On paper, the New York Giants have assembled a strong defense.
Defensive coordinator Wink Martindale has a history of leading elite units on this side of the ball.
This defense is headlined by the players in the trenches. Leonard Williams, Dexter Lawrence, Kayvon Thibodeaux, and Azeez Ojulari will all play vital roles in the success of this team. There is a chance that they could be among the best pass rushers in the NFL this season.
The linebacker group is led by veteran linebacker Blake Martinez. But outside of Martinez, much of their depth is made up of young players.
Third-year linebacker Tae Crowder has struggled in the past but will be playing a big role this year.
Last season, Crowder recorded 130 total tackles, three tackles for loss, and six defended passes. And two interceptions.
But along with this, he posted a defensive grade of 29.1 according to Pro Football Focus. This was the worst among all linebackers. He also posted a run defending grade of 28.4, the fourth worst, and a coverage grade of 34.8, the sixth worst.
This linebacker group will also lean on rookie defenders Darrian Beavers and Micah McFadden.
In the Giant’s first preseason outing, Beavers shined. This could lead to him moving up into a bigger role within this group.
While this linebacker group is somewhat inexperienced, they have shown legitimate potential.
The biggest area of concern could lie within the Giant’s secondary. The specific area is the cornerback position.
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The Current Cornerback Group
The cornerback group is led by Adoree’ Jackson. Jackson is entering his sixth season in the NFL, and his second with the Giants.
Last season, Jackson recorded 62 total tackles, one interception, and eight passes defended while serving as the team’s CB2. With the departure of James Bradberry, he will now be the leader of this group.
Outside of Bradberry, the position is somewhat up in the air. The team seems to have a rising star in Darnay Holmes, as he has earned the starting nickel job, but there are still questions to be asked.
During the team’s first preseason, current CB2 Aaron Robinson struggled heavily.
The New England Patriots offense targeted Robinson early and often. He let up several big plays, including a touchdown. He was also the recipient of a questionable but drive-altering taunting call.
At the moment, the Giants lack the depth to have a competition for the spot. Rookie cornerback Cor’Dale Flott could be next in line, but he is currently dealing with a groin injury.
The lack of depth could be detrimental to this group. While the safety position, led by Xavier McKinney, is seemingly in good hands, the same can’t be said here.
Who The Giants Could Bring In
If the Giants don’t feel comfortable with Robinson occupying the CB2 role, they will need to find a way to address it. More than likely, they would need to do this by bringing someone else in.
With the start of the regular season quickly approaching, many of the top corners have already found their homes for the season. But as teams trim their rosters for the season, several talented players could make their way onto the open market.
Several intriguing corners are still yet to be signed. One worth noting is veteran Joe Haden.
Since being drafted with the seventh overall pick in the 2010 NFL draft, Haden has carved out a solid role in the NFL. He has recorded 615 total tackles, 155 defended passes and 29 total interceptions.
Last season, Haden appeared in 12 games for the Steelers. While he isn’t the player he used to be, the three-time Pro Bowler still recorded 38 tackles and proved he could still be a solid defender.
Now, at age 33, Haden could be looking for an opportunity to still play the game. This could be the perfect match with how the current group looks in New York.