New York Giants: 3 cornerbacks to consider in free agency to fill void CB2 spot

xavier rhodes, New York Giants

The New York Giants revamped their secondary from 2019 to 2020. They brought in a bunch of new faces this past offseason, signing Logan Ryan and James Bradberry, and the Giants drafted Xavier McKinney in the second-round.

Their secondary was the fifth-worst pass defense in 2019. They allowed 264.1 passing yards per game in 2019, but in 2020, only allowed 237.9 passing yards per game. The Giants were in the middle of the pack for best pass defense, coming in at 16th.

Safety’s Logan Ryan, Jabrill Peppers, and Xavier McKinney are the future, and Bradberry island is a real thing. The G-Men just need another cornerback to go alongside Bradberry.

Here are three free agents the Giants should consider in free agency:

Xavier Rhodes

Xavier Rhodes was one of the top cornerbacks in the NFL this past season, but in 2017-2019, he struggled. The Minnesota Vikings decided to part ways with Rhodes this past offseason. Rhodes signed a one-year, $3,250,000 million deal with the Indianapolis Colts.

Rhodes recorded 42 tackles, 12 pass defends, and two interceptions this past season. With these solid stats, Rhodes could earn himself a pay increase but not too much where it will be out of the Giants’ price range.

If the Giants could find some money to give to Rhodes and if the secondary could repeat what they did this past season, this could easily be one of the best secondaries in 2021.

Jason McCourty

Will Logan Ryan recruit Jason McCourty to New York? The New York native just finished up his two-year deal with the New England Patriots — could McCourty team up with Joe Judge down in New York to finish his career?

McCourty has been a versatile cornerback who has played as an above-average outside cornerback for almost his entire career. McCourty has 723 career tackles, 106 pass defends, and 18 interceptions, and a Super Bowl Ring with Judge.

If McCourty wants to come to New York and leave his twin brother, the Giants have the capital to bring him in. He will have an opportunity to play alongside a Pro Bowl cornerback in Bradberry if he wants to.

Ross Cockrell

It seems like Ross Cockrell’s name is always in talks to come back to New York. With the Giants now having a better all-around team and an excellent secondary, he could come in and compete for the starting job on the outside.

Cockrell is currently on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers; they are on their way to go play in the NFC Championship game against the Green Bay Packers. With the Buccaneers stud cornerbacks, Cockrell has seen the least amount of playing time since his rookie season. Starting only two games and only recorded two pass breakups.

Cockrell only got a one-year deal with the Buccaneers for less than a million. But I will speak for all Giants fans here, we do not want another Cockrell fake signing again. Cockrell backed out of a deal this past offseason.

New York Giants: Xavier McKinney high on Alabama teammates as prospects

New York Giants, Devonta Smith

There’s a connection between the New York Giants to Alabama through head coach Joe Judge and multiple players, and it might grow further with this coming draft. That’s because there’s a number of players from the national champion Crimson Tide that might end up as Giants.

That includes a pair of receivers as well as another player in the secondary that could join ex-Alabama and current Giants safety Xavier McKinney once again.

The big name being thrown around in connection with the Giants is Devonta Smith. The wide receiver won the Heisman this season and, while he left the field injured, had three touchdowns in the National Championship. Smith has been mocked to the Giants before, but it’s debatable whether he’ll fall enough for the Giants to take him at number eleven.

Another name at receiver to memorize is Jaylen Waddle. The receiver is another member of the Alabama offense and while he missed time with injury and only played in 6 games for his junior season, he still registered 591 yards and 4 touchdowns. This class of receivers has been called a deep one. If the Giants don’t get Smith, it’s possible they end up with a player like Waddle.

As a former college teammate of both, McKinney is confident about their prospects in the league.

What did McKinney have to say?

“They’re talented as everybody can see. Those are guys that work hard. They do what they need to do for the team to be able to help the team win. That’s what I like a lot about those two guys just being out there playing with them. When we played those harder games, they always showed up to play,” McKinney said of the two Alabama receivers headed to the draft. “Like I said, they’re talented guys and I can’t wait to see how things go on the next level for them.”

The Giants have a need at the position after Sterling Shepard hasn’t been enough as their sole number one receiver and Darius Slayton hasn’t stepped up to the plate either. In fact, Slayton somewhat regressed since his first year.

