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Giants Now: Tyler Nubin, Dru Phillips primed for 'potential year-one impact'


PFF, ESPN praise Giants' rookie additions in secondary

After selecting wide receiver Malik Nabers with the sixth overall pick, the Giants made back-to-back picks to boost the secondary on Day 2 of last month's NFL Draft.

Minnesota safety Tyler Nubin was taken with the 47th overall pick in the second round, while Kentucky cornerback Dru Phillips was drafted 23 picks later at No. 70.

Members of the media believe both rookies could have an immediate impact on the Giants' defense.

Pro Football Focus' Trevor Sikkema recently broke down the most improved secondaries across the NFL following the 2024 draft, in which he named the Giants among the top 5.

"Though the Giants made only two secondary selections, they targeted players who fit their scheme for a potential year-one impact," wrote Sikkema. "Nubin is a solid safety, one the Giants needed after losing Xavier McKinney in free agency. Nubin can play both free and strong safety, though he is best as a strong safety in robber coverage roles over the middle.

"Phillips to the Giants was one of my favorite prospect-team fits of any selection in the draft. His press-man coverage style fits perfectly with New York's 2023 first-round pick, Deonte Banks. Now they can get even more aggressive to play Cover 1, Cover 0 or 2-Man."

See all the action from spring practices at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center.

Nubin played in 55 games for Minnesota and set a program-record with his 13 interceptions, including 12 across the last three years, and also registered over 50 total tackles in each of the last three seasons.

PFF awarded Nubin a 90.1 coverage grade in 2023, which was the highest mark among all Power Five safeties. He also held opposing quarterbacks to a 39.6 passer rating last season.

The 6-foot-1, 199-pound safety was named Second-Team All-American and First-Team All-Big Ten for his 2023 performance. His five interceptions that season were tied for the sixth-most in the FBS.

Sikkema wasn't the only analyst to discuss Nubin's potential impact as a rookie. ESPN's Field Yates recently ranked the top 10 non-round 1 rookies on both sides of the ball that could play a big role in 2024. Landing at No. 2 on the defensive list was the Giants' rookie safety.

"Following the departure of safety Xavier McKinney to Green Bay, the Giants had a major need to add an impact safety in the draft,"wrote Yates. "Enter Nubin, a football magnet with incredible ball skills, field vision and instincts. He picked off 13 passes in college, including five last season."

As for Philips, the former Wildcat cornerback declared for the NFL Draft following a junior campaign in which he started in 12 games and registered 47 tackles with 1.5 tackles for loss and five pass breakups, which ranked second on the team.

He was a three-year letterman who played in 38 career games with 16 starts for Kentucky and totaled 82 tackles along with 10 pass breakups and 3.0 tackles for loss.

Another one of Sikkema's colleagues at Pro Football Focus shared in the draft analyst's praise of Phillips' fit with the Giants.

"The Giants needed cornerback help opposite Deonte Banks, and they got it in the form of Phillips," wrote PFF's Bradley Locker. "The 70th overall pick saw 57 targets a season ago, the fourth-most in the SEC, but he surrendered only 38 catches. He tied for 10th among all FBS corners with 23 defensive stops. Although Giants cornerback Nick McCloud played well last year, earning a 74.8 overall grade and 80.7 coverage grade, he played just 312 snaps. As a result, Phillips could be in for a bigger share of responsibilities right away, largely because of how few bodies can man the outside for the Giants."

View photos of the 2024 class reporting for rookie minicamp at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center.

View photos of the New York Giants' 2024 active roster as it currently stands.

To commemorate their 100th season, the New York Giants today unveiled a "Century Red" uniform, which the team will wear for up to two games in 2024.