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Giants positional breakdown heading into training camp: Cornerbacks

New York Giants cornerback Janoris Jenkins defends Odell

New York Giants cornerback Janoris Jenkins defends Odell Beckham Jr. during minicamp at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, N.J., on Wednesday, June 15, 2016. Credit: Brad Penner

A year after falling a handful of yards shy of being the first team in NFL history to allow 300 passing yards per game in a full season, the Giants made two major investments at cornerback.

They signed Janoris Jenkins as a free agent from the Rams and then drafted Eli Apple with their first-round pick.

Those two additions, along with the return of Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, should give the Giants a solid three-man core at the position. As general manager Jerry Reese said when he drafted Apple: “When you have two corners in this league, you’re short one.”

But where will they play? Who lines up on outside receivers and who goes inside to play the slot will be determined in training camp. All three spent some time there in spring workouts, and the Giants didn’t come away with any definitive answers.

None of the three has extensive experience playing inside. Rodgers-Cromartie may have the most, but it wasn’t necessarily a good one. During his brief tenure in Philadelphia, he played the nickel role. The following year he moved back outside, where he has spent the majority of his career.

There are other options. Trevin Wade may be the best suited to the position and is more a prototypical slot corner. The Giants have tried Bennett Jackson at the position, too, in a type of hybrid safety/corner role similar to what Antrel Rolle played during the Giants’ 2011 Super Bowl season. Leon McFadden was signed as a free agent and can play inside. And Donte Deayon showed flashes as an undrafted rookie in the spring.

Ultimately, though, the success of the corners and the pass defense as a whole will be determined by the two new big-ticket additions: Jenkins and Apple. If they can play up to their price tags, it shouldn’t matter who lines up where.

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