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Should the Giants reunite Anthony Averett with Wink Martindale?

Veteran cornerback might be a nice depth option for New York

Los Angeles Chargers v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

The New York Giants have holes throughout their roster. Big Blue lacks competent and consistent starters at critical positions while possessing a dearth of depth that’s problematic. Despite the woes, Brian Daboll was able to coach his team to an unlikely playoff berth and victory in 2022.

Defensive coordinator Wink Martindale’s philosophy deviates from the defensive systems that are in vogue and have proliferated around the NFL over the last few seasons. Martindale places a heavier emphasis on middle-of-the-field-closed (MOFC) defenses that apply pressure and run man coverage.

In 2022, New York blitzed more than any other team in the NFL and ran Cover-1 (a man coverage, MOFC concept) at the second-highest rate behind Detroit. Martindale ran Cover-0 (man coverage, no safety) a league-high 10.4 percent of snaps. In order for Martindale’s system to have success, he needs man-coverage cornerbacks who can be left on an island.

We’ll never know the answer to this question, but I would bet that cornerback Ahmad ‘Sauce’ Garnder would be a New York Giant if he was available at No. 5 a year ago, but the Jets selected Gardner at No. 4. Nevertheless, the Giants could still use help at cornerback, and that can come through depth or by selecting a future starter in the draft. A familiar face is available for Martindale if he so chooses to go in the direction of a cheap free agent.

The basics

Age: 28 in the 2023 season
Height: 5-foot-11 | Weight: 185
Position: Cornerback
Experience: 5 seasons
2022 stats: Games: 7 | Tackles: (13) | Stops: (1) | Passes defended: (1) | Touchdowns Surrendered: (1) | Reception percentage: (83.3 percent) | Missed tackles (3, 17.6 percent)

The skinny

Averett was selected in the fourth round of the 2018 NFL Draft by the Ravens in Martindale’s first year there as defensive coordinator.

Averett’s measurables were far from impressive, and his explosive tests were underwhelming, but he still managed to squeeze into the fourth round of the draft. He was a versatile depth option, and special teams asset, through the first three years of his career until the entire Baltimore secondary got injured.

Averett assumed the number one role for the Baltimore secondary in 2021 but did so while battling through several injuries. Averett missed Week 11 with a thigh injury he managed to play through in subsequent weeks. He also finished the season on the injury report with a chest ailment, a shoulder issue, and an injured ankle.

Averett played through the injuries until he fractured a rib early in the first quarter against the Bengals in Week 16. Martindale and Baltimore parted ways, and Averett went to the Raiders to play under Patrick Graham.

Unfortunately for Averett, he broke his right thumb and landed on IR. in Week 1. Averett was activated and started against Houston in Week 7. He played until Week 12 when he suffered a toe injury that sidelined him for the remainder of the season. His proclivity to suffer nagging injuries is concerning.

Averett signed a one-year, $4-million deal with the Raiders last free agent cycle. It’s hard to imagine that he would command that much money after an injury-plagued year that resulted in two trips to injured res

Averett’s price and familiarity with Martindale are the primary reasons to be interested. Averett wasn’t the reason the 2021 Ravens’ secondary was so porous; he allowed catches on only 55.9 percent of passes with three interceptions and eight passes defended. His reception percentage ranked in the top 20 of corners who played at least 50 percent of their team’s snaps.

If the Giants were to entertain adding a player like Averett, it would be for depth and an opportunity to prove one’s self. The deal would be cheap, and of little consequence, if Averett didn’t make the final 53-man roster.