2019 Season Rewind
Sam Beal was the first Giants selection in the supplemental draft since safety Tito Wooten in 1994.
Chosen in the third round in the 2018 supplemental draft, Beal was a raw prospect with great potential. Some were projecting Beal to be a 2019 first-round selection if he stayed another year at Western Michigan. Some were even opining that Beal was the best player in the supplemental draft since Josh Gordon was the best player in 2012 out of Baylor.
While Gordon had a mercurial career, Beal hasn't lived up to the pedigree yet, mostly due to injuries. He suffered a season-ending shoulder injury just two weeks into training camp, which wiped out his rookie season.
The team had high hopes for Beal, who was a thin corner, 6-foot-1, and 177 pounds, but had a lot of quality production in college. At Western Michigan, Beal had the highest coverage grade during the 2017 season in the MAC.
He was a wide corner who had good man coverage skills. Beal ran a 4.47 40-yard dash at his pro day. He jumped a 37-inch vertical and a 10'6" broad jump--solid numbers all around, but nothing spectacular for a corner, outside the 37-inch vertical.
The 2019 season wasn’t kind to Beal, either. He started the season on IR with a hamstring strain but was designated to return in Week 10. He was worked into the rotation in Weeks 12 and 13 and assumed a bigger role after Janoris Jenkins was released.
The brightest spot for Beal came in the Miami game, right after the Jenkins release. Beal had 11 tackles and a momentum-swinging safety, where he came flying downhill to make an aggressive tackle on Patrick Laird in the end zone.
Beal finished the year with 26 tackles, and one pass defended in 3 starts, but he missed the last game of the season with a shoulder issue.
The uncertainty of DeAndre Baker’s future with the team sure threw an interesting curveball into the Giants’ cornerback room. Baker, projected to start alongside newly acquired James Bradberry, found himself facing some very serious legal allegations acting doubt as to whether he'll be available to the team in 2020 and beyond.
This leaves two players to fight for the starting position, opposite of Bradberry: Corey Ballentine and Sam Beal. Ballentine is a 2019 sixth-round pick out of Division II Washburn, who was thrown to the wolves last year when the coaching staff had no answers at nickel.
Like the original starter, Grant Haley, Ballentine didn’t fare too well at the nickel. Ballentine has the athletic tools to have success, but he’s raw in his technique.
With Beal, it’s a bit different. Beal needs to be available; he needs the reps to have success and to acclimate to the speed of the NFL.
There were times where he wasn’t quick out of his breaks to follow receivers on horizontal stems. If Beal can clean that up, he’d have a better shot at competing on the depth chart against Ballentine.
Beal’s frame isn't ideal either, but he’s still a talented young player who hasn’t seen the field enough. The best-case scenario is Beal starts opposite of James Bradberry and takes the jump to the level of play we expect from someone with his pedigree.
The worst-case scenario is Beal struggles to adapt to the game's speed, and his frame still leads to injuries.