by Spiro Kasabian @nyspawstguy_spi
There are going to be several camp battles that will catch New York Giant fans attention this spring and summer. The battle for the Center position, between Jon Halapio and Spencer Pulley will be interesting. The position battle for the 3rd Wide Receiver spot will be something to watch as well.
However, those two battles do not bring much excitement to fans. The most exciting (and talented) position battle, in my opinion, is the battle for the #2 Cornerback spot between Sam Beal and DeAndre Baker.
Both Beal and Baker were highly coveted by Dave Gettleman. The Giants forfeited their 2019 third-round pick to draft Sam Beal in the 2018 NFL Supplemental Draft. Figuring that the Giants were not going to have a great season in 2018, the Giants put a ton of stock into drafting Beal out of Western Michigan. The Giants believed Beal would have been, at least, a second-round pick had he played in college in 2019 and came out in the subsequent draft.
Gettleman and Co. loved Baker so much that they traded their 37th overall pick, along with a late fourth-round pick and a high fifth-round pick, to Seattle to move back into the first round to take Baker (30th overall). The Giants felt a run on cornerbacks was coming, and they did not want to wait to get the guy they had targeted. In drafting Baker in the first round, the Giants also gained another year of retention with the fifth-year option that all first rounder’s have. The fact that they traded up to get this young man, while already paying Janoris Jenkins a lot of money and drafting Sam Beal, speaks to how much they loved Baker’s talent and athleticism.
- Sam Beal: 24 games; 77 tackles, 2 INT, 19 Passes Defensed
- DeAndre Baker: 36 games; 116 tackles, 7 INT, 23 Passes Defensed
Beal might have a slight head start, having learned the system last year (despite only practicing once before a season-ending shoulder injury). Beal figures to get the first crack at the #2 Cornerback spot next to Janoris Jenkins. Baker has taken several first-team snaps in OTA practices and Mini-Camp and has made plays in just about every practice.
Sam Beal has also flashed this spring, making this battle worth watching. Baker and Beal will make an immediate impact, even if one starts over the other. These cornerbacks have length and athleticism to excel in Press/Man-Coverage, which they will be asked to play a lot of in James Bettcher’s scheme. There will not be bias towards any player, and it will truly be a “let the best man win” scenario.
In 2020 fans will most likely see Baker and Beal starting next to one another.