The Giants’ offseason has been eventful to say the least.
Landon Collins was allowed to walk into free agency, and is now circling his calendar twice for the next six years with the Redskins for his revenge tour. Odell Beckham Jr. is now a Brown in what was the most surprising trade of the year. And Olivier Vernon joined him in a not-so-surprising trade to Cleveland.
All of this came after GM Dave Gettleman traded Eli Apple and Damon “Snacks” Harrison to the Saints and Lions respectively before the trade deadline last season. There is one Giant, though, that survived through the roster carnage.
Janoris Jenkins, the Giants’ veteran cornerback, is still making his way to Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford for OTAs this summer. But he is seeing some new faces in his cornerbacks room — young ones.
The Giants went out and drafted three new cornerbacks back in April, including a trade back into the first round to nab Georgia’s Deandre Baker. Add in Sam Beal — the team’s supplemental round draft pick last season that had to undergo shoulder surgery in his rookie year — and Jenkins has a few “puppies” to train, as Gettleman put it.
He’s up for the challenge.
“I’m embracing it, as far as being the leader of the room,” Jenkins said Monday. “Just lead the young guys the best way I can, and show them how to be a pro.”
And how will “Jackrabbit” do that?
“Just lead by example,” he explained. “Go out, work hard, compete on the ball and finish, and just come out and work every day.”
In the first few interactions on and off the field, Jenkins has noticed his young teammates are “locked in,” which is what a team wants to see from players transitioning to the highest level. Jenkins has already seen what Beal can do on the field, though it was only a short time before his injury.
Beal will likely be opposite him when Week 1 rolls around, and Jenkins is excited to see what that tandem will look like.
“So far, he’s picked up everything,” Jenkins said of Beal. “He came in doing what he has to do. I can tell he studied the playbook over the offseason. I’m just excited to work with him.”
Jenkins is also excited to get back to his old self in between the hashes. After a Pro Bowl season in his first year with the Giants, Jenkins had a down season in 2018. After battling through an ankle injury, he could never really return to full strength, and that hurt his play.
Though the Giants saw spurts of the Jenkins they trusted in giving a five-year, $62.5 million deal to, it was consistent. That is what he wants to see this season from himself.
“Yeah, it was up and down,” Jenkins said. “I came in with an injury. I had a little injury. It took me like game eight to really feel like myself again. From there, I’ve just been on point.”
When asked if he was 100 percent healthy, the witty and confident Jenkins said “110 percent.” But Jenkins’ success on the field has always come from confidence. And after watching the Giants cut ties with the aforementioned core players, he’ll need to play with confidence this season if he wishes to stay in New York.
Because the 30-year-old has eager competition waiting behind him, the same ones that he is expected to mentor this season. But he isn’t looking at things that way. Instead he’s just as eager to take on the new year with the neophytes, as he knows teams will be trying to throw to his island as well as the rookies.
“I’m ready, but I always have to be prepared on my side,” he said. “I can’t just say the ball is going to go to the young guys because I had an up-and-down season last year. I just have to do what I have to do and hopefully they spread it around.”