The New York Giants wrapped up their second OTA practice, one that, like Monday’s session, was closed to the external media but open to the team’s in-house media, who produced a post-practice report.
As we did Monday, let’s look at some of the highlights from that report and expand just a little further on them.
Un-Corking His Potential
For the second day in a row, undrafted free agent safety Yusuf Corker got on the team’s highlight reel when he had a pass breakup. The safety position is thin after the team elected to move on from Logan Ryan, who they released, and Jabrill Peppers, whom they didn’t re-sign in free agency. Although they have Julian Love, he is in the final year of his rookie deal.
They’re currently left with third-year draft pick Xavier McKinney, who projects to be the leader of that group; rookie Dane Belton, the second of the team’s fourth-round draft picks this year; and some other free agent hopefuls such as Trenton Thompson and Jordan Mosley.
Corker brings versatility and production to the mix. In four years and 38 games for the Wildcats, he appeared in 2,217 snaps—991 against the run, 1,199 in coverage, and 27 as a pass rusher. The 6-foot Corker produced nine pressures in his 27 pass-rushing attempts and saw a significant amount of snaps at free safety, in the box, and the slot.
That versatility, combined with a solid showing this summer, should give Corker the inside track to securing a roster spot if he can avoid the injury bug.
Darnay Holmes Has a Big Day
The Giants say that third-year cornerback Darnay Holmes, who is recovering from a torn ACL suffered last season, had a big pass breakup of a ball thrown to the end zone.
This is good news on a couple of fronts. First, that Holmes has been able to practice means he should be a full-go for training camp. That would be a big boost to the Giants, who, after releasing James Bradberry due to a salary cap crunch, will be looking not only for a new starter but also to solidify the depth at that position.
Holmes has had an interesting NFL journey so far. After turning in a solid showing at UCLA as an outside corner, he was moved to the slot by the Giants, perhaps due to his smallish stature.
But Holmes, who at UCLA played 1,852 snaps on the outside and just 76 in the slot, has always been a player that has played big against more physical opponents. He allowed 58 percent of the pass targets against him to be completed in college, and he limited opposing receivers yards after the catch to about 4.5 yards per reception.
Aaron Robinson, whom the Giants drafted last year, currently projects as the most likely candidate to step into Bradberry's old spot. The feisty Holmes apparently isn't planning to go down without a fight.
McKinney Picks Up Where He Left Off
Third-year safety Xavier McKinney finished last season with his best showing yet, leading the Giants in interceptions (5, including one for a touchdown) and recording four pass breakups, most of that coming as the free safety.
Well, McKinney, whose 2021 interception total tied him for most among safeties last season, picked up where he left off during the second OTA when he snagged a ball tipped by Kayvon Thibodeaux and returned it for a Pick-6.
Last season the Giants defensive backs often missed coming up with a tipped pass, finishing 12th in the league with 15 interceptions. If they're going to be more aggressive in trying to move opposing quarterbacks off their spots, they're going to want to probably come up with a few more interceptions to flip the field.
Adoree' Jackson Posied for a Big Year
With James Bradberry gone, cornerback Adoree' Jackson has an opportunity to be the Giants' No. 1 cornerback this season.
Last year, in his debut season as a Giant, Jackson didn't exactly quell any concerns people had about the team overspending to secure his services. In his first seven games of the season, Jackson allowed 27 of 38 pass targets against him to be completed (71.1 percent) for 255 yards.
In the second half of the season, Jackson, who missed five of the final 11 games, was much better, allowing just seven pass targets (out of 23) to be completed for 49 yards--a 30.4 completion percentage.
In OTA No. 2, Jackson, according to the Giants' in-house media, "made plays all over the field ... and broke up a handful of passes"--exactly what the Giants brass no doubt wants to see from him moving forward.
Receiver David Sills has managed to hang around--last year, he appeared in four games with one start-- since joining the Giants in 2019 following a stint as an undrafted free agent on the Bills' practice squad.
Sills, whom Giants.com writers say had the offensive play of the day when he caught a deep reception from Tyrod Taylor, offers good height at 6-foot-4 that has the coaching staff looking to see if he can vastly improve his game as a perimeter receiver.
Sills, who started his career as an undrafted rookie in Buffalo in 2019, is embarking on his fourth season with the Giants. He made his regular-season debut last season, starting one of four games he played.
A former quarterback, Sills hasn't been overly productive for the Giants or Bills during the preseason--he's caught just nine of 21 targets for 108 yards and two touchdowns, and he's won just three of his seven contested catch opportunities.
But he is another player who has familiarity with the Giants' system, which is likely a reason why he's getting yet another chance to make the Giants' roster.
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