If there’s one position New York Giants fans are most nervous about heading into the season, it’s cornerback. Specifically, the second outside cornerback opposite free-agent addition James Bradberry.
Bradberry has been the Giants top corner ever since he signed on the dotted line. The second corner spot, however, has been a revolving door all offseason. At first it was supposed to be 2019 first-round pick DeAndre Baker. But his armed robbery charge and subsequent placement on the commissioner’s exempt list foiled that plan. Then, it was supposed to be 2018 supplemental draft pick Sam Beal. But he opted out of the season due to concerns over COVID-19. For a moment it was supposed to be ex-Carolina Panther Ross Cockrell, but his reported signing fell through in the final hour.
Now the Giants are left with 2019 sixth-round pick Corey Ballentine, the recently acquired Isaac Yiadom, or another of their camp corners to start. There’s not a proven, or even particularly promising option among them. The newly signed Logan Ryan could possibly man the position, but he’s more likely to replace the injured Xavier McKinney at safety.
With Bradberry to cover the opponent’s top wideout each week, it’ll be up to their second receiver to exploit the Giants’ glaring defensive weakness. In order to grasp the players who could take advantage of New York’s second cornerback, here are the top-five number-two receiving options the Giants will face this year.
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1. Chris Godwin – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tom Brady‘s new team is flush with offensive weapons, and Godwin certainly isn’t least among them. The Penn State alum had 1333 receiving yards, nine touchdowns, and 15.5 yards-per-catch last year. Those are number-one receiver numbers on the majority of NFL teams. He could have a field day come Week 8 against Big Blue.
2. Jarvis Landry – Cleveland Browns
The five-time pro bowler has reliably gotten open for two NFL franchises now. While not a real deep threat, Landry is a consistent chain mover and nuanced route runner. He’s a difficult cover for any corner, let alone whoever he’ll match up against on the Giants.
3. Michael Gallup – Dallas Cowboys
Rookie CeeDee Lamb could emerge as the Cowboys’ true number-two receiver by the time these two teams play in Week 17, which shows just how good Dallas’ wideouts are. For now it’s Gallup, who broke out last year with 66 catches and 1107 yards. The 2018 third-round pick had success against New York last year, going for a combined 191 yards and one touchdown.
4. Cooper Kupp/Robert Woods – Los Angeles Rams
It’s a toss-up as to who’s the number-one and who’s the number-two in L.A. Both Kupp and Woods had over 130 targets and 1100 yards last year. They’re each experts at creating space for themselves in the short and intermediate levels of the field.
5. Tyler Boyd – Cincinnati Bengals
First-overall pick Joe Burrow is walking into a pretty good offensive environment. The Bengals kept A.J. Green to be their top target, which bumps the underrated Boyd down to number-two status. The former Pittsburgh Panther is coming off back-to-back 1000-yard seasons. Boyd can operate outside or from the slot. Either way, expect him to be their target eating possession guy, while Green threatens defenses vertically.