Why is fourth-year cornerback Jayron Hosley still on the New York Giants' roster? It's a good question. He was awful in 2014, served a four-game drug suspension, and has yet to justify the third-round pick the Giants used on him in 2012. Let's take a look at Hosley as we continue our player-by-player profiles of the 90-man roster the Giants will bring to training camp in a few weeks.
2014 Season in Review
Hosley began the season serving a four-game suspension for a violation of the NFL substance abuse policy. He finished it buried on the bench. The Giants needed the 2012 third-round pick after slot corners Walter Thurmond and Trumaine McBride suffered season-ending injuries. Hosley was not up to the challenge. He played in six games, starting two, but his last appearance was Week 11 vs. the Dallas Cowboys. After that, Hosley watched as Mike Harris took over duties at the team's slot cornerback. Hosley ended up playing just 153 snaps and compiling a -6.7 Pro Football Focus score. Quarterbacks completed 10-of-14 passes when targeting him, he gave up 102 yards after catch (10.2 per completion) and had a passer rating against of an abominable 153.3.
2015 Season Outlook
Let's start with this. Considering his largely lackluster play over his first three seasons, last season's suspension and his ultimate benching -- inactive for the final five games -- the 24-year-old Hosley knows he is fortunate to have a chance at any sort of outlook with the Giants.
"I'm blessed to still be here knowing my history in the past and the experiences I've been through while I was here," Hosley said. "It's a blessing. I'm gonna take advantage of my opportunity that I have."
So, what opportunity does Hosley have? It was curious throughout the spring that Hosley's name never came up when Giants coaches were asked about the competition for the slot corner spot. That is the position the Giants drafted Hosley to play. Turns out, though, they no longer consider him a slot corner. The 5-foot-10, 178-pound Hosley is being used exclusively on the outside, where the Giants are looking for capable reserve corners, and he is thrilled about it.
"Playing the nickel the last three years I had my ups and downs. It's been a journey for me, so getting back outside where I'm comfortable, where I made a name for myself, I feel like it suits me better, feel like I'm more comfortable," Hosley said. "[I'm] just getting my feet back on the ground."
With a new position, a new defensive coordinator in Steve Spagnuolo and a new cornerbacks coach in Tim Walton Hosley gets to try to hit the reset on his derailed career.
"That's how I approached it. Being a corner throughout my career and moving to the inside it was a tough adjustment. Not knocking [Perry] Fewell and his scheme, Fewell's a good coach. I feel more comfortable as a corner in this defense," Hosley said recently during mandatory mini-camp.
Hosley, who had also failed a drug test at the 2012 NFL Combine, said he is now also "in a much better place" emotionally.
"It's been a journey for me off the field and staying healthy and playing to my full potential. The distractions and things I had going on off the field, I wasn't able to give my best and put my best foot forward and take advantage of the opportunity that I did have like I once did before," Hosley said. "Now I'm four years in, more focused. I'm mature. Understanding what it takes to really be successful in this game. You have to grow up, you have to take coaching and you have to be able to deal with the off the field stuff and be able to handle the lifestyle.
"I'm not a big fan of the lifestyle. I'm more in it for the love of the game. Once I separated that from my business I was able to see things more clearly. I'm in a much better place, much more confident in my craft and how I approach the game. I look at is a new year, new opportunity. I'm gonna lay it all out there."
The Giants are looking for dependable reserve corners to back up Prince Amukamara and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Chykie Brown and Chandler Fenner are currently the only experienced corners working on the outside so, amazingly, Hosley's new opportunity could be a legitimate one.
Let's see if he truly can take advantage of it.