Sunday, July 10, 2016

Slot Corner Up For Grabs

(@Giants on Twitter)

When you picture the Giants base defense, I would assume you picture a 4-3. Let me break that down for those who may not know what that means:

Credit: wikipedia and my edits
You have the FOUR defensive linemen (2 DEs and DTs) ... And THREE linebackers (Weak side, Strong side, and Middle). Behind that you have the two Safeties (Free and Strong) and two Corners on the outside. 

However, the NFL is turning into a 3-down passing league. Why have 3 linebackers when you can have 3 corners? In fact, according to Peter King at The MMQB, 63.4% of plays in NFL games have 5 or more DBs on the field. Thats nearly TWO-THIRDS! Usually it is more of a nickel look with 3 corners, 2 safeties, 2 linebackers.

And that is where this article comes in to play. Who is going to man the nickel/slot corner for the Giants?

Is it the #10 pick of the 2016 NFL Draft, Eli Apple? Most definitely not. As I mentioned hereChris Ash the former DC at Ohio State said in an interview that Apple was NEVER asked to play slot. He was taught to grab and hold wideouts up and down the field. Now think about it, a 6'1" corner who has relied on grabbing and holding to stay tight with the wideout, trying to keep up with the smaller shifty wide receivers. Good luck. Apple was brought on (I hope) as a back up outside guy, along with being DRC's long-term replacement.

So after Apple, the most realistic options in my mind are: Bennett Jackson, Trevin Wade, and Donte Deayon. 

Bennett Jackson

Went from corner, to safety, back to corner. Now the Giants can kind of play him in a slot/safety hybrid like they did with Rolle a few years back. However, the guy hasn't played in two seasons because of knee injuries. He was on his way to start at FS before he tore his ACL in a preseason game last year. Torn ACLs are not the best injury for a slot cornerback to come back from.

Trevin Wade

Mr. Wade is an interesting one. Drafted in 2012 by the Browns in the 7th round and played in 13 games that year. Bounced around a little and landed on the Giants in January of last year. He's 5'10" 190, so he has solid slot corner size. My one problem with him is the risk taking without the top corner talent to do so. He can get burned on taking peeks into the backfield without staying with receivers. BUT the man has a nose for the football. Started in 3 games last year. Played in 16. 6 pass breakups, 1 TD saving forced fumble (Matt Jones, Redskins), 2 fumble recoveries, 1 TD.

Donte Deayon

Guy had 17 career interceptions which is 5th on Boise State's all-time list and 3rd on the Mountain West. But for me, it all started on June 6th during OTA's. I saw a tweet from Art Stapleton, one of the Giants beat writers, about Deayon getting a pick during practice. I sat there at my desk pondering, "Donte Deayon, hm?" ... went straight to youtube, and this was my reaction: (Deacon means Deayon, obviously) 

That night I sat in bed that night thinking, "Giants spent a number 10 pick on a backup, while we found our starting nickel guy after the draft!" So on the train to work the next morning I watched even more tape, and came out with this thought:

Attitude on defense is so, so, SO important. You must want the ball. You must want to hit people. Bring your opponent to their knees mentally and physically.  A quote from this article backs up my tweet:

“You push me, I’ll push you,” Deayon says. “You talk trash, I’m gonna talk trash. And every time you line up, I’m gonna be right there, and you’re gonna have to do it for four quarters ’cause I’m gonna be there for four quarters, trying to make plays.”

Good vibes for Deayon continued while the days passed:
If you can't already tell, I feel Deayon not only makes the team, but is the starting guy at nickel corner come day one. I mean the guy's nickname is Neon (yes after Deion Sanders)... how could you not want him to start? 

Would I have a problem with Wade claiming the spot once again with a sprinkle of "Neon" throughout the season? Not at all. What I do know is that I want him in between the lines on defense. I want the attitude. I want the intensity.