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2023 Training Camp

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Adoree' Jackson 'proud' to see Tre Hawkins, Deonte Banks thriving


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – As the Giants have progressed deeper into training camp, the first-team defense has included with increasing frequency two rookie cornerbacks.

One was entirely expected. Deonte Banks was the team's first-round draft choice, No. 24 overall.

The other young corner? Not so much.

Tre Hawkins was a sixth-round selection, No. 209 on the big board. He played at Old Dominion, which has never been included in any conversation of the nation's collegiate football powerhouses. But there he is, lining up at left corner with the starters.

"I'm proud," Hawkins said today. "It's something that I feel like I've been trying to work for. I'm most definitely proud but humble at the same time.

"From my eyes, I'm not looking at it as, 'I'm doing too good or too bad.' I'm just trying to stay mellow throughout the whole training camp and consistent because I can have a good day one day and a bad day the next. So, my thing is to continue to try and stack days and stay consistent. I don't think about the day I had before, I try and stay in the present moment."

Coaches often temper their praise of young players, particularly at this time of year, but defensive coordinator Wink Martindale was unrestrained when discussing Hawkins.

"Oh, he's had a great camp," Martindale said. "He's had a great camp (yes, he repeated that). It's amazing to me as you go back, and you think about the different guys and where they come from. It doesn't matter where you come from once you get here because the resources and people that they have to work with at this level and the guys that are productive, you can see the confidence just build in them. I really think he's done a nice job, but he's got a lot of things to work on, just like we all do."

In fairness, Martindale is also excited about Banks' progress.

"I think he's been great," Martindale said. "It's one of those things – corners are on the island. You know what I mean? He's on the island and this is the NFL. It's 50/50 on the edge. He still has that mentality that if he gets knocked down nine times, he gets up 10 and doesn't flinch. (He) listens, learns (and) Rome's (defensive backs coach Jerome Henderson) doing a great job with him. Jerome Henderson and I think both of those young corners have come in here and competed and they're exciting to watch."

View photos from Thursday's training camp practice at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center.

An important corollary to this story is how it affects Adoree' Jackson. He is, of course, the incumbent left corner. With 77 regular-season and postseason games of experience, he enjoys the veteran privilege of getting some reps off in practice.

"I appreciate it," Jackson said. "I think that's what comes along when you're going into year seven. I remember when I was coming in as a rookie seeing the older guys get a couple of plays off here and there. The Lord let me be able to play this long to see that come to fruition for myself, so it's cool to be able to see that. Just do what I've got to do to get my conditioning and get the reps that I need to do and just help coach. Pretty much, I'm just proud to see those guys thriving and achieving so far."

When Hawkins lines up outside, Jackson is taking some snaps in the slot, a relatively new position for him.

"I don't mind," Jackson said. "It's all about helping the team at the end of the day. Seeing where you can be put and placed and just do different things. As a guy who's been doing well, he's getting the opportunity to get reps at corner, I don't mind that at all. It just lets me hone in on my craft and just make sure I'm doing what I can do in my reps when I go in at the slot. I'm just trying to make myself more valuable and versatile."

How would he feel if the slot became his permanent position?

"If it's to help the team, if it's for the betterment of the team, I'm for that," Jackson said.

Martindale said evaluating players at different positions is part of doing business.

"We're doing all kinds of different combinations and a lot of it is we wanted to get Tre with the ones to see how he handled that, and he's handled that well," Martindale said. "There's a lot of competition out there, at all the spots."

Darnay Holmes and Cor'Dale Flott were considered the top contenders at the nickel corner. Now Jackson has perhaps joined the competition.

"I did it before in college, I did it in high school, (and) I did it a little bit in the league, when I was in Tennessee," Jackson said of his experience in the slot. "I wouldn't say I played there a lot but at the end of the day, I feel like just playing football if you know the scheme and what the defense is, if you know what your leverage is and know what you need to do, you just play to the strengths of the call and you figure out where to go from there.

"Knowing the game and understanding it and being able to – Rome, when we meet, talking about formations, splits, the personnel, who is what, (and) who is where. So, always having that to play on when I'm out there on the field. Then, just being able to talk to the guys (and) having (Buccaneers safety) Logan Ryan before and playing in the nickel position and learning things from him was pretty cool to have. I think that helps me a lot to just keep being able to play the game the way I want to play it."

While shifting between two positions, Jackson has also been impressed with Hawkins.

"(He is) comfortable, poised," Jackson said. "Doing what he does and what got him here. So, just playing his game and not being scared of the competition or shying away from it."

Now that he's getting first-team reps, has Hawkins altered his goals to be a starter when the Giants open their regular season against Dallas on Sept. 10?

"I'm going to keep my goals to myself at the moment," he said. "I'm just trying to take it day-by-day and just compete every day."

He took that first step successfully.



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