Pass Rush, not Corners Key to Success

by Craig J. Santucci @NYGiantsRush

As long as I can remember the New York Giants have had average to good defensive backs. This is not a knock on the men who have played cornerback for the Giants, it’s just a bit of a reality check.

Why spend high round draft capital and FA resources on top-rated cornerbacks? The Giants have won 4 SuperBowls with some pretty ordinary, but special guys.

1986: Perry Williams (7th Rd) Mark Collins (2nd Rd)

Neither Collins or Williams ever made it to the Pro Bowl nor did they lead the NFL in any category. In 1989 Collins had 6 picks which tied him for 4th in the NFL. Both were good players who covered the likes of Mike Quick, Tony Hill, Jerry Rice, Dwight Clark, Art Monk & Gary Clark. Collins was a physical tackler who didn’t shy away from contact.

1991:Mark Collins (2nd Rd) Everson Walls (Undrafted/FA)

Everson Walls was a very good player for the Dallas Cowboys. He was a 4x Pro Bowler drafted in 1981. Walls signed with the Giants in 1990, long after his prime. The last time Walls had made a Pro Bowl was 1985. Long after his rookie year Walls was still competing having 10 INT’s over 2 seasons and covering the likes of Andre Reed, James Loften, Don Beebe, Michael Irvin, John Taylor, and Fred Barnett.

2007: Corey Webster (2nd Rd) Aaron Ross (1st Rd) Sam Madison (FA)

Corey Webster did not light the world on fire after being drafted in the 2nd round of 2005. However, Webster had a 2007 playoff run to remember. He had two interceptions, one-off Bucs QB, Jeff Garcia and one off the mighty Brett Farve (HOF). He also shut down Terrell Owens in the NFC Championship Game. Webster was more of a pitch and catch DB. You throw the ball to the wide receiver, Webster lets you catch it uncontested, then tackles you.

The Giants had high hopes for Aaron Ross, the 2006 Jim Thorpe Award winner and the 1st round draft pick. While Ross helped the team win the 2007 Super Bowl, Ross was never considered an elite CB, nor did he ever lead the league in any category or make a Pro Bowl. In 2009 Ross missed most of the season with a hamstring injury and didn’t win his starting job back to 2011 when Terrell Thomas was injured. Ross and Webster covered the likes of Randy Moss, Terrell Owens, Donald Driver, James Jones, Roy Williams, and Calvin Johnson.

Sam Madison was also a very good player drafted by Miami Dolphins in 1997. He signed with the Giants long after his prime in 2006. The last time Sam Madison made a Pro Bowl was 2002 and last time he led the league in INT’s in 1997.

2010/2011: Aaron Ross (1st Rd) Webster ( 2nd Rd) Terrell Thomas (2nd Rd)

Aaron Ross, Terrell Thomas, and Cory Webster were all good cornerbacks in 2010 and leading up to the Superbowl in 2011. It was another magical season for some lunch pail guys who just made sure they didn’t give up the long pass too often.

The Pass Rush Wins:

What did all these teams did have in common? Nice cornerbacks. Bad Ass Pass Rushers, linebackers, and Defensive Ends.

Dynamic, game-changing pass rushers: Lawrence Taylor, Carl Banks, Jim Burt, George Martin, Keith Hamilton, Lenoard Marshall, Jessie Armstead, Michael Strahan, Osi Umenyiora, Kiwanuka, and Jason Pierre Paul. It wasn’t about pressures, it was about stopping the run, sacking the QB, forcing fumbles and having a team game plan for you.

So the Giants can draft Will Allen and Will Peterson or Baker and Beal and sign Jenkins at the height of his career all they want. Workmanlike cornerbacks are enough if you have a pass rush.

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