Giants 2024 Position Breakdown: Deonte Banks' time to shine among the cornerbacks

The Giants are coming off a disappointing 6-11 season, looking to again resemble the team that won a playoff game in Minnesota two years ago.

In this series, we’ll break down the depth chart for every position group heading into the 2024 season. This time, we’ll go in-depth at the cornerback group…

Projected depth chart

Starters: Deonte Banks, Cordale Flott, Dru Phillips (slot)

Key Backups: Darnay Holmes, Nick McCloud, Tre Hawkins, Aaron Robinson

Key additions/losses: Adoree' Jackson currently a free agent, drafted Phillips in second round, re-signed Holmes.

Top Performer in 2023: Banks, with two interceptions, 11 pass break-ups

What Giants’ corners have going for them

With veteran Adoree' Jackson no longer on the roster, the Giants cornerback group has a new leader of the bunch in Banks. That may sound like a lot of pressure for the second-year pro, but Banks proved as a rookie that he is more than ready for the NFL spotlight.

The Giants took Banks with the 24th overall pick last year, and he had a strong rookie campaign with two interceptions, 11 pass break-ups and two tackles for loss, starting in 15 games. Banks has all the tools that teams look for in a corner, including physicality and quick-twitch movement skills, and he certainly seems to have the mindset to be a shutdown corner.

Banks just turned 23 in March, and while he may not have the league-wide recognition that he deserves, the 2024 season could see Banks turn into a star.

Key concern for 2024: Can Flott play outside?

While Banks has one of the outside corner spots locked down, the other side of the field may be up for grabs. The leader in the clubhouse appears to be Flott, a third-round pick in 2022 who has played well during his two seasons with Big Blue.

The big issue with Flott, though, is that he has played primarily in the slot with the Giants. Now with rookie draft pick Dru Phillips likely to slide inside as a potential starter at nickel, Flott will likely be a starter on the outside. McCloud and Hawkins could also be options to start outside, but the Giants are probably hoping Flott can make a smooth transition.

New York Giants cornerback Cor'Dale Flott (28) makes sure Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Julio Jones (80) does not complete a second quarter pass

Player who must step up in 2024: Flott

As mentioned, Flott is going to have a lot of pressure on him if he does indeed move outside the numbers. While nickel corners often have to deal with shiftier, quicker receivers in the slot, the outside cornerback spot would mean that Flott could see bigger, more physical receivers lined up against him.

If Flott doesn't match up well on the outside, defensive coordinator Shane Bowen will have a lot of re-arranging to do, which is not ideal when facing high-powered offenses.

Biggest camp battle: Phillips vs. Holmes

The Giants drafted Holmes in 2020 and hoped he would find a home in the slot at nickel. But his role has declined over his four pro seasons, and while he had two interceptions last season, there was uncertainty if he would be back for 2024. The Giants did re-sign him, and there's a chance he gets back in the starting lineup, but the hope is that rookie second-round pick Dru Phillips can win the job.

A third-round pick out of Kentucky, Phillips has said the he feels more comfortable playing nickel, and he probably has an inside edge to being the starter.

Overall 2024 outlook

The Giants have a young cornerback group, with expected starters Banks, Flott, and Phillips all 23 or younger. That can be a good thing, as the Giants will have fresh legs and should theoretically be able to run with an receivers corps. It can also be a bad thing, as opposing offensive coordinators may look to take advantage of a somewhat inexperienced group.

With Banks leading the way, it's fair for Giants fans to feel optimistic. But there are still question marks with Flott likely moving outside and a rookie in Phillips potentially starting in the slot.