Over the course of the 2010 season, the New York Giants cornerbacks performed admirably. Corey Webster had one of his strongest seasons as a pro, sticking with some of the league's top receivers and limiting the damage that they inflicted on the defense. Despite the fact that he is set to make over $8 million this coming season, I expect him to return as the quiet leader of the secondary.
Terrell Thomas improved on his breakout 2009 campaign, recording over 100 tackles, four forced fumbles, and five interceptions. Thomas is an excellent young player with a ton of room for improvement whom I expect will be a cornerstone of the Giants defense for years to come.
Next up on the depth chart is Aaron Ross. Ross had an under-the radar season this past season and stuck with slot receivers relatively well. I would love to see Ross crack the starting lineup considering how highly he was drafted, but there is certainly value in being a good nickel back.
As one begins to think about the future of the position, there are a number of question marks worth considering if the Giants are going to continue to sport a strong secondary. Primarily, it is important to consider whether the team will be able to keep the top three players. Webster already carries a hefty salary, and it is unlikely that the team offer similar deals to both Thomas and Ross.
It is worth pointing out that in 2010, the Giants enjoyed a very healthy year at this position. Aaron Ross has had durability issues in the past, and the unit would quickly appear very thin if one of the top guys were to go down with injury. This leads me to wonder: should the Giants be considering a cornerback in the draft this coming season?
With the 19th overall selection, history would tell you that the Giants are in perfect position to draft a corner. In six of the last 10 draft, the 17-32 slots in the draft have produced at least one pro bowler (including Darrelle Revis and Devin McCourty).
One guy whom I believe Giants brass has their eye on in this coming draft is Jimmy Smith out of Colorado. Over the last two seasons, Smith has been nothing short of stellar in every phase of the game for Colorado. He has recorded 70 tackles in each of the last two seasons, including five which saved touchdowns in 2010. Over the course of a 12 game slate, Smith was only thrown at a total of 20 times this past season, allowing merely one touchdown.
The 6'2" 211 pound Smith could offer some speed and depth to the back end of a defense that is in need of it right out of the gate, while breathing down the backs of the respective starters for the next few seasons.
Shut- down ability is very rare in the NFL today, and if a player is able to display that in college, then he is certainly worth looking twice at, especially for a team whose pass defense hurt them as much as the Giants has the past two seasons. The NFC east is stacked with receiver talent up and down the division, and some of the best NFL teams are built on throwing the football.
I expect general manager Jerry Reese to invest in the secondary fairly early in this draft.Tags: Aaron Ross, Brian Jackson, Corey Webster, Football, Jerry Reese, Michael Coe, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Terrell Thomas