New York Giants News, 6/30 – The secondary is finally coming together

New York Giants, Julian Love, DeAndre Baker, Julian Love

Good Morning, New York Giants Fans!

Imagine thinking about the Giants’ secondary last year and realizing behind No. 1 corner Janoris Jenkins, they had Eli Apple who was traded mid-season, B.W. Webb, an inconsistent corner, and an undrafted rookie in Grant Haley starting in 11 games.

The reality is now apparent, the 2018 season was never supposed to be competitive. However, the future is now in the works. After drafting DeAndre Baker, Julian Love, and Corey Ballentine, the secondary is now looking far more efficient and tenacious.

Baker, and aggressive corner that has shined this offseason, will likely emerge as the No. 2 corner. Sam Beal, a 2018 Supplemental Draft pick, has the potential to compete, but missing time due to a personal reason has seen him fall behind.

The Giants’ late first-round pick has the potential to overtake Jenkins in 2020 if his development continues at a consistent rate. Love, a fourth-round pick that “stook out like a sore thumb” according to GM Dave Gettleman after the draft, will compete at the slot corner position with Haley.

Finally, a secondary worth talking about. A unit that will develop exponentially in 2019 and can be elite with a year of experience. With a lack of pass-rush legitimacy, I expect the young corners to get plenty of action. The 2020 draft will present the Giants with the opportunity to bolster their defensive side in the trenches.

Nonetheless–

Your Giants top news of the day!

Dan Benton (Giants Wire) – Rod Smith on early impression of Giants: ‘It’s a first-class organization’

Ed Valentine (Big Blue View) – Giants’ 90-man roster: FB Elijhaa Penny showed his value last season

Dan Schneier (247 Sports) – 10 reasons to be optimistic about the New York Giants in 2019

Anthony Rivardo (Empire Sports Media) – New York Giants: Every Position On Offense Ranked From Best To Worst

John Fennelly (GMEN HQ) – Can the New York Giants win with Pat Shurmur?

Check out the best news from yesterday!

New York Giants News, 6/28 – DeAndre Baker treats mom with first paycheck

 

New York Giants: Julian Love Will Be The Giants’ Steal Of The 2019 NFL Draft

New York Giants, Julian Love

The New York Giants‘ defense has been one of the league’s worst over the past two seasons. The Giants’ secondary has been particularly bad, allowing opponents to throw for more than enough passing yards to sink the Giants 24 times in two seasons.

In 2017, the Giants’ secondary allowed 252.4 passing yards per game (ranked 31st in the NFL). In 2018, the Giants’ secondary allowed 252.8 passing yards (ranked 23rd in the NFL), showing minimal to no improvement. For this reason, the Giants made it a point of emphasis to fix the secondary in 2019.

The Giants did just that in the 2019 NFL Draft. New York drafted three defensive backs in the 2019 NFL Draft (four if counting Sam Beal). One of the Giants’ draft picks, Julian Love, in the secondary was a major steal, and he could prove that as soon as his rookie season.

Julian Love Stats And Highlights

The New York Giants drafted cornerback Julian Love in the 4th round of the 2019 NFL Draft. Julian Love was considered to be a 2nd-round prospect, but the Giants managed to snag him much later than that.

The cornerback out of Notre Dame has been highly praised by NFL scouts and analysts. Lance Zierlein of NFL.com had this to say about the Giants’ new cornerback:

Pure and simple, Love is a cover guy who possesses the feet, hips, instincts and competitiveness you want in a corner. He operates with outstanding technique from both man and zone, and his ability to anticipate and recognize routes allows for stickier coverage. He’s more finesse than physical and his lack of top speed might need to be schemed around with certain matchups. However, Love’s cover talent, intelligence and ball skills give him a good shot at succeeding outside or from the slot. – Lance Zierlein, NFL.com

Julian Love played for three years at Notre Dame. In those three seasons, Love was a spectacular defensive playmaker. Julian tallied an insane 39 passes defended in those three years to go along with 5 interceptions. He even added 176 total tackles.

Julian Love is a playmaker against both the pass and the run. He is a great tackler for his position. In 2018, Love posted a 75.9 tackling grade via Pro Football Focus as he racked up 63 tackles that season. He also added 3 tackles for loss.

