The more you research Valentino Blake the more you realize that the New York Giants cornerback is an interesting guy, a bit of a character. The Giants, though, don’t care about that. After losing Coty Sensabaugh to the Pittsburgh Steelers and not re-signing Travin Wade or Leon Hall — yet — the Giants hope Blake can provide them with quality depth at cornerback.
Let’s look closer at Blake, a five-year veteran signed as a free agent, as we continue our player-by-player profiles of the Giants’ 90-man roster.
2016 Season in Review
Blake played 368 defensive snaps for the Tennessee Titans last season, his only year in Tennessee. He ranked 79th among 111 qualifying cornerbacks graded by Pro Football Focus with an overall score of 62.5.
Blake spent four years with the Pittsburgh Steelers before joining the Titans, and that grade is in line with his performance in other years as a reserve. As a 16-game starter for Pittsburgh in 2015, Blake received a score of only 36.4, which would indicate he’s better as a part-time player than a full-time one.
Blake also officially dropped his given first name of Antwon to become known by his middle name of Valentino. He explained the decision to Titans Online:
“I wanted to make more of a formal switch, and that’s what I really prefer to be called,’’ Blake said. “Overall, I like Valentino more. I’ve been wanting to do it, and I figure a new team, a fresh start, so there’s no time like the present.”
2017 Season Outlook
The “goodbye, Valentino” post penned by SB Nation’s Music City Miracles when Blake signed with the Giants won’t inspire confidence. Regardless, can the Giants have confidence that the 26-year-old Blake can be an adequate fourth corner and a useful special teams player? He played 77 percent of Tennessee’s special teams snaps a year ago.
The Giants likely need to make up the 469 combined defensive snaps that Wade and Sensabaugh played last season — Hall spent most of his time at safety. Blake will likely get the first crack at the majority of those.