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Giants’ 90-man roster: CB Tony Lippett needs to impress to hold on to roster spot

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Cornerback facing a number of challengers

NFL: New York Giants-Minicamp
Tony Lippett flashes his ball skills with a one-handed catch during mandatory mini-camp.
NorthJersey.com-USA TODAY NETWORK

Tony Lippett was a starting cornerback in the NFL until a torn Achilles tendon derailed his 2017 season. Now, he is trying to jump start his stalled career with the New York Giants. Is there a place for Lippett on the Giants’ 53-man roster.

Let’s examine that question as we continue profiling the players who will be on the 90-man roster when the Giants return for training camp.

The basics

Height: 6-foot-3
Weight: 192 pounds
Age: 26
Position: Cornerback
Experience: 4

How he got here

The Giants signed Lippett in October of last season, two days after trading Eli Apple to the New Orleans Saints and nine days after waiving cornerback Donte Deayon.

A fifth-round pick by the Miami Dolphins in 2015, Lippett emerged as a starter in 2016 and had four interceptions and 10 passes defensed. Quarterbacks had an 87.6 rating throwing against Lippett that season, 31st out of 74 qualifying corners per Pro Football Focus. He was 30th in yards per snap at 1.09 and 44th in receptions per snap at 10.3.

The Giants had apparently been eyeing Lippett for some time, having shown interest in him during the preseason. They waited until October, though, as Lippett recovered from his Achilles injury. The injury occurred during a 2017 training camp practice and cost him both the entire season and, eventually, his job in Miami.

Lippett ended up appearing in only three games for the Giants.

2019 outlook

I would call it “murky.”

Head coach Pat Shurmur loves defensive players who can catch the ball, and Lippett can. Not only did he have the four interceptions in 2016, but he played three full seasons at Michigan State as a wide receiver, catching 149 passes.

Still, you have to wonder if this is a case of wrong place, wrong time for Lippett.

When he was with the Dolphins, the defensive backs coach was Lou Anarumo. Last season, Anarumo had that job with the Giants. Thus, Lippett had an advocate on the coaching staff. Now, Anarumo is defensive coordinator of the Cincinnati Bengals.

Lippett, 26, is also fighting the plethora of young cornerbacks on the roster and key special teams performer Antonio Hamilton for a spot on the roster.

Best guess is that Lippett is going to have to make some splash plays in training camp and the preseason to get the coaching staff’s attention in order to stick around.