The Giants were extremely lucky to find Julian Love sitting available during the 4th-round of the draft. For reference, Love was the 45th ranked prospect on PFF’s Top 250 Big Board. Julian Love was the Giants’ biggest steal in this year’s draft, and when it is all said and done, he might be the biggest steal of the entire draft.

New York Giants: Can Janoris Jenkins Be A Shutdown Corner Again?

The New York Giants have missed the playoffs in seven of the last eight seasons. The last time they made the playoffs was in 2016. New York was lead to the playoffs by its excellent defense.

During the 2016 season, the Giants’ defense was so dominant that it lead the league in fewest touchdowns allowed with only 25. Much of the Giants’ defensive success that season can be attributed to the team’s big free agent signings during the prior offseason.

One particular player that the Giants signed had a huge impact on the defense. Cornerback Janoris Jenkins was an absolute shutdown cornerback in 2016. The No. 1 corner allowed just 50 percent of passes thrown his way to be caught, settling him in as a 2nd Team All-Pro.

Since then the Giants have missed the playoffs each of the last two seasons and have had one of the NFL’s worst defenses. In 2017, the Giants’ secondary allowed 252.4 passing yards per game (ranked 31st in the NFL). In 2018, the Giants’ secondary allowed 252.8 passing yards (ranked 23rd in the NFL), showing minimal to no improvement.

Janoris Jenkins has not been his best these past two year. His Pro Football Focus grade has plummeted from 88.4 in 2016 to 68.0 in 2018. Luckily for the Giants, Janoris Jenkins has the potential to rebound in 2019 and become a shutdown cornerback again.

Why Janoris Jenkins Will Rebound:

Janoris Jenkins struggled during the 2018 NFL season, but at times he looked like his old self. Particularly at the end of the 2018 season, Jenkins looked much better.

In the final 5 games of the 2018 NFL season, Jenkins returned to his shutdown form. In those last games, Janoris allowed 0 touchdowns with a 61.5 opposing passer rating and only allowed 46.2% of receptions.

There is one game in particular that Janoris Jenkins really stood out in. In week 13, the Giants hosted the Chicago Bears and took them down in overtime. Janoris Jenkins played a big part in helping Big Blue secure that win.

According to Pro Football Focus, Jenkins was targeted six times in coverage in the Giants overtime win over the Bears but allowed just one reception for 12 yards. He also tallied 3 pass breakups in that game, meaning he forced more incompletions than completions allowed.

If Janoris Jenkins can finish the season as he did in 2018, and have incredible single-game performances as he did in week 13, then Janoris Jenkins can rebound in 2019 and return to his ways as a shutdown cornerback.

There is another reason why Janoris Jenkins might improve in 2019: he has help. The Giants’ defense has lacked talent for the past two seasons. Luckily, the Giants recognized this and made a strong effort to fix the defense in the 2019 offseason.

Janoris Jenkins is now a leader on the Giants’ defense. He has a plethora of talented, young defensive backs that he needs to help prepare. These young players, such as DeAndre Baker and Julian Love, are going to learn from Janoris Jenkins, but also help him.

Janoris Jenkins is a quality starting cornerback and it is about time he gets paired with a couple more quality corners. The additions of Love and Baker will benefit Jenkins by making him play with less responsibility and giving him the ability to rely on his teammates in the secondary. Altogether, the Giants defense will rebound in 2019 thanks to the improved secondary.

New York Giants: 3 rookies that could earn playing time on starting team

New York Giants, Julian Love, DeAndre Baker, Julian Love

Looking at three underrated New York Giants rookie that can make a difference during the 2019 season:

The Giants drafted ample talent in the 2019 NFL Draft, some of which will be immediate starters with impactful roles. However, there are multiple players that will fight for their right to earn even limited reps, while others will emerge as starters after training camp.

Here are 3 New York Giants rookies ready to steal starting jobs:

1.) CB – Julian Love

Julian Love, drafted in the fourth round, was an absolute steal. Ranked as a top four corner entering the draft, Love is a tenacious athlete. He’s great in off-ball coverage and has adequate speed to keep up with receivers. He will likely slide into the slot corner spot and compete with Grant Haley, formerly undrafted in 2018.