He did have slightly more yards, but only 3 touchdowns compared to 8. He was targeted more but the ball didn’t get to him more than it did last season, with only two more receptions compared to 2019. And with Slayton having more of a role in the offense and starting more games compared to 2019, those stats don’t look good on him.

Few believed at first that Devonta Smith will be available at the time the Giants pick. However, his injury in the national championship may change that. If other teams are more wary, the Giants might be able to fill their need for less than Smith’s true value.

A player in the secondary for the Giants

Another player from Alabama that might be on the radar for the Giants is Patrick Surtain. Surtain is on the defensive side of the ball rather than the offense, specifically playing the cornerback position. Like many players to come out of Alabama, he has a reputation for discipline and holds the accomplishment of not allowing more than 60 yards in coverage in a single game last season.

The Giants have one high level cornerback in James Bradberry, but the secondary would receive a big boost from having another one playing on the other side of him. That player could be Surtain, who is predicted to be one of the first corners off the board.

“That’s another one of those guys where he comes to work every day, he prepares how he should and he’s another talented corner,” McKinney said about his former teammate in the secondary. “It’s a guy that I love to play with when we were at ‘Bama. I thought he did a lot of things well. He’s a really talented corner. He’s one of the best technicianists that I’ve gotten to actually witness at corner. That’s my guy.”

Of course, some Giants fans might be nervous about drafting a cornerback in the first round given the team’s track record. The Giants will have some regrets at the position from taking Eli Apple and DeAndre Baker in the first round and having both those players off the team within a relatively short time span. In the case of Baker, he was only on the team for one year before the Giants moved on from him.

But with this prospect coming out of Alabama, a team known for it Patriots-like system and discipline, it seems less likely the Giants will find such problems with Surtain. After all, we’ve seen the products of that system work out for the Giants so far. When McKinney, Dalvin Tomlinson, and Joe Judge can all trace roots back to there, it must be doing something right.

New York Giants rookie safety Xavier McKinney ends season on high note

new york giants

The New York Giants were eliminated from playoff contention on Sunday, but they did win their final matchup of the 2020-2021 regular season. After a chaotic ending to the game, the Giants came out victorious over the Dallas Cowboys. New York won the game with a final score of 23-19.

The Giants’ offense showed improvement in its final game this season, but it was still the defense that came up big in the end. Multiple defenders had standout performances and made key plays to earn the victory. But one surprise player came up huge at the end and put together the best performance of his young career.

Rookie safety Xavier McKinney ended the 2020 season on a high note with a strong performance in Week 17. McKinney was drafted in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft by the Giants in April. New York had high hopes for McKinney and his abilities to play on the back end of the defense. Unfortunately, Giants fans did not get to see Xavier very much this season. He suffered a foot injury in training camp that kept him out of the team’s first ten games this season.

Xavier McKinney made his debut in Week 12, playing only five defensive snaps, though. Gradually, as the season went on, McKinney saw his role in the Giants increase week by week until he was playing starting-level snaps in the season finale. In this expanded role, McKinney showed up big time and put together an excellent performance to end the season.

Xavier McKinney’s Week 17 performance

Xavier McKinney saw his role in the Giants’ defense expand significantly in Week 17. He played a career-high 73 defensive snaps on Sunday, accounting for 89% of the team’s defensive snaps. Xavier was attributed with an official start this week, his fourth on the season. With this starting role came a new and improved version of Xavier McKinney.

McKinney made the most of every snap this Sunday. He found himself intercepting two passes on Sunday, though one was called back early in the matchup. But that did not stop McKinney from recorded his first career interception against the Cowboys. On Dallas’s final offensive play of the game, McKinney picked the ball out of the air on Andy Dalton’s prayer to the end zone, sealing the victory for Big Blue.

While some might consider this interception to be a “gimme,” Xavier still found himself in a position to make a play and he did not squander the opportunity. This interception was a clutch, big-time moment from the second-round rookie.

This interception was not Xavier’s only big play in the game. McKinney had another impressive play earlier in the game in the third quarter. The Dallas Cowboys set up a wide receiver screen to CeeDee Lamb and McKinney sniffed it out instantly, blowing up the play and making the tackle behind the line of scrimmage.

Xavier McKinney finished the game with eight combined tackles, one tackle for loss, one pass defended, and one interception. McKinney’s coverage was never targeted, indicating solid coverage on Dallas’s wide receivers.

