New York Giants: Could Grant Haley Still Be The Slot Cornerback In 2019?

New York Giants cornerback, Grant Haley.

The New York Giants‘ defense was pitiful in the team’s all-around disappointing 2018 season. The Giants finished 5-11, dead last in their division for the second straight season.

The Giants’ secondary allowed 252.8 yards per game in 2018, ranked 23rd in the league. The Giants had players such as cornerback B.W. Webb and safety Curtis Riley playing in their defense. Webb was the 77th ranked cornerback in the NFL according to Pro Football Focus, while Riley was the 79th ranked safety.

The Giants knew they could not go into the 2019 season starting below-average players in the secondary, so they invested heavily in that position in the 2019 offseason. In the 2019 NFL Draft, the New York Giants drafted 3 cornerbacks (4 if you count cornerback Sam Beal). They also acquired their new starting safety, Jabrill Peppers, via trade in the 2019 offseason.

The Giants’s secondary is completely revamped now. However, there are still a couple of question marks. For example, it is still yet to be known who will be the Giants’ free safety of the future. In the imminent, there are also questions, such as how it is still unknown who the Giants will start at slot cornerback in 2019. However, there are reasons to believe the slot cornerback position will be secured by the same young man who started at that position last year.

Grant Haley Stats And Highlights

The Giants started an undrafted free agent rookie at slot cornerback in 2018. That rookie was Grant Haley out of Penn State. Haley already looks like a diamond hidden (and found) in the rough.

Grant Haley played in 10 games and started 9 of them. In those 10 games, Haley recorded 33 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, and 2 passes defended. Grant Haley was the highest graded Giants cornerback by Pro Football Focus in 2018.

Haley had an overall grade of 69.3, which is considered above average by PFF’s metrics. Janoris Jenkins’s grade was only a 68.0, so Haley technically outplayed the Giants’ best cornerback.

Grant Haley flashed his true potential in week 12 of the 2018 season. This was a game on the road against Philadelphia. The Giants lost this game, but not due to the play of Grant Haley.

Haley’s matchup was targeted 5 times in week 12. Grant allowed only 2 completions for 22 yards. He also forced 1 incompletion and allowed a 53.8 QB Rating against him.  This earned Grant Haley an 86.0 Slot Coverage Grade in week 12 which was the best of any player in the NFL with a minimum of 10 coverage snaps.

Grant Haley flashed his potential a few times in 2018 and played solid at the slot cornerback position. He has a bit of competition for that starting job this year, but Haley has proven that he has the ability to start and provide quality snaps at the slot cornerback position. If Grant Haley can have more games like his 2018 week 12 performance, he will keep his starting job in the slot.

New York Giants: A Solid Cornerback Option With The 17th Pick In The Draft

The New York Giants will head into the 2019 NFL with a lot of young talent on defense. The Giants will almost certainly be investing in an elite defensive prospect with the 6th overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. However, this is not the only draft pick that the Giants can find a defensive centerpiece.

The Giants also have the 17th overall pick in the draft. They received this pick by trading away Odell Beckham Jr. to the Cleveland Browns. This draft pick gives the Giants tons of options in the draft. The Giants will likely try to fit a big need with the 17th pick.

One big need that the Giants have is at cornerback. The Giants do have Janoris Jenkins still, but it is likely that 2019 will be his last year in Big Blue. The Giants have other cornerbacks on the roster, but they are all young, unproven, developmental players. Grant Haley showed promise in his rookie season, but Sam Beal missed his rookie season with a shoulder injury.

Since the Giants are trying to get young at the cornerback position, it would not be surprising if they drafted a cornerback with the 17th overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. If the Giants draft a cornerback with the 17th pick, they should draft Greedy Williams.

Greedy Williams Stats And Highlights

Greedy Williams is a tall, athletic cornerback out of LSU. Lousiana State University has produced some great NFL defensive backs recently (Patrick Peterson, Tyrann Mathieu), and Greedy seems to be the next great prospect in line.

Greedy Williams was not the most statistically productive cornerback in his 2018 collegiate season, however, he has plenty of traits that will make NFL scouts fall in love with him. Greedy has more than ideal size for his position. At 6 feet 2 inches, 185 pounds, Williams will be a physical cornerback who can match up with any receiver.

Greedy’s size is just the start and not the end of his physical gifts. Williams is also an incredibly gifted athlete. He showed off his elite speed at the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine with a 4.37s 40-yard dash. This speed was always on full display in college. Greedy matched up with plenty of vertical threats and shut them down.

In 2017, Greedy Williams was a true playmaker. He totaled 38 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, 6 interceptions, and 10 passes defended. Greedy did take a step back in 2018 with only 2 interceptions but still flashed his potential on numerous occasions.

Greedy Williams could bring some great physicality and energy to the Giants’ secondary. The Giants would instantly improve their defense by drafting Williams. With his length, speed, and physicality, Greedy will be an instant-impact player once he gets in the league.

