Rookie cornerbacks were on full display at New York Giants training camp Saturday.
Sixth-round selection Corey Ballentine continues to prove his worth. His day included knocking a Daniel Jones pass away from Alonzo Russell during red zone exercises and shadowing Russell Shepard to force an interception. Ballentine also got the best of Kyle Lauletta when he knocked a pass away from Amba Etta-Tawo. One of the day’s best plays came when the 6-foot Ballentine rose up over the 6-foot-4 Russell and came down with an interception.
Julian Love got time with the first team because of an injury to Grant Haley and made the most of it. During the blitz period, Love didn’t allow Cody Latimer to get separation and knocked away a pass from Eli Manning. He also broke up a pass intended for Reggie White Jr. Love and Sean Chandler covered Russell on a deep route down the right sideline. Love is emerging as a defensive back who is adept at the safety, nickel, and outside cornerback positions.
First-round pick DeAndre Baker got in the action as well. He read a Lauletta pass intended for Da’Mari Scott perfectly and came away with the pick. Although Saquon Barkley beat him on a touchdown run during red zone drills, he did stuff Jon Hilliman for a short gain.
The training camp battle between tight end Evan Engram and safety Jabrill Peppers continues to be one of the most heated of the summer. Engram had a few receptions early on much to the chagrin of Peppers. Peppers thought offensive pass interference should have been called and the NFL officiating crew on hand know it in no uncertain terms. In response, Engram let Peppers know he got the best of him.
Wide receiver Sterling Shepard continues to improve after breaking his thumb on the first day of training camp. He was using both hands during receiving drills with no sign of discomfort.
Offensive tackle George Asafo-Adeji (concussion), cornerback Sam Beal (groin/hamstring), wide receiver Brittan Golden (groin), linebacker Markus Golden (unknown), cornerback Grant Haley (shoulder), defensive end Avery Moss (unknown), wide receiver Darius Slayton (hamstring), cornerback Harvé Toliver (ankle), offensive tackle Chad Wheeler (unknown), and edge rusher Oshane Ximenes (leg soreness) did not practice on Saturday.
Head coach Pat Shurmur said Slayton, the team’s fifth-round pick, is “getting better every day”. Slayton took the field in full pads but spent Saturday working on the side with the training staff. This is a big step for Slayton, who walked around last week with a noticeable limp.
Shurmur also mentioned that Ximenes, a third-round pick, had “a little leg soreness’ but is recovering.
The Giants claimed linebacker Joey Alfieri off waivers. Alfieri was most recently with the Philadelphia Eagles, who waived him earlier in the week after signing safety Jonathan Cyprien. Alfieri, who played collegiately at Stanford, can play either inside or outside. Alfieri compiled 156 total tackles (87 solo), 26.5 tackles for a loss, 14 sacks, six passes deflected, two interceptions, and two forced fumbles in four years for the Cardinal.
The Giants have an off-day Sunday before returning to the practice field on Monday.