James Bradberry’s Breakout Season Punctuated With Pro Bowl Invite

James Bradberry

New York Giants cornerback James Bradberry was invited to the Pro Bowl last week, and the honor is only befitting to a player who has had a profound impact this season.

James Bradberry Pro Bowl Invite Validates Breakout Season

Now in his fifth year in the league, the onetime second-round draft pick of the Carolina Panthers has truly broken out in his first season with the Giants. Bradberry has been a godsend to the Giants and is the heart and soul of a much-improved secondary.

The Stats Back Up the Honor

It’s a well-deserved honor for Bradberry. He has clearly elevated his game under Giants head coach Joe Judge and defensive coordinator Patrick Graham. Bradberry leads the team with three interceptions and 17 pass deflections.

He also has forced two fumbles with one recovery.

For the season, Pro Football Focus grades Bradberry as the seventh-best cornerback in the league for this season, with a grade of 80.5

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Bradberry had one of the toughest gauntlets of receivers to cover during his career with the Panthers, so the chances were always likely that his overall play would improve in New York, and that’s precisely what we have seen. Even with those expectations, Bradberry has been better than most anticipated, and he has been tested plenty. Bradberry is tied for the league lead in combined interceptions and pass breakups with 11, and he has yet to be beaten for a pass longer than 28 yards over the course of the season, despite 41 targets coming his way.

Counting the Ways James Bradberry Has Improved

Bradberry has improved in so many facets. For a refresher, last season with the Panthers, Bradberry was solid but nothing more than just an average cornerback. Not bad, but not great either.

He was great in coverage, while not allowing much separation. However, Bradberry allowed seven touchdowns on the year.

This year has been a transformative one for Bradberry, both psychically and emotionally. He has reached his full potential, and his infectious style of play has rubbed off on his teammates.

James Bradberry Has Become, In a Word, Indispensable

Less than two weeks ago, Bradberry missed the game against the Cleveland Browns because of a COVID-19 related issue, and his absence loomed large. As the heart and soul of the secondary, his absence was a major reason the Giants couldn’t keep pace with the Browns.

In the game against Cleveland, the Giants allowed Browns receivers to register 14 receptions for 192 yards and a touchdown.

It’s just another sign of how irreplaceable Bradberry has been this season.

Bradberry’s Pro Bowl invite was an honor that was a long time coming. He is the first Giants cornerback named to the Pro Bowl since Janoris Jenkins received the honor in 2016.

The cornerback position has been a sore spot for the Giants for the last few years, and Bradberry has stabilized the corps.

More on Bradberry’s Pro Bowl invite from Giants.com:

“It’s a surreal feeling,” Bradberry said. “That’s on everyone’s, I wouldn’t call it a bucket list, but it’s on their goal list, to be Pro Bowl, to be All-Pro, just be the best in the game. I try not to think about it too much. I just try to go out there and play my best and just let the chips fall where they may.”

Bradberry was also asked if he thinks his time with the Giants has made him a better player and how the new-look Giants defense has clicked this season.

More from Giants.com:

“I played pretty well in my last year in Carolina,” he said. “But I think I’ve been playing at a high level this year. I actually think we have a lot of guys on the defense that are playing at a high level. Leonard (Williams) has been playing out of his mind. Blake (Martinez) has been playing well for us, he’s been playing out of his mind. Logan (Ryan) came in, didn’t even have a training camp and he’s been playing some elite football.”

If one word can describe Bradberry’s brief time with the Giants, it would be indispensable.

While not that a high-profile of a signing, he is someone the Giants can build around for years to come. And Bradberry is a player the Giants can hardly afford to ever play without.

Last Word

With Bradberry around and the team showing some major signs of progress—heck, the Giants can still win the NFC East this weekend—and him still being relatively young (27 years old), it could be a foretelling sign of things to come.

This Pro Bowl invite may just be the first for the talented and indispensable Bradberry.

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