Corey Ballentine Is Not the Answer at CB2 for the New York Giants

Corey Ballentine

Currently, second-year man Corey Ballentine is the second outside cornerback for the New York Giants. The results have not been the greatest so far.

The Giants have been in cornerback limbo since letting Janoris Jenkins go in December of last year. To patch up the position, the team signed former Panthers cornerback James Bradberry and drafted UCLA Bruin Darnay Holmes. However, bad luck struck the next month.

Deandre Baker had believed to be involved in a robbery with Seattle Seahawks cornerback Quinton Dunbar. Since then, the Giants have made no real repairs to the wound Baker left the team with. The organization excluded Baker from the virtual workouts. Eventually, the NFL put him on the commissioner’s exempt list and the Giants released him after training camp.

Since the Baker debacle, Corey Ballentine has played at the second cornerback position for two straight games. Much like last season, the results have not been the greatest.

Many claimed that former defensive coordinator James Bettcher misused Ballentine in the slot last season. Ballentine, like the other young defensive backs, struggled where he was put. Ballentine gave up 27 completions on 42 targets, allowed 393 yards, a 64.3 completion percentage, 14.6 yards per completion, four touchdowns, and a 126.4 passer rating.

The Giants gave Ballentine and the other defensive backs a clean slate with the new defensive coaching staff. After no preseason and new training camp experience, he made the roster.

Room for Optimism

Though the stats through two games have not been impressive, Ballentine is so far doing a better job than fellow cornerback Isaac Yiadom. Yiadom has played 41 snaps on defense this season compared to Ballentine’s 88 snaps.

Yiadom has given up the same number of touchdowns Ballentine has this season. JuJu Smith-Schuster hauled in one touchdown against Yiadom, where Yiadom took a weird angle to cover his receiver. If it was not for Anthony Miller‘s dropped pass in Chicago last week, Yiadom would have looked worse than advertised. Yiadom, so far this season, has allowed 18 yards per completion (one completion) and a 120.8 passer rating.

Other than that, Ballentine is a core special teamer the Giants can use as a kick returner. So far this season, Ballentine has not returned any kicks. However, the cornerback position is what matters more.

With a rebuilding team, Ballentine has time to improve with a new coaching staff that actually teaches their players. Ballentine has speed and is a fine tackler. If the Giants take the time to get his coverage skills intact, he has the potential to rise above expectations as a decent late-round cornerback opposite James Bradberry.

Why Ballentine Is Not the Answer

Though it is a learning curve for everyone, Corey Ballentine still endures the struggling habit.

So far, he has given up five receptions on six targets, allowed 65 yards, an 83.3 completion percentage, 13 yards per target, one touchdown, and a 151.4 passer rating. The touchdown going to Darnell Mooney of the Chicago Bears.

Most sixth-round picks in the NFL stay on rosters as backups. At this point in the game, unless the Giants try and strike gold with Ballentine, he is ultimately a depth cornerback at the backend of the roster.

The attempt at Ross Cockrell should have been a better one. Cockrell is now with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers‘ practice squad. The Giants have two options: wait and watch the experiment with Ballentine or give up on Ballentine sooner than later and sign a free agent veteran or try to work Logan Ryan or Holmes at the second cornerback position.

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