New York Giants: Positions To Keep An Eye On With Cuts Around The Corner

New York Giants

The New York Giants will set their fifty-three man roster in a week from today. Over this next week, the team will be determining who will stay and who will go. The Giants do have a few positions of need, and they also have few positions of strength. Ahead of camp cuts, which positions are worth keeping a close eye on?

UDFA Wide Receivers

Behind Darius Slayton, Sterling Shepard, and Golden Tate, the Giants have a positional battle at the wide receiver position. Corey Coleman will be competing with a number of rookie wide receivers to win the fourth wide receiver position.

New York has four undrafted free agent wide receivers currently on the roster. Derrick Dillon, Binjimen Victor, Austin Mack, and Cody White were all signed by the Giants this offseason. They have all had their fair share of ups and downs in camp, but Victor and Mack have had a few more standout plays.

There are also two other receivers making their names known in camp: David Stills and Alex Bachman. Both players have impressed in practice and could earn themselves a spot on the final roster. For all of these wide receivers, this next week of practice is crucial.

New York Giants Have $21M In Cap Space – Should They Spend It?

New York Giants, Dave Gettleman

The New York Giants have seen their salary cap space expand recently. The team had three players officially opt out of the 2020 NFL season due to COVID-19 concerns, freeing up plenty of money for Big Blue. Nate Solder, Sam Beal, and Damari Scott were the three players who opted out.

Now, according to Field Yates of ESPN, the Giants have the twelfth-most salary cap space in the NFL post-opt-outs. New York is sitting with $21,441,129 in cap space available. That is a considerable amount of money, but Joe Judge made it clear this week that the Giants “don’t feel like [they] have money burning a hole in [their] pocket.”

Joe Judge indicated that the team was not planning on spending this money. But that was before DeAndre Baker’s prosecution became official and before Sam Beal opted out of the season. The Giants have a huge hole to fill at cornerback and they might be wise to reach into their pocket in order to fill that hole.

Why Should They Spend It?

If the Giants spend this money, they need to get a player in a serious position of need. The biggest weaknesses on this roster are at center and cornerback. But the Giants seem content with what they have at the center position, preparing Nick Gates to compete with Spencer Pulley and Shane Lemieux for that job.

The Giants have a few young guys at cornerback that could fill the role, but their inexperience could lead to a season full of struggles. Last year, the Giants rolled into the season with a young stable of defensive backs. Week after week, the team’s secondary was torn to shreds. The Giants would be wise to sign another veteran cornerback to their roster for the 2020 season.

There are some notable veteran cornerbacks available on the free-agent market. The biggest name is Logan Ryan, a former New England Patriot and Tennessee Titan. Ryan’s time spent in New England gives him a connection to Joe Judge. Other notable free-agent cornerbacks include Ross Cockrell (formerly of the Giants and then the Panthers, giving him a connection to James Bradberry), and Dre Kirkpatrick.

If the Giants were to sign Logan Ryan, he could provide a huge boost to the team’s defense. Ryan totaled 13 combined tackles, 8 quarterback hits, 18 passes defended, 4.5 sacks, and 4 interceptions. His sack total would have ranked second on the Giants in 2019. Ryan is versatile with the ability to play in the slot or outside. More importantly, Ryan has experience, something the Giants’ defense lacks.

Why Shouldn’t They Spent It?

If the Giants decide to pursue a player like Logan Ryan, he will not come cheap. Ryan is asking for over $10 million, which would just about cut their cap space in half. The Giants could hold onto their money and allow it to roll over into 2021.

New York also needs to get its younger players more experience. Signing a veteran cornerback would take valuable snaps and playing time away from younger guys, such as Corey Ballentine, Julian Love, and Darnay Holmes. Sometimes, the best way to learn is through experience. Failure can be a great teacher (see Dagobah scene in Empire Strikes Back).

