In this edition of Cover 3, the Giants.com crew talks about which 2020 performance means the most for 2021 (and beyond).
John Schmeelk: James Bradberry. He proved that he can be a dominant corner in a variety of different roles. Although the Giants were a zone-heavy team, he was able to blanket the other team's best wide receiver in man-to-man. He was also able to execute a number of inverted coverages where he had to take on the responsibilities of a safety. His versatility allowed Patrick Graham to disguise and utilize a complicated scheme.
He showed few weaknesses in coverage. Even when he was beaten on plays, he avoided panicking and used his recovery speed to make plays on the ball. Bradberry managed to either get his head around or get his arm between the receiver's hands to prevent the catch without committing pass interference.
Bradberry excelled in off-coverage and used proper technique and film study to drive on the play to prevent easy catches in front of him. He navigated rub routes well at the line of scrimmage. He was a physical tackler and never hesitated. There apparently was never a blown assignment despite the fact he played in different roles all over the field.
It gives a front office and defensive coordinator a huge advantage when they know they don't have to worry about one side of the field in the secondary. Patrick Graham can tailor his scheme any way he wants, knowing Bradberry can handle any coverage, any scheme, and any receiver. Dave Gettleman can focus on filling out the rest of the depth chart in the defensive backfield.
Dan Salomone: Logan Ryan. The New Jersey native found a home, and the Giants made sure he won't be moving anytime soon. On Christmas Day, they gifted the versatile defensive back with a three-year extension through the 2023 season. Ryan, who had previous experience with the coaching staff in New England, became a vocal leader on and off the field. More importantly, he produced.
"You can talk about all the intangibles off the field – they're all very important – but at the end of the day, it's a production business and he's been a productive player for us," head coach Joe Judge said. "The ability to be able to retain him in our program and not only continue to add depth in our defensive backfield, which has become a strength for us throughout this season with a lot of young guys coming up and developing. Look, it was a priority to keep Logan here and really keep that unit strong."
Lance Medow: All scheduled free agents are being removed from consideration because it's impossible to guarantee everyone will return; so, I'll go with James Bradberry. He was the Giants' biggest splash last off-season, providing the team with an immediate return and then some. When you're building a defense, one of the key components is securing a No. 1 corner and Bradberry's performance in 2020 left absolutely no question that he can fulfill that role.
The former second-round pick in 2016 earned his first career Pro Bowl invite, thanks to a strong season across the board. Bradberry set career-highs in passes defensed (18) and forced fumbles (2) while matching a personal-best three interceptions. He led the Giants in passes defensed and interceptions and always seemed to have a knack for getting his hands on the ball. You also can't overlook the fact that he never shied away from matching up with the opposing team's top wide receiver when asked to assume that job. Bradberry's presence provided Patrick Graham flexibility in other areas because of his trust and confidence in the veteran corner's performance, and I don't see that changing next season. Bradberry has always been a solid corner – he just never received the notoriety and recognition.
The Giants hold the 11th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. View photos of notable players selected in that spot.