While six former Penn State Football players were drafted in last week’s NFL Draft, eight others signed with teams as undrafted free agents.
Of those eight, which finds themselves in the best position?
The answer to that question is cornerback Grant Haley.
It was a surprise to many when the NFL Draft came and went and Haley’s name was not called. While his 5-foot-9 frame will always be a concern in pass coverage, Haley more than makes up for it with his speed, athleticism, and coverage skills.
Shortly after the draft, Haley was picked up by the New York Giants as an undrafted free agent. While going undrafted could not have been fun for Haley, he now finds himself in a great position with the Giants.
Arguably the biggest factor working in Haley’s favor is the Giants’ depth chart at cornerback. Behind starting cornerbacks Janoris Jenkins and Eli Apple, the team’s third cornerback is 33-year-old William Gay who leaves a lot to be desired as a coverage man.
Jenkins, who stands a just 5-foot-10 himself, is one of the league’s best man-to-man corners having made the Pro Bowl in 2016 and should provide Haley with a good example of how to best his frame to his advantage.
Also joining Haley in the team’s cornerback room are jounreymen Brandon Dixon and Teddy Williams, as well as fellow undrafted free agent Aaron Davis. Haley brings the ability to be a special teams standout and a strong nickel corner. Because of this, it would be surprising if he failed to make the Giants’ roster coming out of training camp.
NFL teams typically use four or five cornerbacks with regularity during the course of their season. The competition Haley faces to earn a spot on the Giants roster as a fourth/fifth or a nickel cornerback is not exactly the stiffest in the world. The Giants allowed the second most passing yard in the NFL last season.
Haley will have a great opportunity to make an impact on special teams as a rookie this Fall, as well as opportunity to work his way up the Giant depth chart at cornerback. It would be a surprise if he failed to make New York’s roster.