). The Giants will need to get Cordale Flott more comfortable outside if they view him as a replacement for James Bradberry.

2 Giants defenders who could have breakout seasons in 2022

azeez ojulari, giants

It is no secret the New York Giants are re-tooling for the 2022 season, given their two first-round picks and nine overall draft selections. With new management looking to rebuild the roster and set a foundation, there will be plenty of new faces after the draft.

However, there are a few young guys currently on the roster who could end up becoming legitimate impact players.

Two Giants defenders who could break out in 2022:

1.) Aaron Robinson

When the Giants drafted Aaron Robinson in the third round last year, nobody exactly knew what they were getting in the former UCF defensive back. However, Robinson was known for his physicality and aggressive style, which fits Wink Martindale’s defensive scheme to perfection.

Apparently, the Philadelphia Eagles were eyeing Robinson before the Giants leapfrogged them to make the selection. Last year, Robinson gave up 153 yards and one touchdown over 268 total snaps. His coverage grades were mostly solid, but he had a few hiccups trying to battle receivers downfield.

Nonetheless, Robinson learned plenty about positioning and using his body for leverage. Given he missed a good portion of the season due to injury, his upside was undoubtedly on display.

The 2nd year corner has a good head on his shoulders, focusing on learning and getting better each and every day:

“I feel like putting myself in a position with my coaches and — putting myself in a position to learn the material and, you know, like I just mentioned, trying to take everything the best way that I can and apply it to my game.”

Robinson spent time with Gabe Davis at UCF, mentioning how they would battle it out during practice. Davis was drafted by Joe Schoen and Brandon Bean’s Buffalo Bills in the 4th round two years ago, so there’s a connection (small but relevant).

“Definitely had some battles with Gabe. Pretty much just great work everywhere with those guys.”

If Robinson can unlock his aggressive style and dominate in man coverage, he could end up being a starter for the Giants moving forward. If Big Blue decides to trade James Bradberry to clear $11.7 million in cap space, Robinson could be thrust into a potential starting role, at the very least competing for snaps.

2.) Azeez Ojulari

One of the Giants’ most exciting young prospects is Azeez Ojulari, who tallied 8.0 sacks, 13 quarterback hits, and 49 combined tackles last season. He also picked up two passes defended, one forced fumble, and a tackles for loss.

Oddly, the Giants managed to snag Ojulari with the 50th overall pick last year after concerns regarding his knee began to bubble. However, it seems to have been all smoke given his solid production at just 21 years old.

Ojulari enjoyed his best performance of the season against the Carolina Panthers in Week 7 last year, posting eight tackles, three sacks, and four QB hurries. He was dominant against the Panthers, a game the Giants managed to win, holding their opponents to three points.

With a year of experience under his belt and a bit more functional strength, Ojulari should be not only a force rushing the passer but also sealing the edge in the run game. His development is key to the defense’s success. If the Giants manage to draft another high-end pass rusher to pair with him on the opposite side, they will be looking at an extremely exciting situation in the trenches.

New York Giants: Daniel Jones out, Sterling Shepard questionable going into Cowboys game

sterling shepard, new york giants

When the New York Giants take on the Cowboys for the second time this year, they’ll have to dig deep and win with less talent than usual. That’s because some important players will be out for this game, including Daniel Jones and cornerback Adoree’ Jackson.

The player that is the most important in all of this, of course, is Jones. Some reports have indicated that he’ll be shut down for the season, but we aren’t seeing that yet. Still, he hasn’t been cleared to return from his neck injury, and it looks at this point like more than a regular neck strain.

Mike Glennon is once again the starter for the Giants, who lack a fitting alternative.

Jones isn’t the only player out, though. The Giants will have cornerbacks Adoree’ Jackson and Aaron Robinson missing, after they were placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list earlier in the week. Kadarius Toney was also placed on the list, giving the Giants one less weapon in the receiving game.

For some players, the verdict isn’t out yet but things aren’t looking great. Ben Bredeson, Austin Johnson, Leonard Williams, and Sterling Shepard were marked as questionable and participated in limited practice on Friday. Shepard made his return from an absence since week 8 when he played against the Chargers, but is now dealing with a calf injury following that game.

Saquon Barkley was also limited in practice, but it looks more likely than not that he’ll play. Barkley played in the past 4 games despite being listed with an injury, and hasn’t been placed on the ‘questionable’ section of the injury report.

All in all, it’s clear the Giants will need a well thought out game plan to remain competitive in this one. With the current injuries, talent alone isn’t enough.

