A year ago, the New York Giants loaded up on cornerbacks, signing Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie to start, Walter Thurmond to play the nickel, Zack Bowman to back up and teach everyone how to force turnovers ... It was a clear organizational effort to make sure they had more than enough depth at a crucial position.
Obviously, it didn't work. Thurmond got hurt, as did starter Prince Amukamara and Trumaine McBride (pictured), who was Thurmond's principal backup at the nickel spot. The Giants were signing cornerbacks off of other teams' practice squads in November and December, just trying to piece it together and field a full defense.
This year, they don't look as deep on paper at cornerback as they did last year. Thurmond signed with the Eagles. Bowman signed with the Dolphins. The Giants didn't sign a cornerback in free agency and didn't draft one.
So while Amukamara is back from his injury and set to start alongside Rodgers-Cromartie, there are questions after that in the Giants' cornerback rotation, most significantly at that nickel position.
"That's one we're trying to feel through, to be honest with you," defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo said last weekend. "You'll probably see, as we go through the [organized team activities], that there'll be a number of guys working in and out of there. So I'm not sure I have an answer for that right now. There were some guys who did it a little bit last year and some guys that we added."
Spagnuolo mentioned McBride as one of the guys who had done it last season, and if he's healthy I would think he'd get the first crack at it. The coaching staff loves the way McBride has worked and dedicated himself since they brought him on board in 2013, and he's consistently outperformed expectations.
Spagnuolo also mentioned Mike Harris, who played for the Giants down the stretch last season, and Josh Gordy, who signed last month and has been labeled a safety by GM Jerry Reese. He did not mention 2012 third-round pick Jayron Hosley, who is this offseason's winner of the "My gosh, he's still on the team?" award. Hosley's obviously been a major disappointment thanks to injuries, a drug suspension and an inability to perform up to expectations when given on-field opportunities. But it appears he'll get one more chance in this camp to show what he can do, and the lack of depth at cornerback relative to last year's camp could offer him a chance to earn some more work.
Just one of many defensive questions the Giants will look to answer this offseason.