The New York Giants defensive unit in 2020 surprised many people. One area, in particular, shined over the rest: the secondary. New York’s pass defense was on full display last season. The one key area where they struggled was the second cornerback position opposite star, James Bradberry. A plethora of players tried to hold down their side of the field, but none succeeded. This off-season the Giants went out and signed cornerback Adoree’ Jackson to a three-year, $39 million contract. Many thought that the team overpaid for Jackson, but the team knew they had to bring him in to finally fix their second cornerback problem from last season.
New York Giants Secondary is Much Better With Adoree’ Jackson
Being A Part of an Already Great Secondary
Last off-season the Giants made some key additions to their secondary, including safety Logan Ryan and James Bradberry.
Ryan, the oldest member of the secondary at 30, acted as a vocal leader and mentor for the younger defensive backs last season. However, Ryan was much more than a mentor, as he had a solid 2020 season, recording 94 tackles, nine passes defended, and one interception. He also did not allow any receiver he covered to have over 100 yards receiving.
James Bradberry was given the chance to take his game to another level and he did just that. The fifth-year corner had a combined 54 tackles with 18 pass deflections and three interceptions. Bradberry was tasked with covering the opposing offense’s best receiver last season, and prior to signing with the Giants, he had experience doing just that. In his time spent with the Carolina Panthers, Bradberry went up against the likes of Julio Jones, Michael Thomas, and Mike Evans twice per year. He did the same in 2020, matching up against big-time receivers like DK Metcalf and Deandre Hopkins. Bradberry held his own side of the field, in what proved to be a great signing.
Jabrill Peppers had the best year of his young career in 2020. Peppers recorded 91 tackles, eight tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, and 11 pass deflections with one interception. The emergence of Peppers also helped skyrocket this secondary into one of the best in the league.
Other players in the Giants secondary, like Darnay Holmes, Julian Love, and Xavier McKinney, all helped bring this secondary overhaul to fruition. Holmes was the only rookie defensive back to not allow a single touchdown. McKinney missed most of the season due to a foot injury, but flashed potential in the final six games of the year, and even added an interception in the season finale. Julian Love is the hybrid cornerback/safety that the team wants him to be.
What Jackson Will Add to this Secondary
Adoree’ Jackson spent four years (played in a total of 46 games) with the Tennessee Titans before being surprisingly let go in March. In his time with the Titans, Jackson totaled 200 tackles, 33 passes defended, two interceptions, and six tackles for loss. Jackson is coming off of a knee injury that sidelined him for 13 games last season, and never really got the chance to get into a rhythm in 2020. Nevertheless, the soon-to-be 26-year-old Jackson will fill a big void for the Giants that is the second cornerback spot.
So far in camp, Jackson has been going up against all of the receivers, including Kenny Golladay, who says even though Jackson is smaller than Bradberry, has quicker feet and still provides great competition for him to get better.
“Those two guys are totally different players,” Golladay said. “Adoree’ is a little smaller (5-11), Bradberry a little more my height (6-1), and more of a physical guy. Man, it’s great competition when I go against both of them.
“The noticeable difference is just height and length. Taller guys, footwork is a little bit different, even though J.B. has great footwork. Adoree’ is a little bit quicker, but both are great competition.” (Giants.com).
The Giants had Corey Ballentine, Ryan Lewis, and Isaac Yiadom all started at the second cornerback spot last year. All three struggled, but the coaching staff and front office believe Adoree’ Jackson is the answer to this crucial problem. Jackson is coming into a great situation. And his presence will allow Patrick Graham to play more man coverage instead of zone.