Prince Amukamara wants to be No. 1 cornerback for Giants

Giants cornerback Prince Amukamara talks with a coach Giants cornerback Prince Amukamara talks with a coach after running drills at mini camp. (June 12, 2013) Photo Credit: Joe Epstein

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Prince is looking to be the king.

"I want to be the No. 1 corner on this team," Prince Amukamara said Thursday at Giants minicamp. "I feel like right now Corey [Webster] is and my goal is to always just try to beat him out and I think as soon as I establish myself as the No. 1 corner [on the team] then hopefully I become the No. 1 corner in the whole league."

Brash talk for a guy whose most famous highlight-reel is being tossed in a cold tub during training camp last year. And Amukamara knows it. But he was a first-round pick by the Giants in 2011, a player they thought was a top-10 talent. Others from that draft have already established themselves as elite cornerbacks, and Amukamara said he compares himself to Patrick Peterson and Richard Sherman. "I'm just trying to exceed all of them," he said.

He might be able to.

While those two players landed in the NFL in stride, Amukamara's career has begun with a series of unfortunate stumbles. He missed his first offseason due to the lockout, held out early in his first training camp, then broke his foot a few days later to essentially wash out his rookie season. Last spring was spent healing that foot, and then dealing with hamstring issues early in the regular season.

These last few weeks were Amukamara's first chance to participate in an offseason program. "That was huge," he said. "I'm an athlete where I actually have to be in it to learn rather than read and write it. I like to actually be in it to learn about it more and that's how it played out this offseason."

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There is still some work to do, though. Terrell Thomas, coming off a second ACL reconstruction in less than a year, has been in Amukamara's ear this spring.

"It's up to him to be honest with you," Thomas said of Amukamara having a breakout season. "Is he going to put the work in to become a professional? I think he's still a little wet behind the ears as far as his mentality, how he attacks his daily job. Me and Corey have been working on him with that, letting him know that just doing your job is not enough anymore. I think he'll get it. It takes some people longer than others, but I think he had a solid spring for us."

Thomas said that Amukamara is "overdue" to make the next step in his progression as a player.

"With Prince, he's just happy doing his job and we're trying to get him to where we need more," Thomas said. "You had a good game, nobody caught the ball on you, but you had no pass breakups, no interceptions. That's the next step that he has to start making as a first-rounder, a top-10 pick that he said he was, all these things that showcase him. I think if he stays healthy this year, has a full year starting, he can be very productive for us."

He'll still have a long way to go to catch up to someone like Sherman, though. "The ball play?" Amukamara asked when that point was made.

No, the trash talk.

"I'm trying to think," Amukamara said. "Who should I call out?"

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