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Giants' James Bradberry very quietly is one of league's top cornerbacks

Giants cornerback James Bradberry (24) defends Chicago Bears

Giants cornerback James Bradberry (24) defends Chicago Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson (12) during the first half of an NFL football game in Chicago, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020.  Credit: AP/Charles Rex Arbogast

There is one skill James Bradberry lacks that may forever keep him out of the conversations regarding the top cornerbacks in the league: self-aggrandizement. At a position where most of the best players have no problem telling anyone and everyone that they are the best players, Bradberry takes a more soft-spoken tact.

"He’s a little different that way," Giants defensive backs coach Jerome Henderson said. "He’s built a little differently. If you ever watch him play, he’s just kind quietly goes about his business, doesn’t say a lot, doesn’t get emotional a lot, is just kind of really focused and detailed."

Yet through two games, the cornerback who came to the Giants as a free agent this offseason, leads the league with six passes defended and came away with a stellar no-look interception against the Bears that almost helped turn the team’s momentum into a win.

"He’s a true pro," safety Jabrill Peppers said. "He takes his craft very seriously. The plays he makes for us on Sundays definitely go a long way. As far as his pick . . . to come down with that, that was a hell of a play at a much-needed time. It was a game-changing play for us. I just hope he keeps making more of them."

Bradberry was – and is – far from a household name when the Giants signed him, but safety Logan Ryan, who was a free agent himself at the time, said he knew Bradberry would be a steal for some team because of his experience facing top wide receivers in the NFC South during his four years with the Panthers.

"He’s just a really good corner, and he’s playing like that," Ryan said. "We need him to be that to be good on defense, and that’s what he’s doing. The name of the game at cornerback is consistency, just doing it week in and week out, and he’s done a good job of that for two weeks. We all need to start playing like him."

Notes & quotes: Joe Judge said he wants Saquon Barkley to be with the team as much as possible for the rest of this season even though he will be on injured reserve and recovering from a torn ACL. "Without question we want to keep him around," Judge said. "As much as we can have him around here we absolutely want him to be. This guy was elected captain by his teammates for a reason and he is an integral part of this program." . . . QB Jimmy Garoppolo (ankle), RB Tevin Coleman (knee), DE Dee Ford (back), RB Raheem Mostert (knee) and LB Dre Greenlaw (quad) did not practice for the 49ers on Thursday. TE George Kittle (knee) was limited.

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