If there is one area of the New York Giants defense that drastically needs to improve in 2013, it is the cornerbacks, who at times were downright terrible a year ago, and a main reason why the defense as a whole finished 31st overall in the NFL.
At times, because of lack of depth, the Giants were playing Michael Coe and Justin Tryon against some of the team's first, second and third team wide receivers and were getting torched by them. Both players are not with the team this season.
Starting with the most veteran member of the group is Corey Webster, who had by far his worst season as professional last season and was getting beat up and down the field by team's best receivers. Little did any of us know was that Webster was playing though an injury, which could explain his struggles. He took a pay cut to stay on the Giants and play out the final year of his current contract. Many feel that Webster will have a bounce-back season because he is a talented player and has been so good for the majority of his career.
Starting alongside Webster will be former first-round draft pick Prince Amukamara, who took great strides in 2012 and looked even more impressive in his first full season with the team after he missed most of his rookie year in 2011 with a broken foot. Amukamara has all of the skills and tools to assert himself in the league as a true shutdown corner and potentially, take over the unit as the number one corner on the Giants. Amukamara not only feels that be can be the best of the bunch, but feels that he is an elite defender on the field.
What the Giants lacked last season that they desperately needed was depth, and when the Giants brought back Aaron Ross after a year with the Jacksonville Jaguars when free agency started, it was a good move for depth purposes, plus for veteran leadership in the locker room and on the field. At times, Ross looked like he had lost a step in 2011 and the Giants felt it was best to let him depart in free agency after the Super Bowl, but many fans would have taken Ross playing over Coe or Tryon given the circumstances. Ross told the media once he re-signed that he never wanted to leave New York and coming back to the Giants was his first choice.
It's been almost three years since anyone has seen Terrell Thomas play in a regular season game; two consecutive ACL tears and surgeries have taken care of that, which has Thomas playing 2013 on a one-year deal looking to get his career jump-started again. Before the injuries, Thomas was regarded as the team's best cover corner and was on the verge of becoming a Pro Bowl talent on defense. The Giants still see something special in him, which is why initially they locked him up to a four-year extension in 2012 before the second ACL tear last summer. Some have speculated that Thomas could play some time at safety to help preserve his knees, but the 28-year-old is preparing to come in at corner.
The final member of the group that should expect to see time on the field is former third-round pick from 2012 in Jayron Hosley, who is still a bit of work in progress. Because of Thomas landing on IR in the summer, Hosley's role increased in his rookie season and ended up playing in 12 games for the Giants and started six of them. At times, Hosley looked pretty good and if he intercepts the ball in open space, he could be gone with a pick-six in his hands. But then there were other times where Hosley looked lost and went through the growing pains of a rookie defender in the NFL.
Junior Mertile, Trumaine McBride and Terrence Frederick will also be in camp looking to compete for roster spots on the Giants.
Heading into 2013, the unit still has its question marks and doubts and may be seen as the weak link of the entire defense. But if Thomas stays healthy, Webster bounces back and Amukamara and Hosley continue their progress as youngsters, then the corners of the Giants could have better success this season.
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