New York Giants: Who Will Start At Cornerback In 2019?

The New York Giants need help at the cornerback position. Starting cornerback Janoris Jenkins has regressed significantly over the past two seasons, and the other players on the roster are young and unproven.

The Giants can not call themselves competitors if they trot B.W. Webb back on the field as a starter in 2019. He was the 77th ranked cornerback in 2018 according to Pro Football Focus. Webb might be most remembered as a Giant for almost blowing the game against the Chicago Bears with multiple pass interference penalties and a touchdown given up.

Janoris Jenkins is not even a lock to make the roster. He could become a cap casualty in 2019. He has regressed to an average cornerback since his dominant season in 2016. The Giants might try to make upgrades (as they should), however, there are not a ton of options out there.

Despite all this, the Giants might have two of their starters on their roster already.

Grant Haley

The slot cornerback position seems to be set for the Giants’ future. As an undrafted free agent out of Penn State, Grant Haley played a solid rookie season for the Giants in 2018. Haley actually outplayed Janoris Jenkins in 2018 from a PFF grading standpoint.

In 2018, Grant Haley posted a 69.3 overall Pro Football Focus grade. That was considered an above average grade by PFF. Janoris Jenkins’ grade was only a 68.0 in 2018. Grant Haley was very impressive in the slot in 2018.

Grant Haley played in 10 games in 2018. In those 10 games, Haley was a contributor in run defense with his 33 tackles and 3 tackles for loss. He also added 2 passes defended.

Considering how much Jenkins gets payed, it would be cost efficient for the Giants to cut ties with Janoris and get younger at the cornerback position with Haley and some other young guys.

Sam Beal

Who is Sam Beal? He’s the best prospect to enter the league’s supplemental draft in a long time. Maybe ever. – Matt Miller

Another young guy who has a good chance of starting in 2019 is Sam Beal. Sam was selected by the Giants in the third round of the 2018 supplemental draft. He was not in the 2018 NFL Draft because Beal chose to stay at school and finish earning his degree.

After his junior season, “many NFL evaluators told agents and media members that Beal was likely a top-100 pick.” Beal is a very talented cornerback who had 2 interceptions and 10 passes defended as a junior. He was a highly coveted prospect in the supplemental draft, and the Giants were lucky enough to select him in the third round.

The Giants will be without a third round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft because they selected Beal, however, they are confident he will be worth the pick. With top 100 draft talent, and 1st round projection by some scouts, Sam Beal was an absolute steal for the Giants.

Unfortunately, Sam Beal missed the entire 2018 NFL season with a shoulder injury. But due to the lack of talent at the position for the Giants, Beal will likely be placed into the starting role in 2019. He has great size at 6’1″ and 185 pounds, along with great athleticism like his 4.40s 40-time.

Sam Beal has all the traits necessary to be a great NFL player. If he can remain healthy in 2019, Beal will start for the Giants and could progress into a great cornerstone player for the franchise’s future.

New York Giants: Top Three Positions Of Need in the 2019 Offseason

The New York Giants have won eight of their last twenty-six games. They’re not a good team and have a lot of holes to fill out on the roster. While specific skill positions are filled with quality players – running back and wide receiver – others are in need of support.

Here are three priorities for the New York Giants in 2019:

Right Tackle:

The Giants struck gold last offseason in the NFL draft with their second round selection. Left guard Will Hernandez has already shown he is a great player that will be a building block on the Giants’ offensive line for years to come. The Giants also signed left tackle Nate Solder to a record-breaking contract. These players improved the Giants’ offensive line tremendously. However, the Giants still need help on the right side of the line.

Right guard Jamon Brown was a solid pickup half way through the 2018 season. But his teammate to the right of him struggled all year. Right tackle Chad Wheeler has shown nothing that would indicate he is the Giants’ right tackle of the future. Chad Wheeler had a 47.1 Pro Football Focus grade in 2018, making him the 82nd ranked tackle. In order for the Giants offense to be better next season, they need to make an upgrade at right tackle.

Cornerback:

The New York Giants’ secondary was a major disappointment in 2018.  Janoris Jenkins was not the shutdown cornerback that he used to be, allowing 12.6 yards per reception, 96.6 passer rating, and 6 touchdowns in coverage this season. Second corner B.W. Webb was not much better. He was average, according to Pro Football Focus, earning a grade of 62.6.

Janoris Jenkins has had trade rumors surrounding him for about two years now, and it would not be surprising if general manager Dave Gettleman moved him this offseason. Gettleman likes to give younger players opportunities.

Undrafted rookie Grant Haley showed flashes this season. He could potentially be the Giants’ top corner in 2019 if he continues to develop. He earned an above average PFF grade of 69.3. Another young corner who will be part of the Giant’ future is supplemental draft pick Sam Beal. Beal tore his shoulder this season and did not play a game, but expect to see him play significant snaps next season.

