Giants Waive Ex-3rd-Rounder; Defensive Starter Designated to Return

Giants waive Brandon Williams, designate Adrian Colbert to return

Getty Ex-Giants cornerback Brandon Williams #28.

The secondary shuffle for the New York Giants continues. The team announced on Tuesday that cornerback Brandon Williams, a former third-round pick of the Arizona Cardinals back in 2016, has been waived.

Originally signed by New York back in August, Williams failed to make final roster cuts in September, yet was quickly re-signed in time for Week 1. The former five-star running back recruit logged 19 special team snaps (73%) against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the opening week of the season. Williams followed that performance up with a 45% share of special team snaps the next week against the Chicago Bears. However, a groin injury that week would land him on injured reserve.

Williams returned from injury in Week 10 and has played in every game since. On the year, the 28-year-old has played 68 special teams snaps, collecting one solo tackle. Over his four-year career, Williams has compiled 39 tackles and five pass breakups. He’s also chipped in with 10 kickoff returns for a total of 192 yards.

With Williams being waived, the Giants currently have one open roster spot on their 53, which could very well be filled by this next player.

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Adrian Colbert Designated to Return

According to Dan Salomone of Giants.com, safety Adrian Colbert has been designated to return to practice. Colbert was initially placed on injured reserve on Nov. 3 due to a shoulder injury. Prior to his stint on IR, the former seventh-round pick of the San Francisco 49ers had been operating with the ones for big blue.

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Will Colbert Return to the Starting Lineup?

A post final roster cut addition, Colbert was signed by New York in early-September and quickly worked his way up the pecking order in the Giants secondary. By Week 4, Colbert found himself inserted into New York’s starting lineup, supplanting 2019 fourth-round pick Julian Love in the rotation. Colbert would go on to notch back-to-back starts prior to his injury, collecting 10 tackles and one tackle for loss on 93 defensive snaps over that two week period.

Question is, will Colbert’s starting gig be waiting for him upon his imminent activation? Frankly, it’s highly unlikely. Colbert found his way into the lineup due to his knowledge of Patrick Graham’s system (played under Graham w/ Dolphins in 2019) and the underperforming play of the aforementioned Love. While not the breakout star many pegged him to be prior to the season, Love has since settled back into his high-volume role in Big Blue’s secondary.

On top of that, rookie Xavier McKinney, a non-factor during Colbert’s rise up the depth chart due to being on injured reserve, made his NFL debut three weeks ago and is fresh off a career-high 38 defensive snaps against the Cardinals. It’s worth noting that the majority of McKinney’s snaps last week came out of the slot, where he filled in for an injured Darnay Holmes. Still, it’s almost certain McKinney will continue to see his usage rise, potentially at the expense of Colbert.

With that said, Colbert showed glimpses while in the lineup this year. He’s also previously flashed high-end play, most notably in 2017 when Pro Football Focus ranked him as the sixth-highest graded rookie safety (77.6).

Don’t be surprised to see coach Graham use Colbert on the backend from time-to-time as a way to creatively deploy the likes of McKinney, Logan Ryan and Jabrill Peppers in a slew of other positions.

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