New York Giants: Rookie CB Aaron Robinson seeing increased playing time

aaron robinson, new york giants

The New York Giants‘ defense is the strength of their roster. The Giants have a handful of talented young players on the defensive side of the ball to build around. The Giants’ veterans keep the defense sturdy, but it is the youth that keeps the defense exciting. Rookie cornerback Aaron Robinson is an exciting young talent featured in the Giants’ secondary.

Aaron Robinson has seen increased playing time in recent weeks. The rookie out of UCF spent a large portion of the season on the PUP list, dealing with a core injury suffered before the regular season began. Robinson was finally healthy and activated to the 53-man roster in Week 8.

ARob seldom saw the field in his first three appearances. However, in the past two weeks, Robinson has seen the field more and more and even played 100% of the team’s defensive snaps against the Miami Dolphins this past Sunday. Starting cornerback Adoree’ Jackson was OUT in Week 13, leading to Robinson’s increased usage versus Miami. But once again this week, Jackson will be out, putting Aaron Robinson in line for another lengthy outing versus the Chargers this weekend.

Aaron Robinson playing 100% of defensive snaps

Aaron Robinson played 100% of the Giants’ defensive snaps in Week 13 versus the Miami Dolphins. The Giants were short at corner with Adoree’ Jackson out, so Robinson took over as the starter. Robinson was targeted 8 times on Sunday, allowing 6 receptions for 65 yards. In Week 12 against the Eagles, Aaron Robinson allowed only 1 reception for 19 yards on 5 targets.

On the year, Aaron Robinson has seen the field for 152 defensive snaps. In that playing time, Robinson has been targeted in coverage 16 times, allowing 9 receptions for 109 yards and 0 touchdowns while also earning 3 passes defended and 14 combined tackles.

Looking ahead to this Sunday’s Week 14 matchup, Robinson has a great challenge at hand. The Los Angeles Chargers possess one of the NFL’s most talented wide receiver corps. Keenan Allen and Mike Williams are both premiere receiving options for the strong-arm second-year quarterback Justin Herbert. Keenan Allen has totaled 929 receiving yards this season and Mike Williams has totaled 854 receiving yards this season. The Chargers like to air it out, and they have the playmakers necessary to do so. This will be an ultimate test for Aaron Robinson as he tries to prove his worth in the final stretch of the New York Giants’ season.

New York Giants have two capable slot cornerbacks to rely on in 2021

aaron robinson, new york giants

The New York Giants have invested a lot of assets into their secondary over the last few years. They have spent numerous draft picks on guys like Julian Love, Xavier McKinney, Aaron Robinson, Darnay Holmes, and others. They have also made some big signings like James Bradberry, Logan Ryan, and Adoree’ Jackson. One could argue that the Giants have the best trio of starting safeties in the NFL. But they do not just have depth at safety.

The Giants also have solid depth at slot cornerback where two players could be competing for the starting job. Darnay Holmes, entering his second season, is looking to keep his job as the starting slot cornerback. But the Giants also went ahead and drafted Aaron Robinson in the 2021 NFL Draft, another slot cornerback that could get hungry for the starting job.

Darnay Holmes stats and highlights

Darnay Holmes was an impressive rookie slot cornerback who did not allow a touchdown in coverage during the 2020 season. Holmes was targeted in coverage 52 times and let up a fair amount of completions, but none in the end zone. In fact, he had some impressive pass breakups that prevented touchdowns, like the one below:

Darnay Holmes made the switch to slot cornerback in the NFL after playing outside during his collegiate career at UCLA. There were some ups and downs for the rookie, but Holmes flashed enough potential for the Giants to feel confident that they have a starting-level player long-term. Darnay finished the year with 5 passes defended 1 interception, 0.5 sack, and 30 combined tackles.

In 2020, Darnay Holmes fit nicely into Patrick Graham’s zone-coverage defensive scheme. He has good instincts and a quick reaction time. Darnay struggled at times to cover receivers in man coverage across the middle of the field. That is where Aaron Robinson comes in.

Aaron Robinson stats and highlights

Aaron Robinson’s playing style is far different from Darnay Holmes. Darnay fits better in a zone scheme while Aaron fits better in a man-coverage scheme. Patrick Graham has stated in interviews that the Giants are looking to run more press-man in 2021 than they did last season. Aaron Robinson is a physical press-man slot cornerback that will help allow Patrick Graham to make that scheme the focus of his defense.

Robinson’s aggressive playing style also gives him the ability to compete on the outside as well. Arguably ARob’s most impressive trait, though, is his ability to make an impact in run defense. Aaron Robinson posted an 80+ PFF run-defense grade in each of his last two seasons at UCF.

