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Giants’ 90-Man Roster: CB Donte Deayon Still Pursuing Big Dream

Can Deayon fill one of Giants’ openings at cornerback?

NFL: Preaseason-New England Patriots at New York Giants
Donte Deayon makes a tackle during a 2016 preseason game against the New England Patriots.
Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Donte Deayon came to the New York Giants last season as an undrafted free agent, a miniscule 5-foot-9, 158-pound cornerback with big NFL dreams. Could he make it in the league despite the fact that even the smallest players he would line up against are 20-30 pounds heavier? Shoot, wide receiver Brandon Marshall is seven inches taller and 65 to 70 pounds heavier.

Well, Double D, as defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo affectionately calls Deayon, is still around. He spent some time on the practice squad last year before suffering a season-ending injury. Can he graduate to the 53-man roster this year?

“I felt last year was an opportunity as well, and this year going forward is an opportunity,” Deayon said during a recent conversation. “I feel like I sat out since last season, so I’ve been working, just preparing for when that time comes and staying ready. When it comes I need to be ready already.”

Let’s take a closer look at Deayon as we continue our player-by-player look at the Giants’ 90-man roster.

2016 Season in Review

After impressing during training camp and the preseason, Deayon earned a spot on the practice squad. He was bypassed in favor fellow rookie cornerback Michael Hunter for a call-up to the 53-man roster when the Giants suffered injuries to the secondary. Deayon eventually suffered a hamstring injury and finished the season on Injured Reserve.

2017 Season Outlook

When you do the math you figure out that the Giants might have at least one opening at cornerback. They lost veteran Coty Sensabaugh this offseason and have not re-signed Trevin Wade or Leon Hall, who played more safety than corner last season. They added only Valentino Blake as experienced depth. That’s three out, one in.

So, even though head coach Ben McAdoo won’t say there might be a depth problem at corner, there might be a depth problem at corner. Here is what McAdoo said during a recent media session at OTAs:

“I think we have nine corners on the roster right now, so we're loaded at corner. We have a bunch of guys, just fighting to get some reps right now. So we'll see how that goes.”

That’s a little different than the response of defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, who said earlier this spring that “We can always use more. You can never have enough corners.”

Can Deayon be one of those corners? If he was bigger there probably wouldn’t be any doubt about that.

Deayon will never be a big man, but while sipping a protein shake after an OTA in the Quest Diagnostic Training Center, Deayon told me he has gained a few pounds.

“I don’t do numbers, but I did add seven to eight pounds,” Deayon said. “Last year the whole season I’m just lifting and running with them (Giants’ staff), getting my body right, adding muscle, adding weight. It’s starting to show up now.”

Deayon said he learned a lot by watching last season.

“Seeing the way Jackrabbit played, the way Eli played, where Cro played, and even the other guys. Just learning the defense and how people fit in spots and positions,” Deayon said. “Just took the time to really learn the defense so that way I’m out there playing fast, playing hard and I’m not really doing too much thinking.”

With a bright smile and a big heart, Deayon is an easy player to root for. Let’s see if he can make it this time.