Xavier McKinney wrapped up his rookie season, playing a total of 209 defensive snaps. He racked up 25 combined tackles (16 in the final two weeks), a 57.6 passer rating when targeted, and only 1 missed tackle. Xavier McKinney showed out in six games and established himself as a clear long-term building block in the final week of his rookie season.

New York Giants rookie safety Xavier McKinney impresses in extended appearance against Browns

New York Giants, Xavier McKinney

The New York Giants came out flat and lost a crucial Week 15 matchup with the Cleveland Browns on Sunday night. New York’s offense failed to get in the end zone, coming away with only six total points on the scoreboard. The game stayed in reach, however, as the Giants’ defense held the electric Browns’ offense to only twenty total points.

On the Giants’ defense, there were some impressive individual performances that helped keep the game close. Ultimately, the Giants’ lack of a pass-rush allowed Baker Mayfield to comfortably stand in the pocket and have a career-day. But Baker’s phenomenal performance is not to discredit the great efforts of some of the Giants’ defensive backs forced to play out of position. Rookie safety Xavier McKinney spent most of the game filling in at slot cornerback and had a solid performance.

Xavier McKinney in Week 15

According to Pro Football Focus, Xavier McKinney was the highest-graded player on the Giants’ defense against the Cleveland Browns. McKinney earned a 70.5 overall grade on 41 snaps, 64% of the team’s defensive snaps.

This was the most that Xavier McKinney has seen the field all season. The rookie second-round pick broke his foot in training camp, keeping him out for the first eleven weeks of the season. Xavier returned to the team in Week 12 but has been slowly worked into the defense. The Giants’ defense has been playing well this season, so they have not had any need to rush Xavier into the lineup.

That was until this week. The Giants were short on defensive backs entering their Week 15 matchup with the Cleveland Browns. Elite cornerback James Bradberry was out this week after being placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list. Additionally, starting slot cornerback Darnay Holmes was out with a knee injury. This forced the Giants to play two safeties out of position at cornerback, and Xavier McKinney was one of those safeties.

McKinney spent most of his time playing slot cornerback on Sunday night. While Xavier McKinney’s box score stat line might not be too impressive or indicate a great performance, going deeper than the surface level will reveal that Xavier actually did play a solid game.

Xavier McKinney allowed zero yards allowed in coverage, racked up multiple tackles, and had zero missed tackles in the game (PFF). The Giants got a lowkey impressive performance out of their rookie safety in his first extended appearance, and that is a huge positive they can draw from this disappointing loss.

New York Giants: Record aside, Giants pose a difficult playoff matchup

New York Giants, Daniel Jones

Despite a lackluster 4-7 record, the New York Giants are in first place in the NFC East and have the makings of a difficult matchup in the playoffs.

In a typical year, if the New York Giants were sitting with a record of 4-7 in December, they would likely be looking forward to the next season, with their playoff hopes seemingly dashed. However, this is 2020, and the 4-7 Giants sit atop the putrid NFC East and would make the playoffs if the season ended today.

The disappointing 4-7 record is a bit misleading, as the Giants have not been nearly as bad as their record would indicate. In their seven losses, the Giants have lost by an average of 7.86 points per game. When you take away the 36-9 drubbing at the hands of the San Francisco 49ers, the average drops to only 4.67 points per loss.
Of the seven losses that the Giants have suffered, six have been against teams with defenses currently ranked in the top 15 in the league, including the Steelers (#1), Rams (#4), Bears (#8), 49ers (#11), Eagles (#14), and Buccaneers (#15). Additionally, they have defeated the Redskins (#6) twice and the aforementioned Eagles. To say that the GMEN have faced a gauntlet of difficult defenses this season would be an understatement.

The Giants have some difficult defensive matchups remaining on the schedule with the Ravens (#3) and Cardinals (#13) still to come. The Giants’ offense has shown the ability to hang with the best defenses in the National Football League, which is something they will undoubtedly be tasked with again, should they make the playoffs.
Speaking of excellent defenses, the Giants boast a stout defense of their own.

Currently, Big Blue has the tenth-ranked defense in the National Football League. They have allowed the fifth-fewest rushing yards in the league and are currently 19th in the league in passing yards allowed. They are tied for 11th in sacks with 27, tied for 14th in interceptions with nine, and tied for third in forced fumbles with 9. This season, the Giants defense has shown the ability to come up with big plays, something that has been severely lacking in recent seasons.

