There has been a lot of talk about the Giants' secondary this offseason. Which group is the best in the league, and how do the Giants stack up? The Giants.com crew discusses in this edition of Cover 3.
John Schmeelk: The Giants stack up right there with the best of them: Denver (Patrick Surtain II, Kyle Fuller, Bryce Callahan, Ronald Darby at CB with Justin Simmons and Kareem Jackson at safety. All the while being coached by Vic Fangio.); Cleveland ( Denzel Ward, Greedy Williams, Greg Newsome, Troy Hill at CB with John Johnson, Grant Delpit and Ronnie Harrison at safety); Baltimore (Marcus Peters, Marlin Humphrey, Jimmy Smith and Tavon Young at CB with DeShon Elliott and Chuck Clark at safety). The Giants hang right with this group, thanks to their off-season additions. James Bradberry, Adoree' Jackson. Darnay Holmes and Aaron Robinson at corner with Logan Ryan, Jabrill Peppers, Xavier McKinney and Julian Love as the safeties.
What truly sets the Giants' secondary apart is the versatility of their safety group. Their skills and intelligence allow Patrick Graham to mix up and disguise his coverages, and be creative with his play-calling. Other teams might have a greater depth of players that can man-up across the field, but no other team has the versatility of the Giants' secondary.
Dan Salomone: This is a topic that Logan Ryan hasn't shied away from. Earlier this month during OTAs, the versatile veteran said, "I'm looking at just what the best safety rooms in the league look like and hold ourselves to that standard in terms of practicing and working every single day and pushing each other."
Ryan has to look no further than his former division – and much of the AFC – to see some of the top secondaries in the post-Legion of Boom era with the Bills and Patriots stocked with talent complemented by elite defensive coaching. Bu the Rams' numbers speak for themselves. They boasted the No. 1 overall defense in yards, No. 1 overall defense in scoring, and No. 1 defense in fewest passing yards allowed.
Ryan even took it a step further this off-season and looked back at the best secondaries in franchise history to see what he could learn. He reached out to Antrel Rolle, Corey Webster, and Jason Sehorn.
"I said, 'Hey, I want to pick your brain and be great like you. I respect what you have done in the past, can you give me anything?'" Ryan said. "And all those guys were so honored and willing and eager to be a part of our secondary and they were willing and eager to help out. They were thankful that I reached out to try to build the bridge between the current secondary and former greats. I want to be like them and lead those units, and I asked them personally how to be a better leader and a player. I'm an empty cup. They are filling it up, and I just try to relate that and try to teach the history of the franchise to the young guys so we know that our standard is to be one of those secondaries to make the organization and the fan base proud."
Lance Medow: Last season, the Rams finished first against the pass and that unit lost two key players this off-season in safety John Johnson III and corner Troy Hill, who both signed with the Browns. But the team still returns corners Jalen Ramsey and Darious Williams and safeties Jordan Fuller and Taylor Rapp. In addition to the Rams, the Broncos and Chargers belong in the conversation. Denver added veteran corners Kyle Fuller (2-time Pro Bowler) and Ronald Darby as well as rookie Patrick Surtain II to pair with the safety duo of Justin Simmons and Kareem Jackson. The Chargers return safeties Derwin James, who has battled injuries recently, and Nasir Adderley as well as corners Chris Harris Jr and Michael Davis while adding rookie Asante Sameul Jr. What also makes the Chargers attractive is that their head coach is former Rams defensive coordinator Brandon Staley, who boasted the best secondary in the league in 2020. You also can't overlook the Patriots (highlighted by Stephon Gilmore, Devin McCourty), the Bills (Tre'Davious White, Micah Hyde, Jordan Poyer) and Saints (Marson Lattimore, Patrick Robinson, Malcolm Jenkins, Marcus Williams). And the Browns will be one of the most improved units this season, thanks to free agency and first-round pick Greg Newsome. Cleveland also has one of the best corners in the NFL in Denzel Ward, and Greedy Williams, who missed all of 2020 due to injury.
The Giants finished last season 17th against the pass, but that group showed improvement in the second half of the year. The additions of Adoree' Jackson and rookie Aaron Robinson will only strengthen a unit that already has James Bradberry, coming off his first Pro Bowl season as well as veteran safeties Logan Ryan and Jabrill Peppers. Darnay Holmes and Xavier McKinney will be entering their second seasons in the league. McKinney only appeared in six games last season so he's still very much in the developmental phase. New York has a very nice mix of veteran experience and youth with upside but most importantly, the team has depth.
View photos of the Giants' roster as it currently stands.