Giants Young Defender Named ‘Biggest Riser’ of Camp

Darnay Holmes

Getty Images Terry McLaurin gets tackled by Darnay Holmes in 2020.

Wins and losses will never matter in the preseason, but the New York Giants are on the right foot after their victory against the New England Patriots on Aug. 11.

There has been a Giants youngster that’s made a name for himself in training camp and can put those results into the preseason.

Recently, Pro Football Focus and writer Doug Kyed took a look at one riser and one faller from training camps around the league. For the Giants, cornerback Darnay Holmes was seen as the biggest riser.

“Holmes, a 2020 fourth-round pick, is primed to be New York’s starting nickel back this season. He’s been a playmaker early in camp,” Kyed wrote.

The third-year cornerback was chosen by Pat Leonard of the Daily News. He’s been a bright spot on the defense so much that he was given a new nickname by defensive coordinator Wink Martindale. The 24-year-old is now being called “Dirty 30” around the Giants’ team facility.

“I call him Dirty 30, I just love his toughness, and I’m not saying he plays dirty,” Martindale said to reporters.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 is slotted in as the team’s starting nickel cornerback, according to the Giants’ first unofficial depth chart.

Yet, it wasn’t always easy for the third-year cornerback.


Holmes’ Giants Tenure

The Giants drafted Holmes in the fourth round of the 2020 draft. During his first two seasons, Holmes has posted two interceptions, seven passes defended and 59 total tackles. However, he has appeared in just 23 games and started nine in that same span.

The youngster was towards the bottom of the team’s depth chart due to a crowded secondary. James Bradberry, Logan Ryan and Jabrill Peppers were atop Holmes.

Now, all three veterans are gone. Holmes entered training camp with a full-extension interception on Day 1. He’s continued to look productive and make the most out of his training camp reps.

Four days in a row during the first week of practice, Holmes caused a turnover.

Holmes credits the people around him for getting him to the spot he is now.

“I just want to give a salute to those who put the work in for me in a matter of giving me insight and giving me wisdom,” Holmes said. “The OTAs played a major role for our early success – understanding the system, understanding the scheme. Just the people who worked on my body beforehand once I got up here.


Rest of CBs Are a Cause for Concern

New York’s outside cornerbacks have room for improvement. Adoree Jackson headlines the group, with Aaron Robinson, Cor’Dale Flott and Rodarius Williams to follow.

Robinson struggled mightily against the Patriots on Thursday. On the first drive, Robinson was beaten twice in a row, was called for a questionable taunting flag and gave up a touchdown to second-round pick Tyquan Thornton. He was targeted five times in the same drive. Patriots backup quarterback Brian Hoyer threw five completions in eight attempts for 59 yards and one touchdown.

Jackson finished 13th in Pro Football Focus’ cornerback ratings, including sixth in coverage. The Giants would be in a heap of trouble if Jackson were to go down with an injury.

New York will play a lot of man-to-man coverage in Martindale’s scheme. The next two preseason games will be a major test on the abilities of Robinson and the rest of the depth.

If they fail that test, there’s a chance that general manager Joe Schoen adds a corner to the roster.

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