These young defensive backs have plenty to learn, and much of it can only be learned on an NFL football field going against the toughest competition. These young guys are the future of the Giants’ defense. Getting them the live experience now will help them develop in the long run. After all, the Giants are a rebuilding team with plenty of young players. It might not be in the best interest of a rebuilding team to spend significant money on a 29-year-old cornerback.

New York Giants: 3 players on the roster to supplement loss of Sam Beal at cornerback

New York Giants, Julian Love

The New York Giants lost one of their cornerbacks on Wednesday, as third-year player Sam Beal opted out of the 2020 season. While we don’t know what personal issues might have been the cause, Beal will lose out on a fantastic opportunity to gain some lost ground after spending the last two seasons predominantly injured.

Of course, we wish him well and hope his family isn’t affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Nonetheless, his departure opens the door for multiple players to lock down the CB2 spot.

Let’s take a look at three players on the roster the New York Giants could elevate:

1.) Darnay Holmes

When entering the NFL, most penciled Darnay Holmes in as the Giants’ starting nickel corner. Interestingly, Holmes never played slot corner in college, he only earned a few reps during the Senior Bowl. After being coined the best nickel corner in the draft by analysts, without ever seeing live reps there, the Giants shouldn’t feel the need to stick him at the position immediately. With Beal and DeAndre Baker likely missing the 2020 campaign, Holmes should be given the opportunity to compete at CB2.

Holmes has a similar frame to former Giant Janoris Jenkins (5-foot-10, 195-pounds), so the idea that he is too small is completely untrue. Holmes is a competitive athlete who has a great character. His leadership mentality and great tangible traits make him a primed player to take a stab at the void position. However, I believe he should compete in the slot as well.

In 2019, he played on a high ankle sprain with UCLA. His toughness and grit are at the forefront of his positive qualities, and I believe he has the drive to earn an opportunity at CB2 and at nickle.

With that being said, he is still somewhat of a raw prospect that needs some refinement. Adapting to NFL size and speed is not an easy task, as Sterling Shepard showed him a few weeks ago during a training session. Shepard’s quick-twitch abilities were too much for Holmes, who was left tracking Shepard a few steps behind. Camp should give him ample experience and reps against NFL talent, which will prove to be essential in his progress toward becoming a starter.

New York Giants: Top Players/Positions To Monitor In Training Camp 2020

New York Giants, Darius Slayton

Football is back! The New York Giants officially reported to training camp on Tuesday, marking the beginning of the 2020 NFL season. Veterans reported to training camp today as the team does its first wave of COVID-19 testing. This will be a crucial season for the Giants as they enter the year with a brand new coaching staff and a revamped roster.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be no preseason this year, making training camp that much more important. Many of those players who standout in the preseason to earn their roster spots will not be afforded such an opportunity this year. Instead, the Giants’ new coaching staff will have to gauge their players’ talents in training camp alone.

With that being the case, who are the top players, or what are the top positions to watch during training camp in 2020?

You can check out the video version of this article below, or continue scrolling for the written version:

Can the New York Giants trust Sam Beal at cornerback?

New York Giants, Sam Beal

Come the start of the regular season, and the New York Giants might be deploying Sam Beal as their number two cornerback. With DeAndre Baker still facing legal issues and the Giants wanting nothing to do with him until those are resolved, they will have to find a supplement. Beal seems like the obvious choice to answer the call, but he doesn’t have much live experience due to a number of injuries.

Beal was selected in the supplemental draft by general manager Dave Gettleman in 2018, who spent a third-round pick for his services. A known injury to his shoulder forced the young defender to undergo surgery before even hitting the training facilities. This required him to sit out for his entire rookie season. In 2019, he was limited to just six games due to injuries but showed some promise.

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What did Sam Beal show the New York Giants in 2020?

At 6-foot-1 and 177-pounds, Beal doesn’t have the ideal size for a boundary corner. He’s a bit thin and raw, but he has the athleticism to compensate for a lack of size. He actually might be a better fit at nickel corner, but the Giants need him to develop on the outside.

During his small sample size last year, he allowed 171 yards and one touchdown on a 76.2 completion percentage. He did rack up 26 combined tackles, and one pass defended. Ultimately, his experience is so limited, it is difficult to make a judgment on his quality.

