Last season, the New York Giants almost certainly ran more three-safety looks than any other defense; it was a way to spackle over depth issues among the team's cornerbacks, and keep coverage at a fairly high level. It worked, and the G-men finished third in Football Outsiders' defense-adjusted efficiency rankings for pass defense.
But when Nebraska cornerback Prince Amukamara dropped to the 19th overall pick despite his projected status as a top-ten prospect, there was no way the Giants could refuse. Amukamara will lapse in coverage at times, but he's as physically talented as any young cornerback in the league.
And that's why his recent foot injury, in which he fractured the fifth metatarsal bone in his left foot, could be a real hit for the Giants. There's no timetable for his return at this point — sports injury guru Will Carroll has hypothesized that he could miss at least three weeks — and when he does return, you can expect that he'll have some trouble cutting and trailing on the field.
"I was in press coverage and the receiver just stopped and I stopped with him and I just came out of the cut and I don't know if he stepped on my foot or anything like that," Amukamara recently explained to the media. He was covering receiver Duke Calhoun in a one-on-one drill when the injury happened. "What was funny about it was that we repeated that drill like five times right before I had to do it live on the receiver and there was no problem. It was just one of those random injuries."
"I feel like I let the team down and myself down, but I can't worry about that too much. I just have to continue to move forward and continue to persevere. I just have to use that as motivation."
As I found out when I interviewed him a few months back (part one here; part two here). Amukamara is not short on motivation. If anyone can get past this injury sooner than later, he's a good one to bet on.
If you'd like, you can read the Shutdown 40 scouting report on Amukamara, as well.