Newcomer Isaac Yiadom Trying to Make a Case for a Starting Role at Cornerback
It wasn't going to happen right away for cornerback Isaac Yiadom once he joined the Giants, but slowly, he's getting there.
The Giants added Yiadom via trade from the Denver Broncos just 12 days before kicking off the season against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Coming to New York threw Yiadom into a vastly different defensive scheme from the one he saw in Denver, going from an elaborate zone scheme to more of a Cover-1 defense.
But slowly, Yiadom has been making a case to become the permanent No. 2 cornerback on the perimeter for the Giants, a position that began with second-year pro Corey Ballentine as the starter on the perimeter.
Currently, the second cornerback spot opposite of James Bradberry is more of a rotation, but Yiadom is trying to put an end to that. After playing just five snaps on defense in Week 1, Yiadom's role jumped to 36 snaps in Week 2.
According to Pro Football Focus, Yiadom has been targeted four times in coverage in two weeks, allowing two completions for 18 yards and one touchdown, the score belonging to Steelers receiver Juju Smith-Schuster in Week 1.
"He’s a big corner who can run, who can tackle, has some speed and plays physical," said defensive coordinator Patrick Graham, who added that Yiadom has been putting in extra time with the defensive coaches to get caught up on the intricacies of the scheme.
Head coach Joe Judge also likes what he's seen from Yiadom, who also has two tackles (one in run support), one stop for zero or negative yards, and one missed tackle so far in addition to one tackle on special teams.
"He's really done a good job of getting into our system, improving understanding the techniques with the big-picture concepts as well," Judge said of the Broncos' third-round pick out of Boston College in 2017 whom the Giants acquired for a 2021 seventh-round draft pick.
"He's playing aggressive. He's got that mentality to him. I know now he can play more confidently and aggressively just with some experience in the calls and how we're looking to play with him."
Yiadom isn't guaranteed a starting spot by any means, but his weekly improvement does bode well for the chances of his role increasing as the competition to find the full-time starter, which also includes Logan Ryan as the projected favorite candidate, continues.
"Guys are competing," Graham said. "Whether it’s Corey, Ike, [Logan Ryan], all those guys are competing for the spot," Graham said. "We’ll figure it out, see what happens on Sunday."