The defensive line has been excellent against the run and has also shown the ability to get after the quarterback.  Dalvin Tomlinson, Dexter Lawrence, Jabaal Sheard, and B.J. Hill have outperformed expectations along the defensive line. Meanwhile, Leonard Williams has been extremely productive, recording a career-high six sacks already this season for the Giants.

The linebacker play has been better than expected as well. Offseason free-agent addition Blake Martinez is currently in consideration for the Defensive Player of the Year Award with 101 total tackles, two sacks, one interception, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery. The outside linebackers have done admirable after losing two of their top pash rushers, Lorenzo Carter (ruptured Achilles) and Oshane Ximinez (torn rotator cuff) to a season-ending injury and trading another in Markus Golden to the Arizona Cardinals. A combination of David Mayo, Kyler Fackrell, Tae Crowder, Carter Coughlin, Cam Brown, and Devante Downs have stepped up to fill the void of losing the top trio of outside linebackers.

The secondary for the Giants has been excellent as well. James Bradberry, Logan Ryan, Jabrill Peppers, and Julian Love have become one of the more formidable secondaries in the league. The four of them have combined for six interceptions, four forced fumbles, and 33 pass deflections. Isaac Yiadom and Darnay Holmes have provided serviceable play as well in the secondary. The Giants received another boost to their defensive backfield last week, when their uber-talented second-round draft pick, Xavier McKinney, made his debut. As McKinney receives more reps and gets a more prominent role in the Giants secondary, this defensive backfield looks to be a major strength as the team heads into the final part of the regular season.

While the defense has been excellent for New York this season, the offense has struggled. Currently, they are ranked 30th overall in points scored, 28th in passing yards, and 29th in rushing yards. On the season, Big Blue has averaged a paltry 19.5 points per game. However, over the past seven weeks, the team has averaged a much more respectable 27.14 points per game.

A lot of the offensive struggles for the GMEN can be attributed to the fact that nine of the eleven teams that they have faced have featured defenses ranked in the top 15 in the league. Some of the offensive ineptitude is a direct result of injuries. Superstar running back Saquon Barkley was lost early in the second game of the season, and Sterling Shepard missed four weeks of action after being injured against the Bears in Week 2.

Perhaps the biggest hindrance to offensive production early on for the Giants was due to poor play from the offensive line. The lack of preseason games negatively impacted the early performance along Big Blue’s offensive line. Nick Gates had not received any game action at the center position after moving from the tackle spot. Draft picks Andrew Thomas, Matt Peart, and Shane Lemieux did not benefit from NFL game action prior to being inserted into the lineup. Cameron Fleming didn’t receive any reps with his new linemates after coming over via free agency from Dallas.

The initial results were indicative of an offensive line with a lot of new personnel, a new coach, and little to no experience playing next to one another. However, Big Blue’s offensive line has shown improvement over the past few weeks. The improvement in the offensive line has been apparent in the reduction of turnovers from Daniel Jones, as well as the ability of the offense to have a productive running game in recent weeks. Through the first nine games of the season, Daniel Jones had 14 turnovers (nine interceptions and five fumbles). In the past two weeks, Jones has not turned the ball over.

During the first five games of the season, the Giants averaged a pathetic 79 rushing yards per game and had only one game with over 100 yards (136 against the Rams). Over the past six games, the Giants have rushed for over 100 yards in every game and are averaging 142 rushing yards per game. If they can continue to rush at the clip they have over the past six games, their rushing attack would rank in the top five in the NFL. The GMEN seem to have found something in Wayne Gallman, who has rushed for 293 yards and six touchdowns over the past five games.

The passing attack for the GMEN has not been as good as it was in 2019 when they averaged 233.2 passing yards per game. Currently, they are averaging 200.5 yards per game on the season. However, they have averaged 216.16 passing yards per game over the past six contests, further evidence of improvement from the offensive line. The recent emergence of Evan Engram and the return of Sterling Shepard should help further the advancement of the Giants’ passing attack moving forward.

