Thurmond: Giants DBs can be best

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Walter Thurmond did not waste any time making bold statements about his new team, the New York Giants.

Last season Thurmond was a member of the "Legion of Boom," the Seattle secondary that propelled the Seahawks to the Super Bowl. But Thurmond says the Giants' secondary, which he is now a member of, is at least as good.

"Oh most, definitely, if not better, in my opinion," Thurmond said. "The cornerbacks, and the whole defensive backfield at the end of the day."

As for himself, Thurmond was asked where he ranks among slot cornerbacks in the NFL.

"I'm the best slot corner in the league," Thurmond said. "I'll say that, for sure."

Thurmond was one of about 20 Giants made available to the media Tuesday for the first time this offseason, on the second day of the team's voluntary workout program. He made the boldest remarks, but several other defensive players sounded brimming with confidence as the team begins preparing for next season.

"I think we did some great things on the defensive side of the ball. I think we did some good things on the offensive side of the ball, as well," said middle linebacker Jon Beason, one of several players the Giants re-signed. "The pieces that we brought in were smart moves, and it was aggressive, and it still says, [win] right now."

"I love what they've done," said safety Antrel Rolle, one of the Giants' captains. "I think they've made some great moves, some explosive moves, guys that can come in and contribute right away and help this team win."

The offense was the primary culprit in last year's disappointing 7-9 season. The Giants actually gave up the eighth fewest yards per game in the league (332.3), and 10th fewest passing yards (223.3). But they still made several changes to that unit, particularly in the secondary.

The biggest addition was another cornerback, former Arizona Cardinal Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who signed a five-year, $39 million contract back in March. Rolle was teammates with Rodgers-Cromartie for two seasons in Arizona.

"I think he can be the best corner in the league, hands down," Rolle said of Rodgers-Cromartie. "He's a phenomenal talent, one of the most gifted corners I've ever played against, that I've ever seen. The sky's the limit for DRC."

Thurmond, who signed with the Giants prior to Rodgers-Cromartie, is also a valuable piece. He started three games for the Sehawks last season and finished with 24 tackles, one interception and one sack.

"It's a mindset of just being physical and having teams fear you, in a sense -- that was the mindset that we had out [in Seattle], and it came down to our work ethic and the way we prepared each week," Thurmond said. "I think I can bring that aspect, that mentality of competition every day in practice."

The Giants still have cornerback Prince Amukamara, a former first-round draft pick who struggled with injuries his first two years in the NFL but started all 16 games this past season.

Amukamara may be supplanted by Rodgers-Cromartie, in terms of being the Giants' No. 1 cornerback, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.

"There are two sides to that. You can look at it and say, 'This guy can help the team,' or you can say, 'This guy might take my spot,'" Amukamara said. "It's not my job to worry about that. I just have to keep my head down and just keep grinding. But with the guys that we have now, we do have a great group of guys."

The Giants' secondary certainly looks better on paper, but it remains to be seen if that proves true on the field.

"I think it can be a dynamic group," Rolle said. "But we all know that no matter who you have in your unit, if you don't jell, if you don't have that chemistry, if you're not on the same page at the same time, it can be a disaster. So that's what we're here for right now."