The New York Giants may like their young cornerbacks, but they’ll need to bring in a veteran to act as a mentor.
The New York Giants secondary came under heavy scrutiny last season, allowing 264.1 yards per game along with 30 touchdowns while only coming away with 10 picks. Opposing receivers roamed wide open in the Giants secondary far too often, which is why they finished No. 28 in total pass defense.
Much of the blame for the defensive woes fell on coordinator James Bettcher and his inability to find the right scheme to slow down opposing offenses.
Additionally, the secondary possessed several inexperienced individuals like rookies Deandre Baker, Corey Ballentine and Julian Love. Janoris Jenkins was that experienced mentor, but with him now gone (and Antoine Bethea’s future uncertain), Big Blue will need to look for a veteran to guide this mostly young group.
Fortunately for New York, there are a number of free-agent corners on the market. Here’s a look at the top available corners, barring their teams giving them the franchise tag.
Chris Harris Jr.
Chris Harris Jr. is probably the most versatile corner on this list, showing the ability to play on the outside as well as at the nickel corner spot. Harris has spent each of his nine seasons with the Denver Broncos. He was a valuable member of Denver’s Super Bowl 50 team and has 20 career interceptions.
He’ll turn 31 in June but still has a few solid years left in him. Signing him to a two-year contract would be ideal to assist this young secondary.
If the Giants end up signing Byron Jones, they’d strengthen their team and weaken one of their biggest rivals. Jones has spent his entire career thus far with the Dallas Cowboys.
The 27-year-old played his first three years at safety before fully moving to corner in 2018. He’s now played corner for a pair of campaigns, and his Pro Football Focus coverage grade of 74.1 is ranked 11th in the NFL during that span. The downside to Jones is that he only has two career interceptions, with his most recent one coming in 2017.
Logan Ryan carried a great deal of significance during the Tennessee Titans’ successful 2019 season, as he arguably had the best year of his career. The 29-year old finished with a team-leading 113 combined tackles, 4.5 sacks, and four interceptions. He additionally had the game-clinching pick-six in the Titans’ 20-13 wild-card victory over the Patriots.
Ryan just turned 29 and would be an ideal candidate for Big Blue’s starting slot corner position next season. Head coach Joe Judge is familiar with Ryan, being that he was a member of the Patriots from 2013-16.
The Minnesota Vikings selected Trae Waynes with the No. 11 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. And despite showing great speed and athleticism, he’s never developed into a legitimate NFL corner. In just the last two seasons, Waynes has allowed six touchdowns while coming away with a pair of picks.
The former Michigan State Spartan will turn 28 in July and is still in the prime of his career as an athlete. His inconsistency is a concern, but it’s something he can definitely overcome.
When Kendall Fuller was a Washington Redskin in 2017, Pro Football Focus ranked him as one of the best slot corners in the league with a grade of 90.6. He totaled four interceptions and 10 pass breakups that year.
But in his two seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs since then, Fuller’s play has dipped. He finished with zero picks in 2019, a campaign in which he started just four games.
The Chiefs had Fuller play both corner and safety, which might be the reason why his play regressed. But the Giants may feel that if he sticks to the slot corner spot, he could return to his 2017 form.