Another major asset for New York this season has been the addition of Graham Gano. After the team cut Aldrick Rosas following his arrest for a DUI, the kicking game for the Giants was thrown into disarray. The team would ultimately sign free agent Graham Gano who was released in July by the Carolina Panthers after he missed the final four games of the 2018 season and all of the 2019 season due to a leg injury. Gano has been nothing short of spectacular this season for the Giants, going 25-26 in field goal attempts and 17-17 in extra-point attempts.

Last week, Gano set a Giants record by making 22 straight field goal attempts. Currently, he is 4th in the NFL in field goal percentage at 96.2% and is 9th in points with 92. Big Blue wisely signed Gano to a three-year $14 million extension. Gano gives the Giants arguably their most clutch kicker since Lawrence Tynes.

Certainly, losing Daniel Jones to a hamstring injury during this playoff run is not ideal. Jones was able to practice in a limited capacity this week, suggesting that his absence may not be prolonged. The dual-threat that he poses at the quarterback position presents a challenge for opposing defenses to gameplan against. The Giants will need backup Colt McCoy to basically be a game manager this week against the Seattle Seahawks if they hope to win. Luckily, Seattle comes in with the worst pass defense in the league, which should help his cause.

While the Cowboys and Redskins both arguably have easier remaining schedules, the Giants seem to have a better team than both of their division rivals. If they can get past Seattle, the Giants have the Cardinals, Browns, Ravens, and Cowboys remaining. They will need to continue to show improvement if they hope to capture their first division title since 2011.

Should the New York Giants make the playoffs, there are a lot of reasons to believe that they will be a difficult matchup. From their defense, which has performed well thus far and continues to improve, to their young athletic offensive line that seems to be improving each week, to their newly found rushing attack, to their quarterback who is always a threat to tuck it and run or to find an open receiver for a big play, to their clutch weapon in the kicking game, or the bravado that this team brings with new head coach Joe Judge at the helm, this team has shown the ability to hang with some of the best teams in the National Football league and likely is a team that contenders are hoping to avoid a matchup against in the playoffs.

New York Giants: Bengals uncertainty part of the fun for Patrick Graham

New York Giants, Patrick Graham

The addition of Patrick Graham as the defensive coordinator of the New York Giants has been one of their best moves this offseason. Under Graham, new additions James Bradberry and Blake Martinez have stepped up to exceed expectations and others such as Dexter Lawrence and Leonard Williams have raised their game further than they were able to under the previous administration.

And the defense will play a big role in the Giants’ game on Sunday, when they face the Bengals. After all, the Bengals have already lost their starting quarterback for the season. It looks like the Giants have an advantage here, and even Vegas has favored them. However, the Giants have already lost one game this season to a backup quarterback when they were blown out by San Francisco.

This one isn’t a given just because the Bengals don’t have Joe Burrow. It’s also uncertain just who will replace Burrow. The Bengals have multiple options in Brandon Allen and Ryan Finley. Neither player has been named the starter just yet.

Giants defensive coordinator not scared of the mystery

According to Patrick Graham, the uncertainty is part of the fun.

“You’re seeing a little sprinkle in of a bunch of different, not a bunch of different systems, it’s what they do. I’m not sure what they’re doing to do. That’s the fun part of it,” Graham told reporters Friday about watching film on the Bengals before this game. “We have to prepare for all of it. What’s [Brandon] Allen do? We have to make sure we know what the quarterbacks do and see how it’s going to play into the system. To be honest with you, I don’t know what he’s going to do. We have to prepare for everything.”

The Giants will have a boost in beating whoever the Bengals start at quarterback, because of the addition of safety Xavier McKinney. McKinney is set to return from injury, and was expected in the preseason to play a big role in the defense. His debut, however, has been delayed until now due to that preseason injury.

What Xavier McKinney brings the defense

According to Graham, McKinney is eager to show off his skills after previously being limited to practicing in the classroom rather than the field.

“The thing is, he’s been grinding this whole time. Unfortunately for him, it’s been in the classroom. I feel bad for him. Now with the chance to possibly play, the thing he brings, he’s a good football player out there. That’s the simple way to put it, with some position flex. This guy can play in the deep part of the field. He can play down low. He can play all over the field,” Graham said of McKinney.

It looks like the secondary is definitely set to improve further with the addition of McKinney partway through the season – and at a much needed time. After all, the Giants are still in the running for the NFC East. A win over the Bengals would be a big step in keeping that hope alive.

