GLENDALE, ARIZONA - SEPTEMBER 22: Kyler Murray #1 of the Arizona Cardinals runs out of the pocket while being chased by James Bradberry #24 of the Carolina Panthers during the first half at State Farm Stadium on September 22, 2019 in Glendale, Arizona.
(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

Newly-acquired cornerback James Bradberry recently expressed his excitement to be a mentor in the New York Giants secondary.

Finding a veteran cornerback was certainly a task the New York Giants needed to complete this offseason. Following the release of Janoris Jenkins in December, the majority of the cornerbacks on the roster all had less than three years of playing experience.

Deandre Baker, Sam Beal, Corey Ballentine, Julian Love, and Grant Haley have shown promise, but it was imperative to add a veteran to this group.

General manager Dave Gettleman achieved this by signing James Bradberry to a three-year, $45 million deal that includes $32 million guaranteed. Gettleman is very familiar with Bradberry. After all, he selected him in the second round (No. 62 overall) of the 2016 draft when he was the Carolina Panthers general manager.

Despite his ties to Gettleman, Bradberry stated during his conference call that he was surprised to receive a call from Big Blue.

“Honestly, he reached out to my agent. I really didn’t talk to [Dave] Gettleman. They came out of nowhere and made an offer, I didn’t even expect them to make an offer. He already knew the type of guy I was, and I already knew the type of guy he was. I already knew what type of organization he was trying to build over there in New York. I knew it was nothing but positive.” 

During his four years in Carolina, the 26-year-old Bradberry appeared in 60 games, amassing 279 total tackles, 47 passes defended, eight interceptions, three sacks, and two forced fumbles.

He also appeared in one playoff game in the Panthers’ 31-26 wild-card loss to the New Orleans Saints in January 2018. His eight combined tackles tied for a team-high in that game.

His knowledge is going to go a long way towards improving a secondary that ranked 28th last season in passing yards allowed per game.

A big part of his job will also be to mentor his young teammates. Bradberry was ultimately asked about this very concept.

“I am looking forward to being a part of it. What I can bring to the locker room is my overall knowledge of the game. I can help the younger guys in the DB room get better. My experience for the most part is what I am going to bring to the game.”

The expectation is that the Giants defense will play more man coverage under new coordinator Patrick Graham. This means the onus of covering opponents’ best receivers will fall on Bradberry.

Nonetheless, the veteran is certainly ready for the daring task.

“I see myself as a versatile corner. I can play zone, I can play man. I was down for whatever. Of course, playing a lot of man is a challenge for any cornerback and I am always willing to accept a challenge.”

Going against the best receivers in the league is nothing new for Bradberry. Having played in the NFC South, he faced Julio Jones, Michael Thomas, and Mike Evans twice a year.

The 2020 campaign won’t be any different. He’ll face Dallas Cowboys receiver Amari Cooper twice this season and will see Evans again when the Buccaneers travel to MetLife Stadium. Bradberry will additionally face DeAndre Hopkins when the Arizona Cardinals come to town. Arguably his most anticipated matchup will be when Cleveland Browns wideout Odell Beckham Jr. makes his return to East Rutherford.

Bradberry may not be a household name right now. But if he’s able to contain his opponents and make this Giants defense respectable again, he will be.

Jason's first love was football while growing up in northern New Jersey. For the past three years, he has covered the New York Giants, as well as several boxing events along the East Coast.