Quarterback:

The Giants have quarterback Eli Manning on the roster, but it is uncertain how much longer he will remain in New York. Manning has not committed to playing next season, and Gettleman has not committed to bringing him back.

Eli Manning is in his fifteenth season. Fans and reporters alike agree that his performance has declined in recent years. Eli was only able to throw for 21 touchdowns this season, despite having fantastic playmakers surrounding him. Pro Football Focus gave Eli a grade of 64.3 and ranked him as the 31st quarterback in the NFL in 2018. Despite this, Eli did throw for 4,299 yards and a 66% completion percentage.

Eli is still a good quarterback, but it is time for the Giants to start looking towards the future. With the quarterback having turned 38 earlier this week, it is evident his time in the NFL is almost up. The Giants need a plan at the position for when Manning is no longer there, and this offseason is a good time to put that plan into place.

 

Undrafted CB Grant Haley Praised By New York Giants DBs Coach

The New York Giants entered the season low on talent at the corner position compared to some of the other teams in the NFL, but through some good scouting earlier this year, it looks like they managed to secure a talent that they can stick with during the rebuilding process, which looks like it will stretch beyond this season and into 2019.

Grant Haley joined the Giants from Penn State, and despite not being drafted, Haley making an NFL roster didn’t really surprise any Penn State fans. During his college years, Haley racked up 139 tackles and 22 passes defended, getting a pair of interceptions in his last season with the Nittany Lions and five interceptions overall.

Perhaps most notably, Haley was the player that led Penn State to their most recent victory over Ohio State, with a miraculous field goal block that would be returned by his team for a touchdown. Haley was praised at Penn State despite his small size, and that trend is continuing in the NFL.

“I think he’s a little bit beyond his years. All the guys work hard and study film, but he just logs a little bit of extra time knowing that he has a bigger role now. In college he showed that, he was a guy that’d be around the ball, Big Ten guy who faced some downhill running teams in that league,” said Giants defensive backs coach Lou Anarumo.

Haley has played in seven games this season and has 23 total tackles, all but one of them coming as solo tackles. Notably, Haley made his first appearance almost halfway through the season, owing to the fact that he didn’t make the active roster until October, when he was brought up from the practice squad.

“He’s still young and I think he’s learning. There’s a lot going on inside, with the different calls and different things that he has to do. He’s done a good job taking control. There are some things where he’s been outside already, so yeah, we’ll see. He’s still young,” Anarumo added.

Haley is indeed still young, but it looks like he’ll finish out the season as a contributing member of the defense, and it would be hard to imagine him not taking a step forward in 2019 after an incomplete rookie season that, so far, has only featured seven games. For now, Haley looks to be in the rotation for Sunday’s game against the Tennessee Titans, as the Giants try to hold onto some very thin playoff hopes.

What Does Undrafted Cornerback Grant Haley Bring To The Giants?

Obviously, Saquon Barkley is the New York Giants most well known addition from Penn State, but many fans might  have missed that the Giants also signed Barkley’s teammate, cornerback Grant Haley. Haley was just as much a part of bringing back Penn State football as Barkley, and he enters the NFL as an experienced player who had game time in all four of his seasons at PSU.

In his senior year he appeared in 13 games and recorded 40 tackles as well as two interceptions. The year before, he became an instantly recognizable name after scoring the winning touchdown against Ohio State, following Marcus Allen’s field goal block. The Giants need help in the secondary, and if Haley’s college production is an indication of his talent level, he may be able to make an impact despite his undrafted status.

Let’s consider why he went undrafted in the first place. At 5’9″, Haley isn’t the largest player by any means. His height put off many NFL GMs and, judging from the fact that he wasn’t drafted, removed him from many draft boards completely. While this is a valid concern for a cornerback, height isn’t everything in the NFL and if Haley played as a slot corner, it’s possible that he won’t have to face the largest receivers.

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I think he’s tough and fast. For some reason, nobody talks about this kid. People told me he can’t run and he just did 4.49 and 4.44. All I’m saying is he competes.

Haley makes up for his lack of height in other areas, however. Mike Mayock praised him at the NFL Combine, partly because of his speed and good times on the 40 yard dash. Mayock projects Haley as a nickel corner, and that might be the reason why the Giants brought him in immediately after the draft. But he’s not only a quick player. Haley had 9 passes defended last season in addition to his two interceptions.

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He’s not the flashiest player, but he gets the job done on both defense and special teams. Fans don’t usually consider special teams, but Haley played special teams for Penn State in addition to playing at corner. Special teams coaches sometimes struggle to fill their units with talent, given the expendable nature of players that are primarily used in special teams roles, and Haley would immediately make the Giants better in their coverage in that area.

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With the Giants thin at the corner position, expect Haley to make the team and compete for playing time during training camp and the preseason, when his skills at zone coverage are allowed to shine. Size isn’t the most important thing for NFL players these days, regardless of teams leaning towards taller players in the draft, and it looks like the Giants got a steal because of other teams overvaluing size.