I would be remiss not to mention his performance against the Miami Dolphins. He racked up 11 tackles and a momentum-shifting safety, where the corner was aggressive — flying down-hill and stopping Patrick Laird in the end-zone.

Concerns remain

The concerning part is his lack of experience. The Giants were relying on Baker to bounce back from a tough rookie campaign. The former first-round pick was utilized in a heavy zone scheme, which is far from his strength. New defensive coordinator Patrick Graham utilizes man coverage 50% of the time, which should benefit Baker in a theoretical scenario.

However, new information regarding his legal case has bubbled to the surface. It could be a while before any arraignment occurs. With training camp starting in a few weeks, Beal is currently expected to slide in next to number one corner, James Bradberry.

There are positives when it comes to Beal. For example, he only allowed 20 yards after the catch, which indicates he kept his receivers in front of him and did not allow big plays to occur.

The best course of action for the Giants is to institute a position battle. They currently have Corey Ballentine, Julian love, and Beal available. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Darnay Holmes in the mix, either. While the de-facto option would be Sam, bringing out the best in him includes activating his competitive nature.

New York Giants: Replacement Options For DeAndre Baker

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

The New York Giants are once again in the news for the wrong reasons. Second-year cornerback DeAndre Baker has been dealing with quite a bit of legal trouble this offseason that has been made very public news. In May, Baker was accused of armed robbery. Since then, the little bits of news and updates on Baker’s legal situation have been mostly positive. Information was even brought to light that indicated Baker was innocent.

Those who accused Baker of these crimes eventually recanted their statements. But now, according to a report by Pat Leonard, a search warrant obtained exclusively by the NY Daily News seems to indicate that Baker had a payoff cover-up that further implicates him in the crime.

After the warrant by the NY Daily News was made public, reports stated that the Giants are expected to cut DeAndre Baker. Without DeAndre Baker on the Giants’ roster, there is a major hole at the Giants’ second outside cornerback position. Who could fill that role for the Giants on short notice in 2020?

Logan Ryan

Logan Ryan is a veteran slot cornerback who had a statistically incredible 2019 season as a member of the Tennessee Titans. As a cornerback, Ryan totaled an insane 113 combined tackles last season. Ryan was also a tremendous playmaker, forcing a career-high 4 fumbles, racking up another career-high 14 passes defended while also adding 4 interceptions.

Ryan has been in the NFL for seven seasons. He spent his first four years in New England before signing with the Tennessee Titans in 2017. Over the years, Logan Ryan has been one of the most consistent nickel cornerbacks in the NFL, but he is also capable of playing on the outside.

According to Pro Football Focus, “Ryan is by no means an elite slot corner — in fact, he surrendered over 1,000 yards in coverage in 2019 and was constantly picked on.” The former Titans corner might be past his prime, but PFF concedes he is “still an average player at the position — he was the 48th most valuable corner in 2019.”

Acquiring Logan Ryan’s talents would not come cheap, though. The cornerback reportedly “is not willing to accept less than $10 million annually.” The Giants might not have the cap space available to comfortably sign Ryan at the moment, however, if the team does decide to cut DeAndre Baker, Logan Ryan’s contract will become much more affordable.

Sam Beal

The Giants had high hopes when they selected Sam Beal in the third round of the 2018 Supplemental Draft. So far, he has not exactly lived up to expectations. Injuries held Beal back in his first two seasons, but he was not overly impressive when he found the field.

Sam Beal played in 6 games and started 3 games in 2019. In those games, Beal allowed a 76.2% completion percentage when targeted. He allowed opposing receivers to gain 171 yards and 1 touchdown. Opposing quarterbacks recorded a passer rating of 115.4 against Sam Beal. If Beal is going to replace DeAndre Baker, the Giants will need him to improve his performance significantly.