Haley played in 11 games last season and proved he’s capable of playing at the NFL level. Love is more refined in his skill-set, though, which gives him the upper hand in stealing the job away from Haley. This will be an exciting position battle to keep an eye on.

2.) TE – CJ Conrad

An undrafted free agent this year, Conrad is a big tight end that has looked fantastic so far this summer. He was one of two players to earn first-team reps at the end of OTAs. He’s an above average receiving tight end and has the size to block at the line of scrimmage.

Coming out of Kentucky, a team that didn’t have many offensive playmakers, Conrad shined despite opposing defenses focusing on him. He’s one of my darkhorse players for the season ahead and could steal starting reps away from Scott Simonson and Rhett Ellison.

https://twitter.com/Scott_Charlton/status/1066491049219108865

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3.) LB- Ryan Connelly

The fact of the matter is, BJ Goodson never really lived up to his potential coming out of Clemson. Believe it or not, he played in 15 games last season, and I barely remember seeing him on the field. That should give you an idea of his influence on the team and the lack of impact he provided on the defense.

Ryan Connelly, however, is an instinctive linebacker with the ability to get into the backfield in a hurry. Racking up 89 total tackles as a senior for Wisconsin, Connelly showed what he’s capable and why he belongs on an NFL team. He also picked up 10 tackles for a loss and three sacks in 12 games (Sports Reference).

I’m anticipating him breaking through at some point in 2019 and earning reps during the regular season. Aside from his abilities close to the line of scrimmage, he can also cover running backs and tight ends. He’s a player that I believe will blossom with a bit of development – he’s a well-rounded player that can be a three-down linebacker.

 

New York Giants News, 6/20 – DeAndre Baker to succeed Janoris Jenkins?

New York Giants, DeAndre Baker

Good Morning, New York Giants Fans!

Before the NFL draft, the Giants had one of the weakest secondaries in the entire league — three days after they had a group of talented young athletes prepared to upgrade the unit completely.

Drafting DeAndre Baker in the first round, Julian Love in the fourth, and Corey Ballentine in the sixth provides an influx of talent for the secondary. Baker, the corner who GM Dave Gettleman traded up into the first round to snag, will likely be the No. 2 option alongside Janoris Jenkins.

In fact, I see Baker eventually succeeding Jenkins after his contract expires in 2020. However, the Giants could look to trade Jenkins later on in the season to a contender for a second or third round pick. This would put Baker in the top corner role and provide the Giants will additional draft capital for next year.

The reality is, the Giants aren’t in a position to compete for the playoffs in 2019, so helping the youngsters develop and grow should be the priority. A year of experience should put the team in a place to really begin clawing out wins in 2020. Baker will ultimately play a big part in that — he’s a physical corner with elite speed. He’s great in coverage and can stick tight to opposing wide receivers.

Nonetheless–

Your Giants top news of the day!

Dan Benton (Giants Wire) – Giants have $9 million in remaining cap space

Dan Pizzuta (Big Blue View) – Ranking how NFC East teams are set up for future at quarterback

Alexander Wilson (Empire Sports Media) – New York Giants: 3 surprise veteran cuts this offseason

Dan Schneier (247 Sports) – Every mind-blowing all-time record Saquon Barkley set in 2018

Matt Williamson (Big Blue View) – Pass rush or pass coverage? Here is one vote for the hog mollies

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Check out the best news from yesterday!

New York Giants News, 6/18 – Evan Engram primed for a big year?

New York Giants News, 6/16 – Julian Love a darkhorse at corner

New York Giants, Julian Love

Good Morning, New York Giants Fans!

While New York Giants rookie DeAndre Baker takes up all the headlines with his stellar play this offseason, fourth-round pick Julian Love has gotten lost in the shuffle.

Love, a Notre Dame product, stuck out like a “sore thumb” on the Giants’ draft board, according to Dave Gettleman. His quality coverage skills and tenacity forced the Giants’ hand when he flashed across their screen. Adding both Love and Baker completely overhauls a secondary that consisted of just Janoris Jenkins, Grant Haley, and Sam Beal prior to the draft

Former Giants, Justin Tuck, believes the young corner was an absolute steal:

“I love that pick,” Tuck said via NJ Advance Media. “I don’t understand how he dropped to the fourth round. I think he’s a steal. From my time being around the football team and watching every Notre Dame game, he is always around the ball. In this defense, I think that bodes well.”

