Entering the 2019 NFL Draft with a 4th round projection, the New York Giants managed to grab cornerback Corey Ballentine in the 6th. The Washburn product has solid NFL talent – speed, strength, and length.
Ballentine was in a shooting incident immediately after being drafted – he was forced out for a few weeks but has since returned with a full bill of health.
An explosive, NFL-caliber athlete, Corey is quick in space and can mirror routes against talented receivers. His long arms dangle like ivy, a trait that will help him defend passes. I anticipate he will act as a special team player to begin his career at the professional level.
— NY Giants BR 🤦🏻♂️ (@NYGiantsports) May 6, 2019
The Giants’ special teams unit took a massive jump in efficiency last season – leaping from a 32nd rank to 12th (2017–>18). Ballentine’s trip to the Senior Bowl gave general manager Dave Gettleman a good idea of how well he can cover more talented receivers, something that was a question mark while at Washburn.
The most exciting thing about the rookie corner is that his intangibles match his tangible skills in terms of quality. He has a high-class character and will be a great locker room addition. His work ethic on the field matches his efforts in the class-room, an underrated factor.
He will pick up the defensive schemes quickly and adapt to the level of play he will face in the NFL. However, there’s still plenty of room for growth. He needs to further develop his instincts and awareness around the ball, something he has struggled with in press-coverage. He’s far better on off-ball coverage — he will need to work on that deficiency to stand up against better pass catchers.
I don’t anticipate Ballentine making an impact as a corner in 2019 but rather on the special teams. I do think he can develop to a point where he can be useful in the secondary if injuries being to hit.