Regardless of who gets the start in the slot, the Giants have a good problem on their hands. They have two talented players that might be deserving of a starting role. That means that they have a lot of talent at the slot cornerback position and, of course, quality depth.

New York Giants: One young corner could end up being a building block for the future

aaron robinson, new york giants

Nobody anticipated the New York Giants spending so much of their resources on the secondary this off-season. Ranging from the signing of Adoree  Jackson on a three-year, $39 million deal to spending multiple draft picks on corners, they have completely upgraded a unit that performed well in 2020 despite deficiencies.

Having gone through a rotation at CB2, finally landing on Isaac Yiadom, who opposing teams picked on throughout the campaign, they decided they needed a corner who could thrive in press, man coverage. That corner is Jackson, a former Tennessee Titan who represents an aggressive style defender that can match up again speedy and more shifty receivers.

However, the Giants also added a nickel option in UCF stand-out Aaron Robinson. Robinson will compete with second-year player out of UCLA, Darnay Holmes, for the starting slot corner job.

Brad Gagnon of Bleacher Report believes Robinson can develop into a solid starter:

With most of the team’s early 2019 and 2020 picks also expected to be big factors as the Giants wrap up a rebuild, that leaves cornerback Aaron Robinson as the one to watch for the future.

The UCF product will likely have to compete with sophomore fourth-round selection Darnay Holmes for a slot role in support of presumed starters James Bradberry and Adoree’ Jackson, both of whom make big money.

The smooth and physical Robinson has the length and instincts to turn into a strong starter, but rookie corners almost always need time, and he lacks the speed to compensate for the work he’ll have to do early on.

Robinson is another aggressive corner who plays tough man coverage. With Patrick Graham going in a different route compared to his 2020 scheme, we should expect to see more cover-1 and cover-0, relying on heavier blitz packages and more man coverage.

The Giants traded up in the third round to snag Robinson, who the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys eyed. The 5’11”, 186 pound senior had a round-2 projection by They noted his strengths as a combination of size and speed as a nickel. He has an effective punch when given the greenlight to press and adequate foot quickness and agility. His weaknesses remain diagnosing routes and having top-end speed.

Given the role he will play, the Giants might’ve landed themselves a day one impact player in the secondary, and providing competition for Holmes can only bring out the best of both players.

There is a very good chance the Giants have one of the best defenses in football after bolstering the secondary and pass rush this off-season. Hopefully, Robinson will have a successful career with Big Blue, as they look for athletes with tremendous upside that can also make an immediate impact.

New York Giants: An intriguing competition brewing at slot cornerback

aaron robinson, new york giants

The New York Giants had one of the best defenses in the NFL in 2021. They allowed only 22.3 points per game and 237.9 receiving yards per game (ESPN). The Giants had an excellent secondary loaded with young talent, mixed in with some wise and efficient veterans.

One of the most talented youngsters in the Giants’ secondary was rookie slot cornerback Darnay Holmes. Darnay showed plenty of promise in his rookie 2020 campaign, yet the Giants still went into the 2021 NFL Draft and added another potential starter at slot cornerback, Aaron Robinson.

Now the Giants have a problem, but a great problem to have. The Giants’ problem is that they have so many talented defensive backs and not enough starting positions to give out. Aaron Robinson and Darnay Holmes are two highly-talented, young slot cornerbacks, yet there is only one slot cornerback position.

Aaron Robinson vs. Darnay Holmes

Darnay Holmes

The Giants’ 2020 fourth-round pick, Darnay Holmes, was an outside cornerback during his collegiate career at UCLA. But he impressed scouts at the Senior Bowl playing slot cornerback in 2020 and ultimately made the transition to slot cornerback full-time with the Giants. As a fourth-round pick, Holmes exceeded all expectations in his rookie season.

According to Pro Football Focus, Darnay Holmes had the most targets without a touchdown allowed among rookie defensive backs (52). Darnay also added an interception to the stat sheet in his rookie season along with 5 passes defended, 30 combined tackles, 3 pressures, and 0.5 sack. Granted, he was not lock-down in coverage, as quarterbacks did complete 75% of their passes against him in coverage. However, he did manage to keep receivers out of the end zone and had a few breakups in the end zone.

Darnay  Holmes was not perfect in his rookie season, but he did flash great potential. New York felt the impact when Darnay missed time with an injury. He played in only 12 games this season, however, the Giants struggled to cover the slot when Darnay was absent.

Aaron Robinson

The Giants traded up in the third round of the 2021 NFL Draft to select UCF cornerback Aaron Robinson. This pick initially surprised Giants fans that expected the team to target an offensive lineman in round three. However, fans quickly changed their tune when they found out what a special player the Giants got in Aaron Robinson.