It’s expected that Love will compete against Haley for the slot-corner position, considering his size and speed. He has the potential to earn the starting job in his rookie season and flourish in a rebuilt secondary. He’s a player to keep your eye on this offseason.

Nonetheless–

Your Giants top news of the day!

Paul Schwartz (New York Post) – Giants’ other quarterback battle is one of survival

Dan Benton (Giants Wire) – Chris Mortensen: Skeptics now believe Daniel Jones is the ‘real deal’

Ryan Dunleavy (NJ.com) – This group of 7 could make or break Giants defense after 2,000 snaps ‘you can’t buy’

John Schmeelk (Giants.com) – 5 questions remaining for the New York Giants

Alexander Wilson (Empire Sports Media) – Which New York Giants rookie has looked the best this summer?

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New York Giants: 3 rookies that could surprisingly earn starting roles

New York Giants rookie, Oshane Ximines.

As we wait upon the start of training camp, the New York Giants have obtained a good sense of who will be competing for starting roles and who will be destined for a reserve spot. The Giants drafted a ton of rookies that will have immediate impacts whether it be on a starting unit or on special teams.

Players like DeAndre Baker, Julian Love, Oshane Ximines, Dexter Lawrence, and more, are all fighting to earn their spot on the team…but some have a higher probability than others.

Three New York Giants rookies that can earn a starting job:

1.) CB Julian Love

The Giants snagged Love in the fourth-round of the 2019 NFL Draft, a player that was projected to go in the second-round. His abilities will fit perfectly in nickel-packages for Big Blue. I don’t expect him to compete realistically for an outside corner spot as Baker and Sam Beal have the No. 2 spot in their sights, but Love can certainly steal the slot-corner position away from second-year player, Grant Haley.

Haley has 11 games of NFL experience under his belt, which ultimately gives him the upper hand in the impending position battle. However, Love is great in man coverage and can stick with quick receivers. He’s one of my darkhorse players for the 2019 season.

2.) LB Ryan Connelly

The Wisconsin product is an extremely instinctive player that is fantastic at shooting gaps and finding the ball in the trenches. He’s not a massive linebacker, but he has the potential to be a three-down player.

Connelly was a fourth-round pick and will compete with B.J. Goodson for a starting job. Tae Davis could also be tossed into the mix but he’s a better cover linebacker than run-stopper, limiting his upside. Connelly can do both, which makes me think he could overtake Goodson for the starting job if he shows a bit of development this summer.

Goodson has shown flashes of quality at times, but injuries have derailed his career, and he’s awful in coverage. He’s a pure run-stopper and clogs holes well. Connelly will have to refine his tackling technique at the NFL to harness his full potential. I love his upside, though, which makes him a great player to watch out for during training camp.

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3.) OLB Oshane Ximines

The Giants are heading into the depths of the offseason with very minimal talent at the pass-rusher position. They essentially replaced Olivier Vernon with an injury-prone Markus Golden who has one good season three years ago, and third-round selection Oshane Ximines from a no-name school.

They’re banking heavy on the breakout of Lorenzo Carter and Golden to return to his former self. However, Ximines shouldn’t be slept on. He has an effective counter-punch and is extremely developed in regard to his moves for a small-school edge-rusher. He could very well beat out Golden or Carter for a more prominent, starting position. While I’m not convinced Oshane will beat out Carter, I could see him giving Golden a run for his money. Markus is coming off a serious knee injury and hasn’t played at a high level in quite some time.

 

 

How the New York Giants have upgraded the secondary significantly

New York Giants cornerback, Grant Haley.

The New York Giants spent plenty of capital fixing up the secondary this offseason, bringing Jabrill Peppers, Antoine Bethea, DeAndre Baker, Julian Love, and Corey Ballentine.

Considering the unit only consisted of Janoris Jenkins, Grant Haley, and Sam Beal before the 2019 NFL Draft, it’s impressive how far the unit has come in such a short period of time. However, most of the players featured here haven’t played a snap in an NFL game, which is noted.

