Following the NFL draft in April, everybody knew the Giants would have 1 rookie starting at cornerback. I don’t think anybody foresaw them having 2.
With how the Giants’ defense has come together through training camp, it’s hard not to be excited.
The Giants have a deep D-line group, a solid safety group, and a middle linebacker that flies around.
New York added a versatile chess piece in Isaiah Simmons today and 2 young, promising edge rushers. Barring health, this defense looks like it could be better than last year.
That’s IF the Giants’ two rookie corners can hold their own against some of the NFL’s best receivers.
The Giants selected cornerback Deonte Banks out of Maryland with their first-round draft pick in April’s draft. This pick filled a huge need as the Giants had no one to play on the outside opposite Adoree Jackson. When training camp opened up, that is exactly the lineup the Giants were trotting out. Banks showed some struggles, but as camp has progressed, he has looked very solid, especially in their 2 preseason games.
One position that hasn’t looked strong is slot cornerback.
That position was expected to be filled by either Darnay Holmes or Cor’Dale Flott. The problem is that neither of those players looked particularly good. This led to the Giants pushing Adoree Jackson inside, leaving a void at the outside corner.
So the question became…
Who would fill that void?
The reason the Giants felt comfortable moving Jackson inside was because of the strong play of their 6th-round draft pick out of Old Dominion, Tre Hawkins. Hawkins quickly moved his way up the depth chart to the point where Giants Defensive Coordinator Wink Martindale felt as though he was one of the 3 best corners. For the last few weeks, Hawkins and Banks have been starting outside, and Jackson has been playing in the slot.
While it is great to hear how well Banks and Hawkins have been playing, it’s also a little uneasy to have 2 unproven players starting at arguably the NFL’s hardest position. While Jackson will surely still be playing on the outside some, and the Giants have other guys who can play in the slot at times, the success of this defense will come down to the play of the 2 rookie corners.
The success of an NFL team comes down to many factors. Health, execution, luck, and many other factors.
The Giants’ defense has some question marks on it as far as depth is concerned, but when you really strip it down, it comes down to the 2 rookie corners out of Maryland and Old Dominion.
At the end of the day, this defense will only go as far as Deontae Banks and Tre Hawkins take them.
Photo: New York Giants/Twitter/X