The New York Giants had one of the best defenses in the NFL in 2021. They allowed just 22.3 points per game and 237.9 yards per game (ESPN). The Giants had a great high school loaded with young talent, mixed with wise and efficient veterans.
One of the Giants’ most talented high school rookies was rookie cornerback Darnay Holmes. Darnay showed a lot of promise in his 2020 rookie campaign, but the Giants still went to the 2021 NFL Draft and added another potential corner-corner starter Aaron Robinson.
Now the Giants have a problem, but a big problem to have. The problem with the Giants is that they have so many talented defensive backs and not enough starting positions to give up. Aaron Robinson and Darnay Holmes are two very talented young corner-backs, but there is only one cornerback position.
Aaron Robinson vs. Darnay Holmes
Giants’ 2020 fourth-round pick Darnay Holmes was an outside cornerback during his college career at UCLA. But he impressed scouts at the Senior Bowl playing cornerback in 2020 and ultimately made the transition to full-time cornerback with the Giants. As a fourth-round pick, Holmes exceeded all expectations in his rookie season.
According to Focus on professional football, Darnay Holmes had the most no-touchdown targets allowed among rookie defensive backs (52). Darnay also added an interception to the stats sheet in his rookie season with 5 defensive passes, 30 combined tackles, 3 pushes and 0.5 sacks. Granted, he wasn’t locked in cover as quarterbacks completed 75% of their passes against him in cover. However, he did manage to keep receivers out of the end zone and had a few ruptures in the end zone.
Darnay Holmes wasn’t perfect in his rookie season, but he showed great potential. New York felt the impact when Darnay missed time with an injury. He’s only played 12 games this season, however, the Giants struggled to cover the slot when Darnay was out.
The Giants traded in the third round of the 2021 NFL Draft to select UCF cornerback Aaron Robinson. The pick initially surprised Giants fans who expected the team to target an offensive lineman in the third round. However, fans quickly changed their mind when they found out what special player the Giants had in Aaron Robinson.
Aaron Robinson is a great choice for the Giants because he has the versatility and physicality they favor. Robinson was effective in college playing both outdoors and indoors, although he is expected to play in the slots primarily with the Giants. Robinson also posted an 80.0+ rating in run defense in his last two college seasons (PFF).
Robinson’s physicality doesn’t just show up in the racing game. ARob also has the ability to play bump-and-run cover. For an inside cornerback, Robinson is impressive when he plays the man of the press. The Giants have focused this offseason on finding press cornerbacks. The Giants are looking to reduce their plan to heavy defense. Aaron Robinson fits the revised scheme Patrick Graham is looking to install perfectly.
Ultimately, while there is only one starting cornerback position to give up, the Giants have two very capable defensive backs who should both see a lot of ground in 2021. Darnay Holmes won. playing time with an excellent rookie season. Aaron Robinson also has the talent to start. Expect to see Patrick Graham get creative while using these two cornerbacks in different ways, putting them both on the pitch as often as possible.