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Giants 2021 roster profile: Can CB Darnay Holmes build off rookie season?

Holmes will face challenge from rookie CB Aaron Robinson

New York Giants v Seattle Seahawks
Darnay Holmes
Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

Darnay Holmes held his own as a rookie slot cornerback for the New York Giants in 2020. What does his sophomore season have in store? Let’s take a closer look at Holmes as we continue profiling the 90 players the Giants will bring to training camp this summer.

The basics

Height: 5-foot-10
Weight: 195
Age: 23
Position: Cornerback
Experience: 1
Contract: Year 2 of four-year, $4.086 million rookie contract | 2021 cap hit: $997, 972

Career to date

Drafted in the fourth round out of UCLA (110th overall) Holmes immediately became the Giants’ primary slot cornerback. He played in 12 games, starting five. He was inactive for two games and did not play in a third near the end of the season after injuring a knee. He ended up playing 442 defensive snaps (41 percent).

Holmes had a solid rookie season. His passer rating against of 97.0 was 12th among 25 qualifying slot cornerbacks, per Pro Football Focus. Holmes’ yards per coverage snap allowed of 1.31 was eighth among those 25 slot cornerbacks, per Pro Football Focus.

“Not have a training camp he did very well. Especially with a new staff, it was the toughest job you can have,” said defensive backs trainer Brian Walker of DBacks Academy, who has worked with Holmes. “I thought he did a great adjusting especially from never really playing slot corner. It’s almost like a different position.

“You could tell they trusted him early.”

2021 outlook

Despite his apparent solid play as a rookie, the Giants selected UCF slot cornerback Aaron Robinson in Round 3 of the 2021 NFL Draft. If the Giants intend to have Robinson compete with Holmes for snaps, Walker doesn’t expect that to bother Holmes.

“I think like anything, he’s a guy who came from a big-time school like UCLA so there’s always a five-star corner who comes into that area. He’s been raised, his older brothers played college football, father was an NFL running back,” Walker said.

“With Darnay he takes on any challenge. He’s always prepared.”

Walker believes Holmes can become a Pro Bowl slot cornerback if he stays focused and healthy.

“Sky’s the limit as long as he continues to work,” Walker said.

The secondary is expected to be a strength for the Giants in 2021. Whether or not he has to fend off a challenge from Robinson, Holmes should be part of that strength this season.