Offseason Analysis: Cornerback
John Fennelly , Executive Editor
When I look at the Giants depth chart to see what areas they need to improve upon, cornerback leaps off the page.
In this league, you need to do two things well to succeed: assist your passing game and stop the opponent’s air attack. In order to do the latter, you must be able to cover.
Breaking: the Giants’ corners don’t cover very well. It’s no wonder they got blown out several times last season. They gave up too many big plays through the air. Even Eli Manning with a full complement of weapons would have had a hard time keeping pace. Plain and simple – the Giants need to get better and deeper at corner.
Let’s take a quick look at what’s under the hood right now:
Corey Webster had a rough 2012. At points, he looked downright pathetic. He played too soft (not all his fault) so not only did he surrender the underneath to the tune of 7-8 yards per play, but he got burned deep so often the fans were booing him unmercifully by season’s end. He plays too far off the line to be an effective run-stopper, which only compounds things. He is due to make $7 million this season, which is almost laughable. Why the Giants have come to him for a pay cut is unknown. At this juncture he is not a worthy starter, never mind a well-paid one. Bottom line: he’s gotta get it together, or else.
Prince Amukamura has improved over time, but he is still not the player the Giants thought they stole two years ago at the Draft. He can cover, and play the run. He is acclimating to the physical level of the pro game and seems to be settling in. Is he a star? No, and that is where the problem begins. The Giants need him to be one.
Everything Jerry Reese said about Jayron Hosley after the draft last year was true. He is fast and closes on the ball. He also plays bigger than he is. In theory, that’s all well and good but you can’t teach size. Hosley has shown he won’t be able to hold his own vs the Calvin Johnsons, Larry Fitzgeralds and Brandon Marshalls of this league, so he appears to be strictly a slot corner who teams will try to create mismatches against. Part of the lure of Hosley was his special teams value. The Giants put the brakes on his PR career last year after a few drops/fumbles. If he can stay healthy and get more acclimated, he can clear these hurdles. Would love to see him as the regular PR.
The club has not given up on Terrell Thomas, but after two lost seasons due to ACL tears, you have to wonder where he is physically. This is the NFL, opponents could care less about your comeback story. You have be ready. Thomas cannot be expected to pick up where he left off. I don’t see him playing outside the numbers, anyway. He’ll either line up at safety or in the slot. Whatever he can bring to the table, he brings. Let’s hope it’s a plus.
The other names do not excite: Terrence Frederick, Justin Tryon, Antonio Dennard, Buddy Jackson.
Where to go: Not sure why the draftniks aren’t beating the drum for the Giants to beef up at corner. Reading the above, you have to agree they need help.
Before looking in the draft for assistance, they might take a look at some veteran cap casualties from around the league: William Gay and Dunta Robinson are two who were just let go this week.
They can always bid for a few UFAs next month (not the best option). The pickings are slim there…
The Draft has plenty of interesting names, preferably David Amerson of NC State and Logan Ryan of Rutgers. They are two players who should be around when the Giants pick in Round One, and possibly in Round 2. Either way, expect Reese to grab at least one CB in this draft and bring in a few UDFAs as well.