Cornerback James Bradberry joins the Giants in the prime of his career. He turns 27 in August after spending the first four years of his career with the Carolina Panthers. He was originally a second round draft pick (62nd overall) in 2016, the year the Panthers lost in Super Bowl 50 to the Denver Broncos.
Bradberry started all 60 of the games he played in as a Panther, and missed only one game due to injury in the last three seasons. He is a physical cornerback at 6-1 and 212 pounds, and uses his strength effectively in press coverage at the line of scrimmage and when he tackles.
Bradberry's peripheral numbers have been remarkably consistent over the course of his career. According to Pro Football Focus (PFF), he has allowed 243 catches on 424 targets (57% completions) for 3,145 yards and 14 touchdowns. He has eight interceptions and 65 forced incompletions. He has committed 23 penalties in four seasons, but only five have been accepted.
According to PFF, Bradberry has 114 snaps playing nickel cornerback. He has taken 2,716 snaps at left outside cornerback, and 970 at right outside cornerback. Left cornerback is his usual position but against specific opponents he will follow their best receiver to the other side the field.
Last season, DeAndre Baker played 787 of his snaps at right cornerback. If Baker and Bradberry earn starting jobs with the new coaching staff, their experience playing opposite sides of the field seem to complement each other well.
Watching Bradberry's tape from last season, he was asked to play a variety of coverages and techniques and showed he could do what was asked of him in a multiple situations. He is a very smart and anticipates what his opponents are trying to do against him.
On this play, he is lined up in off-coverage against Robert Woods and anticipates his route after seeing Jared Goff rolling out toward his sideline. Even though Woods tries to sell an inside move at the top of the route, Braderry knows that the play would not be designed for Goff to throw all the way across his body to the left side of the field while rolling right. Bradberry also understands he has help from a single high safety in the middle of the field. He breaks outside before Woods does. He picks up the ball in the air and knocks it away to prevent a potential big play.
Our next play again shows Bradberry in off-coverage against emerging receiver D.J. Chark, who comes in motion to Bradberry's side and he immediately understands that Chark is his responsibility since the defensive back trailing him is late coming across the field, and Chark runs the route farthest outside. Bradberry sees the quarterback looking and moving to the left at the snap. He anticipates Chark going across the middle to where the quarterback is moving, and closes quickly from off-coverage and knocks the pass away without committing a pass interference penalty. There are a number of different occasions on tape where Bradberry successfully closes on deep in-cuts and crossing routes to knock passes away.
Here's another example of Bradberry getting in front of a receiver to knock a pass away. This time, he is lined up in press-man coverage. Even though he fails to disrupt Keesean Johnson at the line of scrimmage, he closes quickly on the slant and knocks the ball away.
Bradberry is best in outside coverage when he keeps his man in front of him, and avoids trail technique on deep passes down the field. Here, he stays on top of Gerald Everett, picks up the ball in the air and high-points it to keep it away from the taller receiver.
The Panthers often used Bradberry to follow the opponent's top receiver around the field when they were bigger and of the more physical variety. In 2019, he did it at different times against Mike Evans, Julio Jones, DeAndre Hopkins and Michael Thomas. On this play, he followed Thomas to the right side of the field in press-coverage, and trails him across the field on a crossing route. Thomas gets some separation but Bradberry dives with an extended arm to help force an incompletion with the help of his safety, who puts a big hit on Thomas.
Bradberry played his best coverage in press when he was physical at the snap. He follows Mike Evans to the right side of the field in press-man with no safety help over the top. He forces Evans to the sideline and slows his momentum with a two-handed punch inside of five yards beyond the line of scrimmage. It disrupts the play and prevents a jump-ball completion to one of the best contested-catch receivers in the league.
The final play shows Bradberry lined up over Evans in off-zone coverage. He drops outside of Evans at the snap and makes Jameis Winston think he is moving to cover tight end Cameron Brate running towards the sideline. As Winston moves to deliver the throw, Bradberry anticipates his target and jumps the route for the interception.
Bradberry was a staple for the Panthers on their punt return and field goal block teams.