The most pressing personnel question to face the Giants in the early stages of their offseason program still lingers as the regular season opener is a week away. Namely: Who will start at cornerback opposite James Bradberry?
As the finishing touches were put on the 53-man roster, there still was no clear-cut answer. The Giants claimed a league-high three players off waivers on Sunday, but none who would fit into the spot that has been up for grabs since DeAndre Baker’s arrest in mid-May.
“Well, we’re going to see,” Joe Judge said on Sunday, sounding as if the search will continue, potentially right through the first game next Monday night… and maybe beyond. “Right now we’re looking to play as many of the players as possible at those positions, keep them fresh, rotate. One thing we haven’t had yet is a preseason game or a regular season game obviously, so we want to make sure we use all of our guys, roll them on through and we’ll see who performs the best. Whoever the hot hand is we may go with, but we’re going to make sure we keep rolling them all through and building the experience of the group as a whole.”
The Giants have added some new candidates for the job in recent days. Over the weekend they finalized a trade with the Broncos for Isaac Yiadom, but he has yet to practice with the team. Judge said Yiadom was in the team facility Sunday trying to get up to speed on the playbook.
“There won’t be much carryover from the other system [he played in Denver], but we’ll try to keep as many of the techniques similar for him so he can carry over as fast as possible,” Judge said.
Can that happen before the Steelers game so Yiadom could start?
“We’ll have to wait and see,” Judge said, “but we’re definitely going to give him all of the information we can to make sure we put him in a position to play to his strengths.”
The Giants signed Logan Ryan as a free agent last week, though he would seem to fit better as a nickel cornerback or safety than as an outside starter. They brought back Brandon Williams, an experienced cornerback they signed during camp but released on Saturday, when they placed rookie safety Xavier McKinney (foot) on injured reserve.
The only other true cornerbacks on the roster are Corey Ballentine and rookie Darnay Holmes. Ballentine saw the majority of snaps with the starting defense in training camp.
“He has good top speed that can really run with anybody on the field,” Judge said of Ballentine last week as training camp wound down. “I’ve seen a lot of improvement with him as far as trusting his speed, trusting the technique, not overreacting at the top of the route.”
Judge may not be able to name his starter yet. Or perhaps he’d just rather not. Either way, someone will have to be lined up out there when the Giants take the field against the Steelers next Monday night.
That’s when we’ll know the answer … even if it isn’t a great one.
Giants add three. The three players the Giants claimed on Sunday were OT Jackson Barton, S Adrian Colbert, and WR Damion Ratley. Colbert played for the Dolphins last year when Giants defensive coordinator Patrick Graham was in that role there. Ratley is a speedy deep threat who played for new Giants tight ends coach Freddie Kitchens when Kitchens was the head coach and offensive coordinator in Cleveland. Barton was a seventh-round pick by the Colts last year and was signed by Kansas City off their practice squad early in the season. To make room for the three on the roster, the Giants released WR Corey Coleman and OL Chad Slade and waived S Sean Chandler … Besides McKinney, the Giants put LB David Mayo (knee) on injured reserve. TE Eric Tomlinson was signed to take his place.