The Giants Guys

Addition of Beal Gives Giants More Options in Their Secondary

The Giants were headed into training camp with a plethora of questions at the cornerback position, and may be inclined to bring in additional competition, possibly even reunite with Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.

That was evident with the use of a third-round pick in the NFL Supplemental Draft this week in which they selected Western Michigan’s Sam Beal. He’ll be on the roster by virtue of his draft status bu the other backup roles will vied for via a mad scramble among the many free agents the team is bringing to camp later this month.

The top of the cornerback depth chart yields some familiar names, but beyond that very little is certain and there will be a scramble for roster spots as the summer unfolds. Now that Beal is aboard, they might be sleeping a little better at nights.

Here’s a look at the team’s cornerback position with camp looming:

Janoris Jenkins

Jenkins is coming off of an uneven season that included him getting suspended for violating team rules before going down with an ankle injury in November. A former Pro Bowl-caliber corner, he is remains atop the Giants’ depth chart this summer. He showed no ill effects of the ankle surgery this spring at workouts and is stoked to play for new defensive coordinator James Bettcher’s attack-style defense.

“Jackrabbit” was back to his old self it seemed at mini-camp and even talked about how the secondary was bonding, something that didn’t happen last year when the unit splintered and staged a mini-mutiny halfway through the season.

Last week, Jenkins’ brother was charged with the death of a family friend at cornerback’s New Jersey home. Jenkins was in Florida at the time of the incident, but it will undoubtedly have a lingering effect on him as he returns to the Northeast for training camp later this month.

Eli Apple

After a season of extreme discontent that nearly ended his short career here in New York. Apple was inconsistent on the field and a “cancer” off it. The former first-round pick was the subject of trade rumors this past offseason, but general manager Dave Gettleman insisted that “you don’t give up on talent,” and he and head coach Pat Shurmur agreed to give Apple a second chance.

The decision to give Apple a clean slate is turning out to be a wise one. Apple has mended fences with his teammates and is all-in on the team’s new defensive initiative.

The former Ohio State Buckeye was all over the field at workouts this spring, sporting a team-first attitude and making plays that lived up to his first-round pedigree. The Giants remain high on Apple, excited to finally see this young man flourish and reach his potential.

William Gay

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was let go this spring as a salary cap casualty. That meant the Giants were in the market for a veteran presence in their secondary. Enter Gay, a 12-year veteran who has spent 11 of those in Pittsburgh (and one in Arizona) who has been a productive, smart, leveled player since being selected in the fifth round of the 2007 NFL Draft out of Louisville by the Steelers.

Gay has a Super Bowl ring and appears to be a perfect fit on this young Giants’ defense, who have named the 33-year-old “Grandpa.”

Gay has been called a “pro’s pro” by Bettcher and has been lining up in the slot with the first team in the sub packages. He has responded well and it looks like the Giants may have lucked out with the durable Gay, who has played in all 16 games (plus playoffs) in each of his 11 seasons in the NFL.

Other corners in the mix

The names are not impressive, but the Giants don’t really care: Curtis Riley, Teddy Williams, B.W. Webb, Grant Haley, Chris Lewis-Harris, Donte Deayon and Kenneth Durden. The common thread among this group is versatility and depth. All can play roles on the defense and special teams.

If I had to choose, I would say Riley, Williams and Webb have the inside track at making the club with Haley, the undrafted rookie free agent out of Penn State getting the final spot, but there’s a lot that can happen at camp and in the preseason.

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