Young corner Jarren Williams developing in Giants’ secondary

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • James Bradberry
    James Bradberry
    LiveTodayTomorrowvs--|
  • Logan Ryan
    Logan Ryan
    LiveTodayTomorrowvs--|
  • Xavier McKinney
    American football safety
  • Jarren Williams
    American football quarterback

Young Giants corner Jarren Williams was impressive in his first NFL start against the Dallas Cowboys last Sunday, playing outside corner against one of the league’s top receiving corps in his fifth career game.

Williams, 24, credited the high standards of teammates James Bradberry, Logan Ryan and Xavier McKinney for his ability to look and play like he belonged.

“It’s just preparation and the confidence of being out there with JB, Log and Zay,” Williams said Wednesday. “Being out there with players of that caliber, I’ve gotta play up to their level, as well. Mentally I didn’t want to be the odd ball out, you know? I wanted to stand out and show that I belonged with guys like that.”

Williams stepped into the opportunity because corners Adoree Jackson and Aaron Robinson were on the COVID-19 reserve list. He responded by allowing three catches on five targets and 40 coverage snaps for a total of 16 yards, per Pro Football Focus. He made a pass breakup and five tackles and played a career-high 70 defensive snaps.

The Giants lost the game, 21-6, but the defense didn’t allow a Cowboys touchdown drive longer than 29 yards. Williams had just played his first defensive snaps in the slot two weeks prior against the Miami Dolphins, and his previous high workload had been 25 snaps.

“I thought J-Will stepped in there and competed,” defensive coordinator Pat Graham said Thursday. “I think he showed his physicality out there. That’s something that we liked about him.”

Williams has been patient. He played in college at St. Francis (Pa.) and at Albany for the 2019 season as a graduate transfer. He logged two games on the Giants’ special teams as a rookie free agent in 2020.

Then he was waived with an injury settlement due to a quad injury in August, but he stayed determined to rejoin the Giants and worked out at Albany until he was eligible to re-sign.

“I was back at Albany with people I trust, with my coaching staff, and I wanted to stay close, because I just had the feeling I’d come back here when that settlement was over,” he said. “So I just wanted to be close instead of going all the way back to [his home state of] Ohio.”

The Giants are glad he stuck around. He is developing nicely as a speedy special teamer who proved last week that he’s up to the challenge on defense, as well.

“Jarren’s been doing a decent job for us playing defense and some roles in the kicking game,” coach Joe Judge said. “He’ll continue to progress in his roles. He’s done a good job since being back with us on making some strides. He’s a guy that’s got a future that we can go ahead and keep on developing with. I like the way Jarren works and I think there’s some upside with him as a player. He definitely has the right attitude as a person.”

NEW DBs JOIN UP

Judge had wide receiver Alex Bachman working exclusively with the defensive backs in Thursday’s open practice period.

With Jackson, Robinson and safety J.R. Reed projected to miss Sunday’s game against the Eagles, too, the Giants also signed veteran corner Darqueze Dennard and rookie free agent safety Dwayne Johnson Jr. to the practice squad.

Judge has no qualms throwing new or young players into the fire if they’ve put in the work.

“I don’t care if you’re on the practice squad, I don’t care if you’re a rookie, I don’t care if you just got here, it doesn’t matter,” Judge said. “You’re expected to play.”

Bachman made his NFL debut with one offensive snap last season. He made his season debut last Sunday against Dallas, with one tackle on nine special teams snaps.

Dennard, 30, is a former Cincinnati Bengals 2014 first-round pick who played for the Falcons last year. Johnson, 24, played for Atlanta this preseason but hasn’t played in the regular season.

ANOTHER PRO BOWL SHUTOUT

The Giants had zero players selected to the Pro Bowl for the second time in three years. James Bradberry and Evan Engram made it in 2020. That’s it. Only one Dave Gettleman draft pick has made a Pro Bowl in his four years as GM: Saquon Barkley as a rookie in 2018.

The Giants have had seven Pro Bowlers in Gettleman’s four seasons, including five in 2018. Only three of them were acquired by Gettleman: Barkley, special teamer Michael Thomas and Bradberry. The others were all Jerry Reese players: Landon Collins, Aldrick Rosas, Olivier Vernon and Engram.

TONEY ACTIVATED OFF COVID LIST

The Giants activated WR Kadarius Toney off the COVID-19 list Thursday. Toney, Reed and edge Oshane Ximinesall were allowed back in the building. But none of them practiced, and it still seems unlikely Toney will play against the Eagles since he’s missed the last four games with an oblique injury, too.

“You’ve got to consider not only coming off of the inactivity and the symptoms [but] where they’re at with the injury,” Judge said Thursday. “They haven’t really been able to be with our trainers, they haven’t been able to do a lot of the rehab and activity on the field. That’s just a natural setback right there.”

DUNNE AND DONE

Sportswriter Tyler Dunne published a must-read autopsy of the Giants this past week on his website, Go Long. The two-part story features several damning quotes and anecdotes from former scouts and front office members, in particular about Gettleman’s failures. Two of the anecdotes stand out to highlight the Giants’ dysfunction.

The first is about the 2018 NFL Draft. One source told Dunne that the Giants had the same grade on running back Saquon Barkley and edge rusher Bradley Chubb while holding the No. 2 pick. Longtime scout Steve Verderosa pushed for the pass rusher, a position with more longevity. But at the 11th hour, Barkley’s grade on the draft board improved.

“Did he earn that grade?” one former scout said. “All of a sudden in April, on a Thursday night, he earned that grade?”

The other anecdote is about how free agent offensive tackle Russell Okung once was interested in signing with the Giants but senior VP of players personnel “Chris Mara stepped in to say that Okung’s ex-agent calls him an a—hole, so the Giants didn’t sign him.”

Carve out a half hour of your day over the Christmas weekend. It’s worth your time.

* * *

GIANTS INJURY REPORT

Did not participate: OG Ben Bredeson (ankle). Limited: RB Saquon Barkley (ankle), RB Gary Brightwell (neck/non-contact jersey), FB Cullen Gillaspia (shin), DT Austin Johnson (foot), TE Kyle Rudolph (ankle), OT Andrew Thomas (ankle), DL Leonard Williams (triceps)

EAGLES INJURY REPORT

Did not participate: OT Jordan Mailata (ankle), RB Miles Sanders (quad), DE Ryan Kerrigan (illness). Limited: QB Jalen Hurts (ankle), TE Jack Stoll (knee).

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting