The New York Giants knew they had a need for an experienced reserve cornerback, and they hope they filled it with Saturday’s trade for Ross Cockrell, sending a conditional seventh-round pick to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
What are the Giants getting in Cockrell? Here is Jeff Hartman of SB Nation’s Steelers web site, Behind The Steel Curtain, with some thoughts on that:
In regards to Ross Cockrell, the Giants are getting a very solid cornerback.
Cockrell is an above average cornerback, but lacks elite speed to truly run with fast receivers. This makes him vulnerable in man coverage schemes. However, he is a very smart cornerback who is best used in zone schemes where he can read and react, focusing solely on his responsibilities in the zone scheme.
Cockrell does have above average ball skills, despite his lack of numbers in the 2016 season. When comparing Cockrell to Antwon Blake, or Valentino ... whatever he is calling himself these days, Cockrell is by far the superior of the two cornerbacks. His size, speed and overall ability makes him a better player when compared to Blake. Cockrell is a very solid player, but not a game changer in any stretch of the imagination.
That is certainly encouraging. Blake, signed as a free agent ostensibly to be the team’s fourth corner, was not impressive before leaving the team for personal reasons and ultimately being released.
The Giants need depth at corner. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is 31 and the Giants tended last season to try and limit his snaps a bit, a trend likely to continue. Eli Apple has shown a troubling tendency to suffer minor leg injuries. Second-year corner Michael Hunter is currently in the concussion protocol, and has only two games of NFL experience.
Cockrell, 26, was a fourth-round pick by the Buffalo Bills in 2014. The 6-foot, 191-pounder started all 16 games for the Steelers last season.