Aaron Robinson is a great fit for the Giants because he has the versatility and physicality that they prioritize. Robinson was efficient in college playing on the outside and the inside, though he is expected to play in the slot primarily with the Giants. Robinson also posted an 80.0+ run-defense grade in his final two collegiate seasons (PFF).

Robinson’s physicality doesn’t just show up in the run game. ARob also has the ability to play bump-and-run coverage. For an inside cornerback, Robinson is impressive when playing press-man. The Giants have made it a point of emphasis this offseason to find press-man cornerbacks. The Giants are looking to switch their scheme back to a man-heavy defense. Aaron Robinson is a perfect fit for the revised scheme that Patrick Graham is looking to install.


Ultimately, while there is only one starting slot cornerback position to give out, the Giants have two very capable defensive backs that should both see the field a lot in 2021. Darnay Holmes earned playing time with an excellent rookie season. Aaron Robinson has the talent to start as well. Expect to see Patrick Graham get creative while he uses these two cornerbacks in a variety of ways, getting both of them on the field as frequently as possible.

The New York Giants’ secondary is loaded with talent entering the 2021 season

New York Giants, James Bradberry, logan ryan

The New York Giants defense was one of the league’s best in the 2020 season. Entering 2021, the Giants’ defense has only gotten better. The Giants defense allowed only 22.3 points per game last season, giving them a top-ten unit. Yet, New York still went into the offseason and added even more talent to their defense.

The Giants’ secondary was the strength of the team last year. Cornerback James Bradberry looked like a blanket on the field, consistently shutting down opposing receivers. New York also enjoyed a dynamic safety tandem of Jabrill Peppers and Logan Ryan. However, there were a couple of holes in the Giants’ secondary.

Opposite of Bradberry, New York had a revolving door at their second outside cornerback position. Corey Ballentine, Ryan Lewis, and ultimately Isaac Yiadom saw plenty of reps as the starter. The Giants recognized that position as a weakness and went out to fix it this offseason. Along with a new CB2 in Adoree’ Jackson, the Giants also added depth at cornerback and created an interesting competition at slot cornerback. The New York Giants have loaded their secondary with talent heading into 2020.

The Giants’ talented secondary

James Bradberry, Logan Ryan, and Jabrill Peppers were the stars of the Giants’ secondary in 2020. They also enjoyed the presence of a quality utility player in Julian Love. Xavier McKinney was also impressive at the end of the season coming off of an injury that kept him sidelined for the majority of his rookie season. Take all of this talent, now combine it with plenty more.

Adoree’ Jackson enters the Giants’ lineup as their new CB2. Jackson will allow the Giants to transition back into their more man-press-heavy coverage scheme. Since 2018, Adoree Jackson has the fourth-highest coverage grade when lined up outside according to Pro Football Focus with a grade of 85.6. The Giants got a bonafide CB1 (when healthy) to play CB2 for them on the outside.

Darnay Holmes was an impressive rookie slot cornerback who did not allow a touchdown in coverage during the 2020 season. He will compete alongside new rookie Aaron Robinson out of UCF in the slot. A-Rob is physical and should see a good amount of playing time inside along with Holmes.

Then, of course, Xavier McKinney is entering his sophomore season. Xavier flashed great potential at the end of the 2020 season and will see plenty of playing time in 2021. He could have a major breakout covering the back end of the Giants’ defense.

On top of these talented starting-level players, the Giants added a lot of quality depth to their secondary. Isaac Yiadom started 10 games last year and will be a solid depth piece at cornerback. The Giants also added Rodarius Williams at the back end of the 2021 NFL Draft, another physical man-to-man corner.

The New York Giants took one of their strongest units and made it even stronger in the 2021 offseason. It was hard enough for opposing quarterbacks to move the football against the New York Pass Defense in 2021. The New York Giants’ talent-loaded secondary is going to make Sundays even more challenging for opposing quarterbacks in 2021.

New York Giants: 3 rookies who could stand out in mini-camp

aaron robinson, new york giants

The New York Giants will be hosting their minicamp this upcoming weekend from May 14 to May 16, which will include 22 players, including six draft picks, three undrafted rookies, and a max of five tryout players. So far, the Giants have already confirmed they will bring 30-year-old receiver Kelvin Benjamin in for a workout, kicking the tires on the veteran who was formally a Dave Gettleman draft selection years ago.

However, the Giants have a few stellar young players to work with on both sides of the ball from their most recent draft class, but there are a few undervalued options who could make an impact in their first year in the NFL. Let’s take a look at a few prospects who might have an extended future with the Giants.

