The New York Giants might or might not have a vacancy at their second outside cornerback position. Second-year cornerback DeAndre Baker has found himself in quite a bit of legal trouble this offseason. Baker currently has eight felony chargers hanging overhead and has been placed on the NFL’s commissioner’s exempt list. He is not allowed to participate in the Giants’ training camp and, day by day, it looks less and less likely that we will see DeAndre play another game in a Giants uniform.
DeAndre Baker’s absence leaves a huge hole in the Giants’ secondary. New York signed James Bradberry this offseason as their primary outside cornerback. But the expectation was for DeAndre Baker to be the team’s second outside cornerback. If DeAndre is indeed done as a Giant, they will need to find someone else to play that position. There are numerous options on the roster to fill that role: Corey Ballentine, Julian Love, and Sam Beal. But the most intriguing option is the most unlikely.
Jabrill Peppers As CB2?
The Giants’ secondary has a trio of young, talented safeties: Julian Love, Xavier McKinney, and Jabrill Peppers. Last season, Jabrill Peppers was arguably the best player on the Giants’ defense. The hard-hitting strong safety was a playmaker for the team in the eleven games he played. But could Peppers undergo a position change this year and fill the Giants’ second cornerback position?
This is one of many topics that we discussed in this week’s episode of Fireside Giants. You can find all the links to watch or listen to this week’s episode HERE.
Jabrill Peppers = Stephon Gilmore?
Is that just Jabrill’s trainer gassing him up, or is Peppers ready to make the transition to cornerback?
What do you think? Is Jabrill Peppers our best option at CB2?
— Anthony Rivardo (@Anthony_Rivardo) August 1, 2020
In an interview with the NY Post last week, Jabrill Peppers’s trainer, Brian Walker, threw out the idea of Peppers playing cornerback in 2020. According to Ryan Dunleavy of the NY Post, Walker “thinks cornerback could be Peppers’ best NFL position.” Walker compared Peppers to the likes of Stephon Gilmore and Byron Jones:
“You could see him with a Gilmore — same shape, same body — where he could lock down a half [of the field],” Walker said. “This staff is used to having really good, really strong cornerbacks. Personally, I feel like he could make the jump like Jones. Both athletic guys. They just needed more time to develop in terms of technique.” – Brian Walker via the NY Post
Jabrill Peppers was excellent in run-support for the Giants last season. He totaled 76 combined tackles, 5 tackles for loss, and 3 forced fumbles in 11 games in 2019. Moving him to cornerback would diminish this facet of his game. But what if he could make that transition? Having a strong cornerback like Jabrill Peppers on the outside could be exactly what the Giants need.
Peppers has been a bit inconsistent in coverage throughout his career. However, Brian Walker also mentioned that Jabrill Peppers has improved his speed and athleticism this offseason:
“He looks like he did as a [New Jersey] state champion sprinter,” trainer Brian Walker told The Post. “Movement-wise, he looks free. He’s maintained that speed and strength, even though he is leaning up.” – Brian Walker via the NY Post
Jabrill Peppers is an ideal strong safety. But he might provide more value to the team if he can be an ideal outside cornerback. At the very least, the Giants should give Jabrill some reps at outside cornerback in training camp and see how he fares. Jabrill Peppers could be exactly what the Giants’ defense needs.
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