The New York Giants addressed their secondary in a major way in the 2020 NFL Draft, adding two potential starters in Alabama safety Xavier McKinney and UCLA cornerback Darnay Holmes. They also used a late-round flyer on versatile defensive back Chris Williamson, out of Minnesota.
However, the Giants are far from done reconstructing the fifth-worst pass defense in football from a season ago, evident by their latest roster move.
According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, the Giants have claimed former Miami Dolphins safety Montre Hartage off waivers.
As Pelissero noted, the addition of Hartage reunites him with his former defensive coordinator from Miami, Patrick Graham, who is entering his first season with the Giants under the same title.
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Hartage is a Promising Project
“If teams don’t care for instincts, toughness and ball production, then they probably won’t like Montre Hartage.” That’s an exact quote detailing Hartage’s pro prospects entering last year’s draft, per NFL.com draft analysis Lance Zierlein.
Hartage played sparingly during his lone season in the 305. The defensive back appeared in four total games for the Dolphins in 2019, following his promotion from the team’s practice squad ahead of Week 13. Hartage finished his rookie NFL campaign with eight combined tackles and one pass defended.
Hartage went undrafted out of Northwestern in the 2019 NFL Draft. The former Wildcat standout put up solid production throughout his collegiate career, totaling 172 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, 26 passes defended and nine interceptions. Hartage cemented a three-year run as the team’s starting cornerback by notching an All-Big Ten Conference honors as a Senior after a 51 tackle, 11 passes defended, and two interception campaign.
Judge Continues to Build His Team
Ultimately, for Hartage to lock down a roster spot in New York and carve out a role on the team, he will have to likely demonstrate the ability to make a difference on special teams. This is something that Giants head coach Joe Judge obviously values, having been a special teams coordinator for the past 10 years.
However, the addition of Hartage points to a much more crucial aspect of the new regime in New York. For years the Giants have lacked depth across the board. Eli Manning was treated like a punching bag throughout the latter part of his career due to the team’s inept play across the offensive line. For the better part of the past decade, Big Blue’s secondary has been touched readily. As absurd as this stat may sound, it’s true. New York has ranked within the bottom-10 in the NFL in passing yards allowed in every season since 2015.
Yet, since Judge’s arrival in New York, the first-year head coach has made it his prerogative to not only add players who will see the majority of snaps on Sundays, but also fill out the roster with quality from top to bottom, something he addressed in recent comments obtained by NorthJersey.com.
We’re not collecting talent. We’re building a team…I don’t want 53 independent contractors. I want one team.