Three New York Giants rookies who could stand out in mini-camp:

1.) Elerson Smith

The Giants utilize their fourth-round selection on Northern Iowa edge rusher Elerson Smith. Nobody knew who Smith was before his surprise selection, but he was a Senior Bowl stand-out who showed incredible production in 2019. Smith is a 6’6″, 252-pound pass rusher, who racked up 14 sacks, 14 QB hurries, 21.5 tackles for a loss, five forced fumbles, and two blocked kicks during the 2019 season.

Smith is a superior athlete who had the highest vertical of any defensive end in the 2021 draft class at 41.5 inches.

According to the “Relative Athletic Score” metric, Smith ranked 18th out of 1333 DE’s measured since 1987, showing a superior stature in that category. With sufficient speed off the line of scrimmage, I view Smith as a mismatch rotational option for the Giants this upcoming season. Against heavy-footed offensive tackles, Smith has the speed and power to overwhelm them on the outside or dashing to the interior with jab step moves.

Camp will give us our first look at Smith, and hopefully, he progresses nicely as he looks to add a bit more muscle mass onto his frame but also refine his technique at the next level.

2.) Aaron Robinson

Another exciting young rookie is UCF nickel corner Aaron Robinson, who was formally an Alabama transfer. Robinson is a press, man coverage corner who will push Darnay Holmes in the slot for reps. That should be an exciting position battle between two feisty players.

Robinson isn’t only a stellar football player but is also a great teammate. Head coach Joe Judge pointed out his ability to energize players around him and how he creates positive relationships with his fellow teammates. That is exactly the type of character attribute the Giants are looking for, and it fits perfectly with the structure of their defense and represents the type of player they seem to be attracted to.

I believe Robinson has a bright future ahead of him as a third-round selection, and the Giants were so high on him they felt the need to trade up and snag him before Dallas or Philadelphia could make their move. He’s a player to keep an eye on during camp and could even win the starting job in the slot potentially.

3.) Brett Heggie

The Giants signed UDF Brett Heggie out of Florida, and while he went undrafted, he has some solid, tangible traits to consider as we approach minicamp. Heggie is a 6’4″, 310-pound interior defender with experience at center and offensive guard. Having been teammates with Kadarius Tonye, Heggie has routinely faced off against quality opponents in the SEC. In 2019, he started 12 games, including eight left guard and four at right guard. In 2020, Brett moved to the interior at center, starting all 12 games at the position. He has desirable size for the NFL as a center but lacks functional strength at times and is lackluster with his fundamentals. The Giants likely view his physical traits as potential upside, but he will need extensive coaching to iron out some of his bad tendencies and habits.

While I don’t see Heggie contributing day one, he could be a long-term project and could end up being valuable down the line as a reserve or potential starter at center in the future.

New York Giants trade up and select CB Aaron Robinson with 71st overall pick

aaron robinson, new york giants

The New York Giants selected UCF Cornerback Aaron Robinson with the 71st overall pick after trading up five slots to leapfrog the Dallas Cowboys and several other teams.

The Giants previously traded back in the draft in the first round, acquiring another fifth-round pick from the Chicago Bears, which they utilized to make the jump and land Robinson, who has a few great traits to translate to the NFL level.

Robinson is most likely going to compete with Darnay Holmes as in the slot with the Giants, who have a strong secondary after acquiring Adoree Jackson for three years, $39 million this off-season.

However, this is an interesting move since the Giants desperately needed more interior offensive lineman, especially for a right guard spot that remains a weakness after letting Kevin Zeitler walk in free agency.

Some had Wyatt Davis out of Ohio State being the selection, given the Giants spent additional draft capital to move up. However, Robinson has fantastic athletic attributes and could end up being a premier slot interior corner with the right coaching.

Having fantastic pieces around him and Patrick Graham to help him adjust to the NFL level, Robinson should be able to make an impact in his first year as a third-round pick. Robinson had 10 pass breakups in 2020, showing off solid coverage skills.

Per Draft Network:

A 4-star recruit that originally committed to Alabama, Aaron Robinson transferred to UCF and became the featured slot cornerback in 2019 and 2020 for the Knights. While he has some experience playing out wide, his best fit at the next level is likely in the slot. Robinson is a versatile defender that can function in both man and zone coverage and he will make the run defense better with his ability to fill and defend the D-gap. Overall, he’s a physical player with quick feet and sufficient athleticism. The concerns with Robinson at the next level are his modest coverage instincts, ordinary ball skills, and proving the tackler he was in 2020 is what he will be moving forward and not the inconsistent finisher he was in 2019. Robinson has the ability to become a featured slot corner in the NFL, but he will need to become more sure of himself in coverage and play the game with better angles.