Julian Love

Julian Love started five games at safety for the Giants in 2019. He was expected to continue in a rotational safety role in 2020, but expectations have been subverted by DeAndre Baker’s incident. This makes Julian Love a potential option at outside cornerback.

Julian Love played safety as a rookie in the NFL, but he played cornerback in college. At that position, Love recorded 32 pass breakups and 4 interceptions over his last two years at Notre Dame.

“Pure and simple, Love is a cover guy who possesses the feet, hips, instincts and competitiveness you want in a corner.” – analyst Lance Zierelein

New York Giants: Sam Beal is next man up if DeAndre Baker misses time

New York Giants, Sam Beal

New York Giants’ DeAndre Baker’s case is still going through the appeal process, hopefully, all checks out and Baker is innocent. DeAndre Baker’s lawyer has filed a not guilty plea for all eight charges in his armed robbery and aggravated assault case.

His lawyer Bradford Cohen stated on Instagram:

“We have affidavits from several witnesses that also dispute the allegations and exculpate our client.”

The New York Giants might start the 2020 season without their second-year cornerback who never gave up a coverage touchdown pass in college. In college, DeAndre was used to playing man/pressed coverage. Under defensive coordinator James Bettcher, Baker was involved in a lot of zone coverage. This was something new to Baker, he struggled tremendously while playing zone. Now, this is a huge blow for the Giants’ secondary, there were a lot of expectations for Baker in year two after a tough rookie season. A lot of teams took advantage of the Giants’ defense and Baker in 2019. Left Baker alone on an island with a team’s top receiver. If he is not back in time for the 2020 season, Sam Beal will have to take charge and fill the shoes of Baker. I think Beal should get a shot even if Baker is back. Beal has battled injuries his whole NFL career, 2020 could be a breakout year for Beal in my mind. 

Sam Beal was drafted in the third round of the supplemental draft back in 2018. His rookie season was cut short due to a shoulder injury just two weeks into training camp. At Western Michigan, Beal was a very productive quality player. In three seasons at Western Michigan, Beal played in 37 games with 23 total starts.  In 2017, Beal started all 11 games, he also had the highest coverage grade in the Mid-American Conference (MAC) during that season. This is not a fluke season, Beal has the skillset and athleticism to play ball in the NFL.

Sam Beal Profile

Sam Beal fits the ideal NFL cornerback stereotype, 6’1″, 177 pounds, and ran a 4.47 40-yard dash at his Pro Day. With explosive speed, Beal could be a lockdown corner in the NFL, it ultimately depends on if he is healthy or not. In 2019, the Giants finally got to see Beal in action, but only for six games. In those six games, Beal started in three of them, and recorded 20 solo tackles and a safety! Pretty impressive, it’s not easy to come back to a deflated defense and make bigtime plays.

What Sam Beal needs to work on

If Sam Beal wants to be a big part of the New York Giants’ defense, he needs to limit his completion percentage allowed. In 2019, Beal allowed 16 completed passes when targeted and over 170 yards allowed on those completions. A 76.2% completion percentage allowed is not going to help the Giants’ defense.

What we can expect from Sam Beal

Sam Beal is a scrappy corner who can be used in the box or even in the slot. Having a speedster in the secondary will give the Giants a huge boost, even if Baker returns. Beal could ear a lot of reps through training camp. If Baker is suspended or released from the team, Beal will get a chance to prove himself as a valuable piece on the defense. Hopefully, there are no injury concerns for Beal in 2020, the Giants would love to have him on the field.

Two New York Giants players that have breakout potential but continue to disappoint

New York Giants, Sam Beal

Taking a look at two New York Giants players can if they can break out of their current funk:

With DeAndre baker going through the legal system after being accused of armed robbery, the New York Giants are in a state of caution. Of course, nothing has been proven, and waiting until all the facts come out is a necessity, but in the meantime, let’s look at two players who have the potential to break out but have disappointed in recent seasons.

