Darnay Holmes makes PFF's list of impressive rookie camp performances
The Giants selected the UCLA corner in the fourth round (110th overall) of this year's draft, adding him to a deep group of young corners on the roster.
Holmes had an impressive three-year career with the Bruins. As a freshman, he started 11 of 13 games and led the team with three interceptions, including returned for a touchdown. Holmes started all 12 games the following season and again paced the team with three interceptions, and two forced fumbles. He added 48 tackles (36 solo), one tackle for a loss, six passes defended and one fumble return.
As a junior last year, Holmes led UCLA in interceptions for the third consecutive season, picking off two passes in 10 starts. He was named All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention in 2018-19.
Pro Football Focus took a look at the rookies making waves during their first NFL training camp, and Holmes was one of a few cornerbacks to make the list.
As Renner writes, "According to John Schmeelk of Giants.com, Holmes 'was probably the most productive player in the entire defensive backfield during training camp.' The former UCLA cornerback fell to the fourth round because of his size (5-foot-10, 195 pounds), but we liked him as one of the top slot corner options in the draft. He finished ranked 86th on PFF's draft board despite an injury-plagued junior campaign that saw him earn only a 61.8 coverage grade.
"Holmes was very much an up-and-down player at UCLA, but his high-end reps were fantastic. With eight pass breakups in his sophomore campaign, he earned a 78.7 coverage grade while showing what he was truly capable of. Holmes picked off passes that season while guarding two first-round receivers in N'Keal Harry and Marquise Brown."
The Giants released their first unofficial depth chart on Monday. Holmes was listed as the primary kick returner after enjoying some success as a returner at UCLA.
As a freshman, he returned 33 kickoffs for 715 yards (21.7 avg.), finishing fourth in the conference in kickoff return yards. He returned just four kickoffs as a sophomore, but one went for a 93-yard TD.
Notebook: Logan Ryan happy to be home with Giants
Logan Ryan's wife and two children are in Nashville, where he played the last three seasons for the Tennessee Titans. After agreeing to contract terms last week with the Giants, Ryan returned to New Jersey, his native state. Soon after his arrival, he went to see his mother, who lives about an hour south of MetLife Stadium. But the visit was briefer than he anticipated. "She's scared to death of the sun right now because of COVID," Ryan said today. "I got to see her for a half hour."
After that, he said, it was "right back to the film."
With his family far away, a defense to learn and new teammates to become familiar with, the eight-year defensive back has immersed himself in football.
"With COVID testing and all that, I begged for an iPad, they gave me one," Ryan said today. "I've been studying film about 20 hours a day, a variety of positions. … I'm up here by myself. I have nothing to do but watch a ton of film and start preparing for the Steelers (whom the Giants face in their season opener next Monday night). Lack of film won't be an issue for me. I'm going to do everything I can preparation wise.
"Luckily, I have played for Pat Graham, I've played for Joe Judge before (when they were together with the New England Patriots). It's a system that I'm familiar with. I played in the system before in my career, so I think that helped me a little bit with the terminology and things of that nature."
Ryan brings to the Giants skill, experience and versatility. The latter is perhaps best exemplified by the fact that he is listed as a second-team safety on the team's initial depth chart. In one respect that's not surprising, because Ryan has played numerous positions. But every one of his 95 NFL regular-season and postseason starts has been at cornerback for as an extra defensive back.
"I think the evolution is to be a DB and study all the positions and the arts of it," Ryan said. "I played perimeter corner a lot in my career and obviously played the slot position, safety. It's a part of my game and whatever the team needs me to do from week to week. I think it gives us great versatility with myself, Jabrill Peppers. Julian Love is a former corner playing safety. I think that gives us position flexibility. Honestly, this is a matchup league. This isn't 1980's football where you go out there and you have four positions, you run a four-three which is two safeties and two corners. I think the game is evolving a little bit and I think the more positions flexibility you have, I think it gives you the ability to do more stuff on defense.
"I'm 100 percent prepared to and learning all the positions for sure. Where I line up from week to week will definitely be G-5 classified, team first, Joe Judge will tell you later type of answer. I'm prepared, I played outside corner a lot of years in this league. I started at outside corner in the Super Bowl before. I've had experience at it, I played outside corner at Rutgers for four years right down the road, so I definitely have experience at the position for sure. If the team asked me to play that, I'll definitely do that."
Giants release first unofficial depth chart of 2020
The New York Giants have released their first depth chart ahead of Monday night's season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers. As always, it is subject to change. It simply serves as a guide, more so for the media than the coaches.
"Everything in our program, I wouldn't say anything is ever in concrete," coach Joe Judge said last week. "We're very clear to our players, it's a production business. It's week by week. It's whoever's playing the best at that time, whoever gives us the best chance for a game plan matchup against an opponent, that's who we're going to play."
View photos of the Giants' active roster as it currently stands.