To say things are a bit uncertain when it comes to the New York Giants‘ cornerback position at the moment would be a vast understatement. Big-ticket free-agent James Bradberry all but has one starting spot locked down, but aside from that, it appears to be a free for all in Big Blue’s secondary.
Defensive backs coach Jerome Henderson appears to agree with this sentiment, telling the media there is no real depth chart at cornerback at this time, but rather an “alignment chart” for that day’s practice, per New York Post’s Paul Schwartz.
With that said, second-year pro Corey Ballentine is doing his very best to change that. So far so good for the 2019 sixth-round pick, whose performance during Friday’s practice helped earn him a spot on Giants.com’s Dan Salomone’s training camp standouts list.
CB Corey Ballentine: A sixth-round pick in 2019, Ballentine got his second season off to a strong start. He broke up a few passes today, including a touchdown-saver during work in the red zone.
“The thing that I appreciate about Corey is that he wants to be coached,” defensive backs coach Jerome Henderson said. “He has come to me and said, ‘I want to be coached. I want to know, and I want feel like I can go out there and play confident.’ I’m making sure that he feels confident when he goes out, giving him instruction, and making sure that he can give it back to me. He’s a guy who has some ability. He’s in the mix, just like everybody else is, to play a big role for us. I’m excited to work with him.”
Ballentine played out of position in his rookie season, mainly as a nickelback following a slew of injuries to the Giants’ secondary, mostly to underwhelming results. Expect a sizeable leap in on-field production for the long-limbed corner in 2020, as he’s now firmly in the mix to stake claim for a starting spot on the outside, a position much more suited to his skillset.
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Don’t Count Out Darnay Holmes
NFL Hall of Famer Rod Woodson said it best when it comes to rookie corner Darnay Holmes, stating “I know he was taken in the fourth round. But I like his mindset. No coach can measure one’s heart and one’s mind until you start playing.”
So, as you can likely guess, Holmes wasn’t going to go away quietly when Ballentine began to turn heads at Friday’s practice. Per Solomone, the UCLA grad “showed his smarts on a nice pass breakup on the sidelines during a goal line drill.” Holmes’ performance was good enough to earn him a spot alongside Ballentine on Solomone’s standouts list.
While both players are currently bidding for a starting spot against one another, expect Ballentine and Holmes to see the field plenty this coming season, as both youngsters will be crucial to Big Blue’s defensive success in 2020.
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