1.) Sam Beal

When Dave Gettleman spent a third-round pick on supplemental draft selection Sam Beal, most were a bit confused at the choice. Beal missed his entire rookie season with a shoulder injury and only played in six games in 2019. While Beal looked good during preseason play, he struggled in coverage during the regular season. He posted a 76.2% completion rate against and allowed one touchdown. On a brighter note, he missed zero tackles out of 26 combined, showing that he had good fundamentals and just needs to improve in coverage.

Having played his first NFL action last season, he might’ve had the jitters, which resulted in poor performances. There is still potential for him to excel in the NFL; he just needs to clear the roadblocks holding him back. Beal is a physical corner at 6-foot-1 and 192 pounds; he has the speed to match up with opposing wide receivers and can track them properly.

If Beal hadn’t been a supplemental draft pick, he is convinced he would’ve been a first-round selection, as he’s self-proclaimed smart, quick, and fast.

“I’m different,’’ he said last season. “I’m smart, I’m quick, and I’m fast at the same time. You can be quick, you can be fast, but I’m quick and I’m fast. And I’m a physical corner. If they put me anywhere, I can play it. I got range out the door. I can get sideline to sideline just as fast as anybody else.”

On paper, Beal has all the physical traits to be a quality player at the NFL level, he just hasn’t managed to put it together yet and remain healthy. Hopefully, in the 2020 season, all of these things can come together.

2.) Evan Engram

Engram always seems to be the storyline around this time of year, considering his last few seasons plagued by injury. In 2019, Engram played in just eight games, having his lowest totals in yards and seeing a downward turn in catch rate. He played in just 42% of offensive snaps, the lowest in three years, once again disappointing fans who expected him to have a fantastic season.

Generally, the hope is that he can finally become an elite pass-catching tight end, but injuries are almost expected at this point. He’s coming off a mid foot sprain that required surgery and is still rehabbing from it. The physicality of the tight end position seems to be too much for Engram, who might be better used in a pass-catching role and limited to a degree. The Giants signed Levine Toilolo to handle blocking duties primarily in 12 personnel sets, so Engram can utilize his strengths without having to be held back.

New York Giants: A look at all the cornerbacks on the roster – who can replace DeAndre Baker?

New York Giants, Darnay Holmes, Julian Love, Jabrill Peppers, DeAndre Baker, Xavier McKinney, Corey Ballentine

Taking a look at all of the cornerbacks on the New York Giants’ roster and who could be in line to replace DeAndre Baker:

With DeAndre Baker self-sabotaging his career and holding partygoers at gunpoint, the New York Giants must reevaluate the cornerback position and see if a player on the roster is capable of filling in for Baker. Of course, these are all still allegations and not proven, but multiple witnesses told TMZ that Baker was the primary piece in the armed robbery.

Looking to the roster, here are the cornerbacks on the team and if any of them are capable of taking over the number two spot.

Julian Love:

Love didn’t see much playing time until later on in the 2019 season, but when he finally earned starting reps, he didn’t disappoint. Over 15 games started, Love posted 37 combine tackles, five tackles for loss, one forced fumble, three passes offended, and one interception. He posted a 65.5% completion rate against and allowed one touchdown.

Overall, he only played 37% of defensive snaps and still looked good in a diverse role. He featured at free safety, cornerback, and strong safety. While he might be better suited for a safety position, he did play boundary corner at Notre Dame. He could be in line to earn significant reps as the number two corner opposite James Bradberry moving forward.

James Bradberry:

This is a complicated situation for Bradberry, who recently signed a three-year contract with the Giants. Expecting to see a rebuilding team with success in its future, Baker had to go and ruin the party. Bradberry will now have to serve as the number one corner, and likely watches his counterpart struggle a bit while they become acclimated with the position. Nonetheless, at least the Giants have one quality player they can rely on.

Sam Beal:

Beal has been injured for most of his first two seasons in the NFL, and he struggled in coverage last season over three starts. Beal logged a 76.2% completion rate against an allowed one touchdown on 21 targets. The best thing we can pull from his small sample size is his 0.0% missed tackle rate, indicating his technique and efficiency in that category. The Giants need to see more from Beal, who has plenty of potential but has failed to remain healthy to unlock it. This could be his season to break out.

