The Giants' drafting of UCLA cornerback Darnay Holmes was something of a surprise.
Why? Because at 5'10" and 195 pounds, Holmes' size screamed slot cornerback, yet he barely played the slot cornerback at UCLA.
Considering Holmes didn't have an off-season or preseason to grasp the finer points of playing the position, his rookie season wasn't as disastrous as it might have been, and that's a testament to Holmes, who played the position without fear.
In his rookie season, Holmes did not allow a touchdown reception in 307 coverage snaps and finished with the second-best NFL coverage rate (91.2) among a sample size of 18 rookie cornerbacks who played in at least 20% of their team's defensive pass coverage snaps.
That said, Holmes also didn't produce very many big plays, coming up with just one interception and three passes defensed in 52 pass targets. Holmes dealt with a neck injury and then later in the season, a knee injury, both of which resulted in him missing four out of the Giants' final five games.
What He Brings
Holmes is a smart, heady player who quickly recognizes route combinations and concepts when in zone coverage, knows when to pick up and pass off receivers, and is rarely fooled by fakes.
He also has good ball skills and instincts to be disruptive at the catch point and plays with an aggressive mindset. There was some question regarding some limited athleticism on tape coming out of college, but to be fair, that may have been a result of an ankle injury that he suffered in early 2019 that contributed to him struggling to keep up.
Holmes needs to continue working on his angles and focus on being less grabby at the top of routes, as he drew five penalties in coverage. He has the prerequisite speed and quickness for the position, but just needs to clean up a few things with angles to get himself into better position to make more plays.
Holmes is in Year 2 of his four-year rookie deal and will count for $977,972 against this year's salary cap.
Holmes finished his rookie season having played 452 defensive snaps, 390 of which came in the slot. While there should be a role for Holmes on the Giants defense this year, the question centers around how big of a role he'll play.
With the additions of Aaron Robinson and Adoree' Jackson, and the return of Xavier McKinney, all of whom can play the slot, Holmes could see some of his snaps redistributed unless he comes up with more big plays when he's on the field.
You May Also Like:
- Find all our training camp player previews in one spot. New profiles are added daily until we get to the end of the roster.
Be sure to keep it locked on Giants Country all the time!