Aside from that fact, the talent added provides a reason for excitement. Baker is a first-round value pick, Love was a projected second-round talent that fell to the fourth, and Ballentine was projected to go in the fourth and fell to the sixth. Peppers was a former first-round selection that struggled at times with misuse in Cleveland, and Bethea is a seasoned veteran that has plenty of gas left in the tank.

As I said before, plenty of talent and reason for excitement. So far in OTAs, the secondary has completely locked down the offense, forcing Eli Manning to sail throws out of bounds and Daniel Jones to show his rookie jitters.

The Giants are very happy with Baker so far, stating:

“No one seems to get very open on DeAndre Baker,” John Schmeelk of Giants.com wrote. “The young outside cornerbacks are showing promise and ability, and their development will continue in training camp as they figure out how much contact they can get away with beyond five yards.”

Beal as well:

Shurmur stated that the third-round Supplemental Draft pick has looked good and is getting his sea legs under him. Julian Love scooped up a fumble from Elijah Penny on Tuesday and took it to the house for the virtual score.

I’m curious to see some of the position battles that will ensue between the cornerbacks this offseason.

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New York Giants top corner position battles:

There are two specific battles that I’m very excited to watch — DeAndre Baker vs Sam Beal & Julian Love vs Grant Haley.

Some might not think Baker vs Beal is much of a battle, considering where Baker was drafted and the talent he faced at Georgia. However, Beal is feisty and has shown his abilities in a small sample size so far during OTAs. The competitive nature will bring the best out of both, which is exactly what the Giants want to happen.

Between Haley and Love, I believe the former will win the job simply based on experience. Love will be close behind and would be first in line if Haley looks replaceable.

New York Giants Betting on Secondary to Mask Pass Rush Flaws

New York Giants, Janoris Jenkins

The New York Giants secondary got off to a blazing start in the first practice of OTAs. Both Eli Manning and Daniel Jones struggled passing in their first practice together. Manning with two interceptions, Jones with one.

The most notable of the three picks occurred when second-year cornerback Sam Beal deflected a Manning pass into the arms of newly acquired Jabrill Peppers. Missing the entire 2018 season due to injury, Beal on the field may be a rookie but mentally is a second-year pro. Beal worked with the first team opposite of Janoris Jenkins with Grant Haley in the slot.

An Influx of Talent for the New York Giants at corner

The Giants selected Beal in the third round of the 2018 Supplemental draft and gained praise in their selection. Draft Scout Matt Miller of Bleacher Report wrote an article last July labeling Sam Beal as the best Supplemental draft prospect since Josh Gordon in 2012.

The Supplemental draft takes place each year after the official NFL draft. In most cases, a player who enters the supplemental draft has been deemed ineligible by the NCAA for the upcoming season. More often than not, a player who has entered in the supplemental draft usually comes with off the field issues. Beal, however, was different. Beal was ruled academically ineligible due to poor performance in the classroom.

In the 2017 season, Beal had 10 pass breakups, 26 tackles, a forced fumble, and two interceptions. Perhaps the biggest interception of his career came against former USC and now Jets Quarterback Sam Darnold. Tallied at 6’1, 185 lbs, and running a 4.40 forty yard dash, it is his length mixed with speed that put him on the NFL radar in the first place.

2019 Draft Products

In addition to Beal, The Giants selected All-Americans Deandre Baker (Rd1) and Julian Love (Rd4) in the 2019 NFL Draft. Love was arguably the biggest steal of the draft. If not for an underwhelming 4.54 40 yard dash, Love would have most likely been selected on Day 2 of the draft. He received a second-round grade from the NFL’s college advisory committee. Deandre Baker won the Jim Thorpe Award which represents the Nations Most Outstanding Defensive Back. Julian Love was a finalist for the same award, who is listed right below Baker in the graphic below. 

By passing on Josh Allen at 6, the Giants have shown that they believe in James Bettcher and his ability to create pressure in other ways aside from the edge. In a prior article, I mentioned that it was clear Bettcher’s scheme had to be altered due to a lack of talent on the back end. With the addition of Baker and Love, the hope is that Bettcher will be able to send extra pressure after the quarterback with confidence the secondary can hold its own in 1v1 matchups.