Amid concern surrounding DeAndre Baker’s future with the New York Giants, here are potential replacement candidates.
New York Giants corner DeAndre Baker’s armed robbery and aggravated assault charges took another twist last week. It was reported Baker had direct messages exchanged via Instagram with a man named Dominic Johnson, who apparently oversaw payment from Baker and Seahawks cornerback Quinton Dunbar to the four alleged victims from the May 13 cookout incident.
Baker’s attorneys, Bradford Cohen and Patrick Patel, have refuted this and claim Baker is innocent of these charges.
We’ll have to wait and see how the justice system plays out in regards to the case, but at this point, head coach Joe Judge and general manager Dave Gettleman need to prepare for the upcoming season in the event Baker will not be part of the team.
Baker was expected to start opposite free-agent acquisition James Bradberry. With training camp scheduled to open on July 28, Judge and Gettleman must find the best fit in case Baker isn’t available.
Players on the roster
Sam Beal — Gettleman acquired Sam Beal in the 2018 NFL Supplemental Draft, but a shoulder injury would force him to miss his entire rookie campaign. A hamstring injury then cost Beal the first two months of last season before he was activated on Nov. 5.
He appeared in six games last season and started in three, but needs to show the coaches he can stay on the field and be productive.
Corey Ballentine — Corey Ballentine was one of the stars last summer, as he made plays regularly in both training camp and the preseason. As a rookie, he appeared in 13 games with two starts, having finished the year with 26 combined tackles and a pair of pass breakups.
The former sixth-round pick (No. 180 overall) was thrust into a larger role than expected in 2019 and could now have a chance to become a starter.
Julian Love — Julian Love might be best suited to play free safety or in the slot, but considering how thin the Giants are at corner, he should receive some reps on the outside once training camp starts.
Love is a versatile player that has a tendency to make plays all over the field. In his first game with extended playing time last season (Week 12 against the Bears), he came up with his first career interception. Needless to say, Love will play a prominent role on this defense in 2020.
Darnay Holmes — Without the benefit of having rookie camp, minicamp, and OTAs, it would seem unlikely for Darnay Holmes, who the Giants selected No. 110 overall this year, to have a chance to start. But don’t count him out, as he’s an aggressive player who seems to fit defensive coordinator Patrick Graham’s scheme.
Just as is the case with Love, the 5-foot-10, 195-pound Holmes might be best suited to play in the slot, but he’ll earn his opportunity to compete to be a starter nonetheless.
Dre Kirkpatrick — The Cincinnati Bengals took Dre Kirkpatrick with the No. 17 overall pick in the 2012 draft. In his eight NFL seasons, he’s recorded 302 total tackles and 10 interceptions. At 6-foot-2, he possesses the ideal height to play on the outside and defend against tall receivers.
Kirkpatrick has ties to Judge from their days at Alabama (Judge was a special teams assistant during Dre’s collegiate tenure). He’ll turn 31 in October and could be worth bringing into camp.
Logan Ryan — The Giants considering the 29-year-old Logan Ryan would be sort of a long shot since he’s a slot corner. However, with the lack of experienced depth, Big Blue might take a chance depending on the veteran’s contract demands.
Ryan helped the Patriots win two Super Bowls (49 and 51) and obviously has ties to Judge from their time together in New England. The Giants defense will need to do a better job of creating turnovers this season, and the fact that Ryan notched four picks with the Titans in 2019 makes him appealing.
Darqueze Dennard — Darqueze Dennard is another former Bengal that’s still on the free-agent market. Cincinnatti chose him at No. 24 overall in the 2014 draft. He hasn’t lived up to being a first-round pick though, as he’s only racked up three interceptions in six seasons. Not to mention, he hasn’t picked off a pass since 2017.
Perhaps the Giants brass will feel with the proper coaching, the team could maximize his potential.