The New York Giants have done a ton of roster reshaping under first-year general manager Joe Schoen and head coach Brian Daboll, but the rebuilding job may be too big to complete in one offseason. While some positional groups — such as the offensive line — already look much improved on paper, others need some more work.
Kevin Patra of NFL.com recently ranked the “10 biggest remaining roster holes heading into training camp,” and the Giants’ defensive backs came in at No. 8.
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Here’s what Patra wrote about New York’s secondary:
The release of corner James Bradberry after no trade materialized leaves Big Blue incredibly young on the outside. Adoree’ Jackson is the only vet with vast starting experience. Currently, the Giants are counting on Aaron Robinson (Year 2), Darnay Holmes (Year 3), Rodarius Williams (Year 2), and rookie third-rounder Cordale Flott in their corner group. Don Martindale’s defense relies heavily on being able to match up on the outside. Adding a vet to the crew at either corner or a safety on the cheap would go a long way to solidifying a young group.
Losing James Bradberry hurts. Not just because he started 31 games over the past two seasons and performed at a Pro Bowl level in 2020, but also because he immediately signed with an NFC East rival in the Philadelphia Eagles after the Giants released him. Now, they’ll have to face him twice a year.
A lot hinges on Adoree’ Jackson in 2022. He is the team’s third-highest player with a salary cap hit of $9.3 million this season, according to Spotrac. The Giants need him to perform like a true No. 1 cornerback this season, and that means not dropping sure-interceptions like this one against the Atlanta Falcons last season.
After Jackson, the rest of New York’s secondary is relatively unknown. Can Aaron Robinson hang on the outside as the No. 2 corner? Can rookie Cordale Flott step up and make an immediate impact in the slot? These are questions the Giants hope to answer in training camp.
Veteran Free Agents Who Are Still Available
In his article for NFL.com, Patra suggests that the Giants should bolster their defensive backfield by signing a veteran free agent. There aren’t a ton of compelling options still available at this point in the offseason, but there are a couple New York should consider.
The first one is Joe Haden. A former first-round pick with 158 career games played with the Browns and Steelers, Haden has plenty of experience and performs at a high level whenever he is healthy. He’s made the Pro Bowl three times in his career with his most recent nod coming in 2019. Last season, he started 11 of the 12 games in which he appeared for a Pittsburgh Steelers team that made the playoffs as a Wild Card.
Haden made this clutch play in Week 15 last season to keep the Steelers in the playoff hunt.
The other veteran option to consider is Chris Harris, Jr. A former undrafted free agent, Harris ended up winning a Super Bowl and establishing himself as one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL during his time with the Denver Broncos. He made four Pro Bowls from 2014-2018 and was even named first-team All-Pro in 2016.
Now in the later stages of his career, Harris has spent the last two seasons with the Los Angeles Chargers. He started 11 of the 14 games in which he appeared with the Chargers last year and finished the season with six passes defensed, including one interception.
Both Haden and Harris are 33 years old.
Do The Giants Have Any Other Roster Holes?
When you look around at the rest of New York’s roster, nothing really compares to the deficiency at defensive back. They have a lot more question marks than holes.
On offense, the Giants have potential at every position. If quarterback Daniel Jones can stay healthy, he’s got a lot of promising weapons with something to prove. As mentioned in the introduction, his offensive line is totally revamped this year as well. The biggest uncertainty might be fourth-round rookie Daniel Bellinger stepping into the starting role at tight end.