Cornerback Darnay Holmes has been one of the bright spots since the start of the New York Giants’ training camp.
He has turned so many heads that he has even been given a new nickname by defensive coordinator Wink Martindale. Holmes is now being referred to as “Dirty 30” around the Giants’ facility.
Martindale recently spoke with reporters, saying, “I call him Dirty 30, I just love his toughness, and I’m not saying he plays dirty. I’m just talking about how he embraces the grind of practicing every day, doing things right and asking the right questions. He’s got some qualities that we haven’t had before at that position.”
Holmes has managed to carve out a solid role for himself within this Giants secondary. Upon the release of the first unofficial depth chart, he is slotted in as the team’s starting nickel cornerback.
Holmes, a fourth-round selection in the 2020 draft, has taken the new nickname in stride.
When discussing the nickname, Holmes spoke about who he is as a person and the way that he grew up.
“I think it was something that was earned, I feel like I’m a relentless player, so I feel like it’s very fitting. … I grew up in an impoverished area. Pretty much growing up in those type of terms you’ve got to always have your guard up and put your best foot forward. When things get rough, you just keep your head down and keep on working. So, as I said before, a very fitting name.”
If Holmes can continue to play at the level that he has throughout training camp, he could prove to be a foundational piece of this defense. With such a young secondary, he could be around for the foreseeable future.
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Holmes’ NFL Path So Far
When the Giants added Holmes in 2020, they knew they were adding a cornerback full of potential.
But over his first two seasons, Holmes has struggled to stay on the field. He has appeared in just 23 games and started nine.
Throughout his first two seasons, Holmes has recorded 2 interceptions, 7 defended passes and 59 total tackles.
Unfortunately for Holmes, he was stuck in a crowded secondary in the past. With James Bradberry, Logan Ryan, and Jabrill Peppers all occupying spots, the young corner had to fight to step on the field.
But now there is a clear path for Holmes to succeed. Throughout training camp, he has put on several big showings. During the first week, he caused a turnover in each practice.
The stock for Holmes is currently at an all-time high. Now as the young defender heads into year three, he could be set to help lead this Giants defense.
The Young Core of the Giants Defense
Outside of Darnay Holmes, the Giants have begun to assemble a solid young defensive core.
The most notable addition is rookie edge rusher, Kayvon Thibodeaux. He will be expected to be a star from day one as the Giants added him with the fifth overall pick.
Outside of Thibodeaux, second-year edge rusher Azeez Ojulari will help solidify this defensive front. Throughout his rookie season, Ojulari turned heads around the NFL. He was among the top first-year pass rushers. As he heads into year two, he will look to be even better.
Third-year safety Xavier McKinney has separated himself from the rest of this Giants defense. Throughout training camp, he has called plays for this group. He could soon be the best player in the unit.
McKinney’s potential is proving to be extremely high as he has gotten better each year. All signs point to him cementing himself as one of the NFL’s top safeties this upcoming season.