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James Bradberry ranked No. 67 on ESPN’s Top 100 Players list

Giants CBs breakout season did not go unnoticed

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Washington Football Team v New York Giants Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

ESPN recently released its annual list of the NFL’s top 100 players heading into the 2021 season, and James Bradberry was the only representative for the New York Giants.

Here is what ESPN had to say about the sixth-year cornerback:

67. James Bradberry

Bradberry proved in his first season in New York to be worth every penny of the three-year, $43.5 million deal he received as a free agent last offseason. He earned the first Pro Bowl berth of his career, and the Giants used him regularly to shut down No. 1 receivers. He was Pro Football Focus’ seventh-ranked cornerback in 2020. Look for opposing quarterbacks to start avoiding him this season. — Jordan Raanan

Signature stat: Opposing QBs had a 67.7 passer rating against Bradberry when he was the nearest defender, ninth among corners who faced at least 50 targets.

What they are saying: ”The noticeable difference is just height and length. Taller guys, footwork is a little bit different, even though JB has great footwork.” — Kenny Golladay, Giants wide receiver

2021 projection: 62 tackles, 3 interceptions, 2 forced fumbles

Bradberry enjoyed a breakout season last year with three interceptions and 18 passes defended, both career highs. He was the first Giants cornerback named to the Pro Bowl since Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie in 2015 and was instrumental in the team’s memorable upset of the Seattle Seahawks in Week 13.

Though recent injuries have left the Giants in need of cornerback depth, they still project to have one of the league’s best secondaries. They inked Adoree’ Jackson to a three-year, $39 million contract this offseason, finally adding a proven veteran to line up opposite Bradberry.

However, ESPN’s list thinks less of Bradberry than most rankings released this offseason. Nine cornerbacks were ranked above Bradberry, compared to six on the NFL’s player-voted list and four on Pro Football Focus’s list.

Noticeably absent from the list is Saquon Barkley, who ranked No. 16 last year. Barkley appeared in only two games in 2021 before an ACL injury ended his season. Running backs as a whole were treated poorly — Derrick Henry was the highest-rated at No. 29, and NFC East star Ezekiel Elliott was left off the list entirely.