Corey Ballentine:

Ballentine is a former sixth-round draft pick from 2019, and while he struggled significantly last season, there’s potential to be seen. In 13 appearances and over 27% of defensive snaps, he posted a 64.3% completion rate and allowed four touchdowns. He has to decrease the number of touchdowns he allows and must develop in coverage. The Giants moved him interior to the slot position, which likely put him in a difficult position. In the most recent draft, the New York Giants added several slot competitors, which could allow Ballentine to move over to the outside, which would put him in a position to steal reps at the number two corner spot.

Chris Williamson:

Williamson is an athletic corner with tons of potential. His biggest knock is his tackling technique and inefficiency in the area. He has the speed and physicality to match up against wide receivers in the NFL, but he must get better in the tackling category. I wouldn’t expect him to be an influential player in year one, but he could develop moving forward.

Grant Haley:

Haley is more of an interior slot corner with fantastic tackling ability. He is not the best in coverage and will likely serve as a reserve option for the Giants moving forward.

Darnay Holmes:

Holmes is an extremely athletic and high-character player with a sky-high ceiling. He will likely slide into a nickel-corner role rather than playing on the outside. His injection could give Ballentine more opportunity on the outside, where I estimate the Giants will utilize a position battle to find Baker’s replacement.

New York Giants: Three Players Already On The Roster Who Could Replace DeAndre Baker

New York Giants, Darnay Holmes, Julian Love, Jabrill Peppers, DeAndre Baker, Xavier McKinney, Corey Ballentine

The New York Giants are once again at the forefront of sports media for all the wrong reasons. Last night, disappointing and gutwrenching news broke about Giants cornerback DeAndre Baker. The Miami Police Department issued an arrest warrant on DeAndre Baker. Baker is accused of committing four counts of armed robbery and aggravated assault. With Baker likely to be jailed, the Giants will need to look elsewhere at cornerback and find his replacement. Here are three players that are already on the roster who could potentially replace DeAndre Baker:

Julian Love

Julian Love started five games at safety for the Giants in 2019. He was expected to continue in a rotational safety role in 2020, but expectations have been subverted by DeAndre Baker’s incident. This makes Julian Love a potential option at outside cornerback.

Julian Love played safety as a rookie in the NFL, but he played cornerback in college. At that position, Love recorded 32 pass breakups and 4 interceptions over his last two years at Notre Dame.

“Pure and simple, Love is a cover guy who possesses the feet, hips, instincts and competitiveness you want in a corner.” – analyst Lance Zierelein

Sam Beal

The Giants had high hopes when they selected Sam Beal in the third round of the 2018 Supplemental Draft. So far, he has not exactly lived up to expectations. Injuries held Beal back in his first two seasons, but he was not overly impressive when he found the field.

Sam Beal played in 6 games and started 3 games in 2019. In those games, Beal allowed a 76.2% completion percentage when targeted. He allowed opposing receivers to gain 171 yards and 1 touchdown. Opposing quarterbacks recorded a passer rating of 115.4 against Sam Beal. If Beal is going to replace DeAndre Baker, the Giants will need him to improve his performance significantly.

Corey Ballentine

Corey Ballentine, the Giants’ 2019 sixth-round draft pick, could be an option to replace DeAndre Baker. Unfortunately, Ballentine’s situation is similar to Sam Beal’s. If he wants to earn this promotion, he needs to improve his performance.

Ballentine dealt with some injuries in 2019, but he did manage to play in 13 games and start 2 games. While Ballentine’s performance was slightly better than Beal’s, there is still a lot of room for improvement.

Corey Ballentine allowed opposing offenses to complete 64.3% of their passes in his coverage. They totaled 393 yards and 4 touchdowns against Ballentine, too. Ballentine was a rookie, so his struggles are understood. However, if his impressive performances in last year’s training camp and preseason are any indication as to what Ballentine has in store for the future, then there is reason to believe he could earn the job.