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Can Rashaan Gaulden earn a spot in Giants’ defensive backfield?

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A flop in Carolina, Gaulden faces difficult road to roster spot

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Carolina Panthers
Rashaan Gaulden
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The Carolina Panthers gave up on former third-round pick Rashaan Gaulden after less than two seasons. Now with the New York Giants, can Gaulden make his second chance count?

Let’s take a closer look.

The basics

Height: 6-foot-1
Weight: 200
Age: 25
Position: Defensive back
Experience: 2
Contract: Year 2 of two-ear, $1.23 million contract

How he got here

Gaulden played in 15 games for Carolina in 2018, with 143 defensive snaps. He appeared in nine game for the Panthers in 2019, but received only 18 defensive snaps before being released. Gaulden made a couple of key special teams errors that apparently led to his departure from Carolina.

The Giants added him to their practice squad in early December and activated him for the season’s final game. He played only seven special teams snaps for the Giants.

2020 outlook

The initial reaction, considering what the Giants have invested at cornerback over the past few offseasons, would be that Gaulden probably has little chance of doing more than making the practice squad.

Then again ...

He was a third-round pick and highly-respected draft analyst Dane Brugler was high on Gaulden coming out of Tennessee:

“An ideal fit as a nickel defensive back in the NFL, Gaulden has discipline issues, but his play speed and toughness are both outstanding, giving pro coaches a foundation.”

Gaulden, though, did not test well athletically at the Combine:

Gaulden faces a significant challenge being more than an afterthought in the competition for roster spots at cornerback.

James Bradberry, DeAndre Baker (if he is eligible), Julian Love (if he is a cornerback), Sam Beal, Corey Ballentine, Grant Haley, and Chris Williamson are all likely ahead of him. Dravon Askew-Henry might be ahead of Gaulden as well.

Still, the kid had enough talent to be a Day 2 draft pick not that long ago. So, I wouldn’t completely discount his chance of sticking around.