A case could be made that the New York Giants‘ cornerback position is in better shape today than it’s been in quite a while. Although that doesn’t mean the group doesn’t come without its fair share of question marks.
Free-agent signing James Bradberry is locked-in as the team’s No. 1 corner after years of shutting down elite talent in the NFC South for years on end. DeAndre Baker would, of course, be the incumbent to start opposite him. However, if Baker is suspended to begin the 2020 season, New York still has a plethora of talent to deploy in his spot.
Former supplemental draft pick Sam Beal, as well as second-year pros Corey Ballentine and Julian Love, all present intriguing upside on the outside. However, they have yet to put quality play on film at the position during their pro careers, leaving the door open for potential dark horse free-agent signee, Montre Hartage, to stake claim to the position, as noted by Giants.com’s John Schmeelk:
One sleeper to watch is Montre Hartage, who was an undrafted free agent with the 2019 Dolphins and bounced between their roster and practice squad under defensive coordinator Patrick Graham.
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Could Montre Hartage Start at CB for Giants?
Montre Hartage is far from a proven commodity in this league. However, his ties to defensive coordinator Patrick Graham may just give him the slight leg up he needs to toss his name into the thick of things at cornerback for Big Blue.
Despite notching All-Big Ten Conference honors as a Senior at Northwestern, the versatile defensive back went undrafted in the 2019 NFL Draft. Hartage spent the majority of his rookie season on the Miami Dolphins practice squad before being elevated to the active roster on December 1st. Hartage would go on to finish his rookie NFL campaign with eight combined tackles and one pass defended.
Yet, don’t let his modest production from a season ago deter you from the fact that Hartage has big-time ball skills. Don’t take my word for it, take NFL.com draft analysis Lance Zierlein, who stated that “If teams don’t care for instincts, toughness and ball production, then they probably won’t like Montre Hartage.”
Hartage vs. the Competition
There’s no denying that Hartage has an uphill battle to make the team, let alone claim a starting spot on New York’s defense. However, it’s worth noting that his competition at the moment is as much as a question mark as he is. Sam Beal has endured two seasons of injury-riddled football thus far in his career. Corey Ballentine produced an atrocious Pro Football Focus overall grade of just 36.6 in 2019. Although, in Ballentine’s defense, a lot of that has to do with him playing out of position, working from the slot corner spot. While we’re not even certain what position the Giants will choose to deploy Julian Love at in 2020.
Every year there’s a name or two that surprises you and works themselves into legitimate playing time, who’s to say Hartage can’t be that guy this season?
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