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Can Cor’Dale Flott be the Giants’ starting slot corner?

New York’s third-round pick has a legitimate shot at starting

NFL: New York Giants Rookie Minicamp John Jones-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants headed into the 2022 NFL Draft knowing full well that James Bradberry was unlikely to be on the roster this season. Maybe that’s why it feels like there’s even more pressure on rookie Cor’Dale Flott than his third-round pedigree would suggest.

Can Flott be a valuable piece as the Giants rebuild their secondary? Let’s discuss Flott as we continue our player-by-player profiles of New York’s 90-man roster.

By the numbers

Height: 6-foot-1
Weight: 175
Age: 20
Position: Cornerback
Experience: Rookie
Contract: Four-year, $5.24 million rookie deal | 2022 cap hit: $953,062

Career to date

Flott lined up at almost every position in the secondary while at LSU, but spent most of his time in the slot. He impressed in man-to-man coverage but was never known as a big playmaker. In three years at LSU, two as a starter, he had just one interception and 10 passes defended. Flott appeared in 14 games as a freshman when the Tigers won the national championship.

Flott has a reputation as a fiery competitor with a strong work ethic. His high school coach, Jeff Kelly, told the New York Post that Flott was on the field first thing in the morning doing footwork drills every day over summer vacation. Fellow rookie Wan’Dale Robinson said it was like Flott “knew” what route Robinson was running when they played against each other.

However, some pundits saw Flott’s supposedly underdeveloped technique as a red flag. Here’s what Dane Brugler of The Athletic had to say:

He played across the secondary in college, including outside corner, in the box and as a split-safety, but he spent most of his time in the slot, where produced several quality tapes as a junior. Flott is a lean-framed corner with the foot speed, movement and mentality of a classic man-to-man corner. Despite limited busted coverage reps on film, he lacks ideal burst and acceleration out of his transitions and he would benefit from more plays on the football (never had more than four pass breakups in a season in college). Overall, Flott has slick hips to turn and run on command with inside-outside versatility, but he trusts his athleticism more than his technique with below average size and questionable playmaking instincts.

The Giants selected Flott No. 81 overall with their second third-round pick.

2022 outlook

Most experts had Flott ranked as a fifth- to sixth-round prospect, but Flott isn’t the only player GM Joe Schoen bucked consensus to draft. New York needs as many shots as it can get at finding a dependable cornerback besides Adoree’ Jackson. Wink Martindale’s defensive philosophy also emphasizes cornerbacks over pass rushers.

Flott’s ability will be necessary if another young player steps into a bigger role. Aaron Robinson, who spent most of last year in the slot, is the most likely candidate to start on the perimeter opposite Jackson. 2020 fourth-rounder Darnay Holmes, who has significant experience in the slot, is probably Flott’s biggest competition.

The most obvious question mark is Flott’s 175-pound size. His physical play style kept his weight from limiting him in college, but it remains to be seen whether that will translate to the NFL. Flott has also said he hopes to put on five to 10 pounds before the season starts.

Even if he doesn’t develop into a top-level corner, Flott should get significant playing time this year given his draft status and the lack of other quality options on the roster.