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Giants Now: Ranking NFL's top cornerbacks of 2021


DeAngelo Hall names James Bradberry among top CBs of 2021

James Bradberry is coming off his strongest season in the NFL, so it is no wonder he is earning recognition from news outlets across the country.

Pro Football Focus recently ranked Bradberry as the No. 5 cornerback in the league, while his presence in Big Blue's defensive backfield helped the Giants earn the No. 7 spot on the analytics site's list of top secondaries. Super Bowl champion and NFL Network analyst Shaun O'Hara also recently called the 27-year-old the NFL's most underappreciated CB.

Now another former player is singing the praises of the Giants' dominant corner. Three-time Pro Bowl defensive back and NFL Network analyst DeAngelo Hall joined 'NFL Total Access' to rank his top five cornerbacks heading into the 2021 season, and following Bradberry's successful Pro Bowl campaign, it should come as no surprise to see him land at No. 3 on Hall's list.

"When James Bradberry went and moved to the Giants and was able to play a lot more man to man coverage, he really showed me that he is an elite [corner] in this league," Hall said. "I got to see him twice a year ago against Terry McLaurin, who I think is a dog, and James Bradberry rose to the occasion every single time. He makes my list at three."

Bradberry started 15 games last season and was on the field for at least 96 percent of defensive snaps in each one. The only game he missed was due to his placement on the Reserve/COVID-19 list after he was deemed to be a high-risk, close contact of an individual who tested positive.

The Pro Bowl corner matched his career-best mark of three interceptions, while setting new career-highs in passes defended (18), forced fumbles (two) and fumble recoveries (one). Bradberry's 18 pass breakups were two short of Miami's Xavien Howard for the most in the league.

The Giants finished the year ranked ninth in points and 12th in yards allowed, while their 22 passing touchdowns surrendered tied for the fifth-fewest in the league.

Bradberry joined Hall and NFL Network's MJ Acosta-Ruiz on 'NFL Total Access' to share his reaction to making Hall's list of top corners and to discuss his Pro Bowl 2020 campaign, which can be found in the video below.

Mailbag: Outlook for 2021 Giants

Nicholas in New Jersey: What would be considered a successful 2021 season for the Giants if they don't make the playoffs?

John Schmeelk: This is a good question because the Giants could finish with 9-10 wins but miss the playoffs due to division or conference tiebreakers. If that happens, it certainly wouldn't be considered a poor season. Rather than putting a win total on the team, there are a few things to keep an eye on that could point the franchise in the right direction.

1. Daniel Jones taking the next step: Heading into his third season, Jones needs to show more signs of putting it all together. He had a productive first season with some highs and lows that featured some big games but also a lot of turnovers. His second season featured fewer mistakes, improved efficiency, but a dip in overall production, especially touchdowns. In his third season, it is time to combine the improved efficiency and reduced turnovers from his second season with the explosive production of his rookie year.

2. The offensive line coming together: The Giants have a young offensive line group that will have to show individual and group improvement to get better and give the offense a chance to take the next step. If there is a measure of improvement from the young players on the offensive line, it likely means this group gets the chance to continue growing rather than going through another re-tooling.

3. Saquon Barkley: After this season, Barkley will be heading into the fifth-year option of his rookie deal. How he recovers from his knee injury and whether he can avoid injuries after two straight years of missing games between ankle and knee injuries will be illuminating.

4. Pass rush: Can the Giants find consistent pass rushers? There are multiple facets to this. Can Leonard Williams come close to repeating his 2020 success? Will someone on the edge step out of the muddle and emerge as a legitimate difference maker? If they can, it will bode very well for this defense moving forward.

5. Continued development: This is overly vague, but the improvement of the players on their rookie contracts is essential. With the Giants being very aggressive in free agency this off-season, they will need their cost-controlled players to step up and fill in the gaps between the veterans on the roster.

All of these factors will not only impact the future, but also determine how successful the Giants are in 2021.

Ryan in New York: With all the off-season additions, what's a logical prediction for the Giants in the NFC East?

John Schmeelk: You won't find numerical predictions here. But when you compare the Giants' roster with the others in the NFC East, their talent ranks right there with the other teams in the division. There are very strong arguments to be made for the Cowboys (Dak Prescott and their explosive offense), Washington (an elite defense and Ryan Fitzpatrick in the mix) and the Giants to win the division. If Jalen Hurts plays high level football, the Eagles could be in the mix, too. Expect it to be a division that goes down to the final weeks.

View photos of the New York Giants' active 53-man roster as it currently stands.

Photos: James Bradberry's Pro Bowl season

Check out the gallery below to view photos of Pro Bowl cornerback James Bradberry in his first season with the Giants.

View photos of Pro Bowl cornerback James Bradberry during his time with the Giants.

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