New York Giants 2024 Training Camp Preview: DB Darnay Holmes

Darnay Holmes will battle rookie Dru Phillips for the nickelback role.
New York Giants cornerback Darnay Holmes
New York Giants cornerback Darnay Holmes / Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
In this story:

The New York Giants' plan to move third-year cornerback Cor’Dale Flott from the slot to the perimeter was met with some general skepticism, as it’s not often that you see a nickel corner moved back to the outside on a full-time basis. 

But with that being the plan, fifth-year defensive back Darnay Holmes has a chance to regain his old job if he can hold off rookie Andru Phillips. 

Holmes, a 2020 fourth-round pick, manned the position until relinquishing it to Flott in 2023. His maturity, leadership, and football intelligence have always given him the opportunity to be a valuable member of a football team.

Still, his lack of size and elite-level speed have always made people think that they could find better.  

Holmes has been an effective defender in the slot during his time with the Giants. That is why they re-signed him to a one-year deal this offseason. 

He has played in 54 games and made 11 starts. He has four interceptions, including two last season as a backup. He has 18 pass breakups, two forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery. 

He even has a half sack to add to his 115 tackles, and 89 were solo efforts to go with three tackles for loss and four quarterback hits. 

Holmes proved to be a savvy vet before he was ever a vet. He carved out a place on this team when many thought he would have difficulty making the team when he was a rookie. 

Instead of just being a special teamer, he was inserted into the defensive two deep. Holmes has been given an opening to the best chance he has anywhere to be a starter in the NFL in 2024. 

It could give him a chance to prove that he is a long-term solution if Phillips isn’t ready for the role or if the plan is to eventually move Phillips from the slot to the perimeter. 


DARNAY HOLMES, DB

Height: 5-10
Weight: 195 lbs.
Exp: 5
School: UCLA
How Acquired: D4-20


2023 in Review

The 2023 season was a big change for Holmes. After spending the previous three seasons as the primary nickel corner for the Giants, he was replaced by second-year corner Cor’Dale Flott. 

Holmes never let it affect his ability to contribute to the team. He became one of the most valuable players on special teams. He participated in over 45 percent of the special teams snaps last season. That includes four games where he showed up in over 60 percent of the snaps. 

Just because he was replaced did not mean he gave up on himself or thought he would never have another chance. Like the professional he has always shown himself to be, he kept himself ready if his opportunity arose to be back in the slot. 

There were games in which he only recorded a handful of defensive snaps and others in which he did not receive any defensive snaps. Despite the lack of opportunity, he performed when his number was called. 

In Weeks 10 and 11, he received his largest share of defensive snaps against the Cowboys and Commanders. 

In those two games, Holmes recorded ten solo tackles and two interceptions. He was the very definition of staying ready, so you don't have to get ready.

Contract/Cap Info

Holmes signed a one-year, $2 million contract that includes a $50,000 signing bonus and $50,000 guaranteed. If he doesn’t make the roster, Holmes would yield $1.225 million in savings and a dead cap value of $50,000.

2024 Preview

Holmes is an experienced option to command that valuable slot corner position if Phillips, the rookie, isn’t ready. Still, there will likely be questions about Holmes’s coverage ability, which is what likely led to his losing the job in the first place.

If this new defensive scheme does indeed feature more zone coverage, Holmes will be able to showcase his elite football acumen. And if nothing else, Holmes, who was one of the punt gunners last year, will probably have that role on his plate as well.



Published
Gene Clemons

GENE CLEMONS

Gene "Coach" Clemons has been involved with the game of football for 30 years as a player, coach, evaluator, and journalist.  Clemons has spent time writing for the Worcester Telegram and Gazette, Bridgton News, Urbana Daily Citizen, Macon Telegraph and footballgameplan.com.  He has a YouTube channel called "Coach Gene Clemons" where you can find his popular "X&O The Joes" series as well as other football related content.