Cornerback play was an issue for the New York Giants in 2012. We know Corey Webster had a down year, and Jayron Hosley struggled in his rookie season. Today let's look at a free-agent cornerback who might be worth a look for the Giants when the market opens on March 12 -- Chris Houston of the Detroit Lions.
Houston, 28, is a six-year veteran having spent three seasons starting with the Atlanta Falcons and three with the Lions. Pro Football Focus ranks the 5-foot-11, 180-pound Houston as the second-best cornerback available as a free agent, saying:
His performance has been impressive enough that he progressed last season into the rare air of players who are asked to track top receivers (although he only did this rarely). The Lions are likely to try hard to keep him around, but in a free agent class devoid of stars, Houston might be the safest pick out there and could command the best contract if he is allowed to escape. ... There aren’t many corners in the league that are clearly better than he is, and some teams will prefer the reliable nature of his play than the all-or-nothing nature of some others.
Houston had a +7.4 score from PFF in 931 snaps last season and NFL quarterbacks had a 78.7 passer rating when targeting him.
The Giants surrendered 73 plays of 20 yards or more in pass defense a season ago, including 13 of more than 40 yards. Blown coverages were all too common. A quality, consistent player -- even if not a star player -- might be a welcome addition.
Chris Houston was acquired by the Lions in 2010 after not doing much with the Atlanta Falcons. In Detroit, Houston has turned his career around, and last season he really emerged as an excellent cornerback. His teammates voted him defensive player of the year for his play in 2012, and he is set to hit the open market at an ideal time. I'd expect the Lions to attempt to re-sign him, but it will ultimately come down to what the market looks like for Houston. If he can go out and get a bigger deal somewhere else, the Lions may have a tough time matching it and keeping him around.
Thoughts, Giants' fans?