New York Giants Officially Move Two Important Players To Injured Reserve

New York Giants, Xavier McKinney

The New York Giants have made a flurry of roster moves during the past week but one of the most notable is moving two players to injured reserve. We all knew that Xavier McKinney and David Mayo were injured, but now that they’re on the IR list, the possible timeline for a recovery is becoming more clear.

Mayo out for a few weeks, McKinney out for longer

Based on the current rules the players are able to come back after three weeks because of being placed on the IR list while also being on the team’s 53 man roster. However, only one player will actually come back during that time span. The Giants seem to be lucky with the injury to David Mayo, because a fast recovery within a few weeks is expected.

McKinney, on the other hand, is worse off. Safety Xavier McKinney was supposed to be an impact player in the secondary. But with a broken bone in his foot, he may miss the entire year. Even if he’s not out the whole time, it will definitely be later in the season before the Giants get him back.

By then, the team may want to keep him on the bench rather than throwing him into the metaphorical fire quickly.

The Giants will miss Mayo for the first couple games of the season most likely, even if he can return from the IR list later. The Giants strangely enough cut Mayo’s top competitor, Ryan Connelly, so it looks like it might just be up to relative unknowns like Devante Downs and T.J. Brunson to man the spot until Mayo is healthy again.

New York Giants, Logan Ryan have mutual interest (Report)

New York Jets, Logan Ryan, Tennessee Titans

According to ESPN’s Jordan Raanan, the New York Giants and free-agent cornerback Logan Ryan have mutual interest.

Ryan, 29, spent the last three seasons with the Tennessee Titans. Last season he compiled four interceptions, four and a half sacks, and 113 combined tackles. Across the Titans’ three 2019 AFC playoff games, Ryan compiled one interception and 25 combined tackles.

Across his seven seasons in the NFL, the cornerback has compiled 17 interceptions, 11 sacks, and 494 combined tackles. He was selected with the 83rd pick in the 2013 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots, where he played from 2013-16.

The Rutgers product recently changed his agent, and his former representation pitched to teams that Ryan can play safety, too.

Ryan is one of several high-profile free agents still unsigned. Defensive ends Jadeveon Clowney, Clay Matthews, and Jabaal Sheard, safety Earl Thomas and defensive tackle Damon Harrison are free agents.

The Giants secondary has taken a hit in recent weeks. Would-be second-year corner DeAndre Baker has been prosecuted on four counts of robbery with a firearm; corner Sam Beal opted out of the 2020 season; rookie safety Xavier McKinney fractured his foot, likely sidelining him for the first half of the regular season. Linebacker David Mayo recently tore his meniscus, likely sidelining him for a month.

The team’s active defensive backfield includes free-agent signee James Bradberry, Jabrill Peppers, Grant Haley, second-year players Julian Love and Corey Ballentine, and rookies Darnay Holmes and Chris Williamson, among others.

Holmes left the Giants’ Friday night intrasquad scrimmage at MetLife Stadium with a “lower” injury, and Blake Martinez missed some time with an undisclosed injury. Both players have returned to practice.

The Giants are learning a new defense under new head coach Joe Judge, administered by defensive coordinator Patrick Graham.

The Giants open the 2020 NFL season on Monday, September 14 at home against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

New York Giants: Xavier McKinney’s Career Is Not Doomed After Fifth Metatarsal Fracture

New York Giants, Xavier McKinney

The New York Giants were hit with bad injury news last week, losing two key pieces on their defense. Rookie safety Xavier McKinney and starting linebacker David Mayo were both announced injured. Mayo is expected to miss a few weeks with a meniscus trim, but McKinney is expected to be out much longer.

Xavier McKinney suffered a fractured left foot injury. More specifically, McKinney fractured his fifth metatarsal, the long bone on the outside of the foot that connects to the little toe.

This type of injury is fairly common. Many athletes have suffered this injury, some being pretty big-names. McKinney is expected to miss at least two months as he recovers from this injury. But many fans are concerned that Xavier will not be the same player when he returns. Hakeem Nicks, one of the Giants’ best wide receivers in the Eli Manning-era, suffered the same injury and never returned to the same level he was once capable of. Is Xavier McKinney’s career also doomed by this injury?

How Other NFL Players Have Recovered From This Injury:

Xavier McKinney is not the first player to ever suffer a fractured fifth metatarsal. In fact, a few big-name NFL players have also suffered the same injury and made full recoveries.

Julio Jones

Julio Jones broke his foot in 2013, playing in only five games that season. Since then, Jones has dominated the NFL. Coming back from that injury, Jones was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2014. He was then selected as a First-Team All-Pro in the following 2015 and 2016 seasons. Julio has not missed the Pro Bowl in a season since 2013. Julio Jones made a full recovery from this injury (suffered in his third season) and cemented himself as one of the best wide receivers in NFL history over the course of a career that has not yet ended.

Marvin Jones

Another wide receiver, another Jones, Marvin also made a full recovery from the same injury. During his time with the Cincinnati Bengals, Marvin Jones fractured his fifth metatarsal in 2014. Jones missed the entirety of the 2014 season with this injury. But the following season, Marvin played in all 16 games and put up 816 yards on 65 receptions. Jones is still in the league, providing quality performances from the slot for the Detroit Lions, all these years removed from a fractured fifth metatarsal.

Ben Roethlisberger

Not just wide receivers have recovered from fractured feet. The sport’s most valuable position is not immune to injuries. Long-time Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is another one on the list of star NFL players who have recovered from a fractured fifth metatarsal.

Big Ben broke his big foot in 2010. Ben suffered the injury towards the end of the year, so he only missed the final four games of the season. But this was not an injury that Ben carried into 2011, or throughout the rest of his career. Roethlisberger returned to start in 15 games in 2011 and make one of his six career Pro Bowls. Ben Roethlisberger has continued to stand on that foot in the pocket and deliver big-time throws over the past ten years.

Stephon Tuitt

Moving to the defensive side of the ball, the Steelers have another solid player to add to this list. Stephon Tuitt, one of the NFL’s most consistent defensive tackles of the last six years, also suffered a fractured foot at one point. This situation could be the most comparable to Xavier McKinney, too, because of the timing of Tuitt’s injury.

Stephon was drafted in 2014, but he did not participate in the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine due to a fracture in his fifth metatarsal. Tuitt suffered this injury in college and, subsequently, played a very limited role in his rookie season. Tuitt appeared in all 16 games, starting 4 of them, but he only played 40% of the Steelers’ defensive snaps.

The next season, Tuitt’s role expanded as he played 79% of the defense’s snaps. Tuitt is still one of the Steelers’ starting defensive lineman, to this day. He did suffer another injury in 2019, missing ten games, but this injury was unrelated to his foot injury. Tuitt tore his pec in 2019.

Derwin James

Another player to compare Xavier McKinney to is Derwin James. After a dominant, All-Pro rookie season in 2018, Derwin James suffered a fractured fifth metatarsal during training camp in 2019. James missed the first twelve weeks of the 2019 NFL season. This is the timetable expected for McKinney. He should be back around Week 13 for the Giants.

Derwin returned to the Chargers’ starting lineup in Week 13. He was not limited in any way, playing 98% of the team’s defensive snaps in Weeks 13 and 14, then 100% of the snaps in Weeks 15, 16, and 17. Of course, as it would be expected, Derwin James was not the dominant player in those final five games that he was in his rookie season- he had some rust to oil off. But Derwin was still playing at a high level after returning from this injury.

Derwin James earned an 82.3 overall grade by Pro Football Focus in those final five games, making him one of the highest-graded safeties of the 2019 NFL season. Granted, he only played 299 snaps, but he was still a solid player during that time frame. Derwin James recovered from the fractured fifth metatarsal injury and returned to form in only twelve weeks.

What Does This Mean For Xavier McKinney?

Xavier McKinney’s career is not doomed by his foot injury. Many Giants fans were scared when they first heard the news of McKinney’s fractured foot. Hearing the term “fifth metatarsal” gave them flashbacks to Hakeem Nicks and his injury from 2012. But Hakeem is just one example of a player who suffered this injury. Many other players have suffered the same injury, fully recovered, and gone on to continue successful careers.

Even at the safety position, Derwin James recovered and made an impact towards the end of the 2019 season. McKinney and James have a similar playing-style, too. Giants fans will see Xavier McKinney suit up this season, barring unforeseen complications. But the likely outcome in this situation is that Xavier McKinney fully recovers from this injury and goes on to have a successful career for the New York Giants.

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.