Excluding an outlier season in 2016 where Janoris Jenkins and Landon Collins took the league by storm, the New York Giants‘ secondary has been a consistent weak point on a consistently under-achieving team. Aside from their 11-5 finish that year, Big Blue has not had a .500+ winning season since 2012. To add salt to the wound, New York has also ranked within the bottom-nine of all NFL teams in takeaways two out of the last three seasons.
The Giants did plenty this offseason to address their ailing secondary, adding an influx of talent from big-ticket free agent James Bradberry, to perceived draft day steals Xavier McKinney and Darnay Holmes.
Unfortunately, DeAndre Baker’s legal issues have once again left the Giants scraping for answers on the boundary of their defense.
While recently released Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Trevor Williams may not be the end-all-be-all answer opposite Bradberry in New York’s secondary, his history of near-elite play would be much more than a simple bandaid solution.
Trevor Williams Has an All-Pro Ceiling
Trevor Williams’ tenure in Philadelphia ended before it even started, with the Eagles cutting bait with the one-time promising cornerback on Tuesday, some six-months after signing him to a reserve/future contract.
A tenure so underwhelming would likely leave many Giants fans less than excited about the potential addition of Williams, a player that the majority of NFL fandom had likely never heard of prior to receiving a push notification of his release.
However, it was not long ago that Williams, still just 26-years of age, was perceived as one of the league’s budding superstars at the cornerback position.
As an undrafted free agent back in 2016, Williams’ playing time with the then-San Diego Chargers was less than noteworthy, appearing in 12 games while starting five. Yet, 2017 was a whole different animal, as Williams burst on to the scene. The corner started 15 of 16 games that season, finishing with two interceptions and 13 pass breakups.
Williams was as close to lockdown as a young corner could be that season, improving his overall Pro Football Focus grade by more than 45.0 points from his rookie campaign and finishing 2017 as the 10th-best ranked cornerback in football with an overall PFF grade of 88.5.
The corner demonstrated a well-rounded game while manning one of the Chargers’ starting corner spots. Not only did he tie for 11th in yards allowed per coverage snap (0.82) and rank as the league’s best at defending the deep ball, allowing a meer 4-of-20 completions on deep targets, he also ranked third in run-stop percentage (3.7) amongst all NFL cornerbacks.
Williams quickly became one of the league’s not-so best-kept secrets, receiving a plethora of praise amongst analytic outlets. The corner’s prestigious play earned him a nod on the list of the “Future 10 for the PFF’s Top 25 Under 25 Team” as well as the “NFL’s 10 Most Valuable Players on Smaller Contracts.”
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Williams, a Potential Low-RIsk High Reward Add for Big Blue
Unfortunately for Williams and the Chargers, injuries began to derail the start of what looked to be a potential All-Pro career. He appeared in just nine games the following season dealing with numerous injuries to his lower extremities.
2019 was no better, as a quad injury forced him to start the season on injured reserve. The Chargers eventually opted to cut bait with Williams in October. He was claimed off of waivers by the Arizona Cardinals, but ultimately didn’t stick, with the Cards releasing him after just two games.
Depending on what happens with DeAndre Baker in New York, the Giants may be forced to trot out either Sam Beal or Corey Ballentine as one of their starting outside corners come Week 1, neither of which has impressed in limited gameplay.
Williams, on the other hand, has started 27 career games over his four year-career, appearing in 39. Freshly released with injury concerns, he would likely come dirt cheap on the open market. At the best, the Giants could stumble upon a potential lockdown cornerback should they sign Williams, at the worst, he provides added depth to their secondary as Baker works through his legal issues.