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Giants Predicted to Cut Failed 2023 Starter: ‘Odd Man Out’

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Giants Predicted to Cut Failed 2023 Starter: ‘Odd Man Out’

Giants CB Tre Hawkins.


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New York Giants cornerback Tre Hawkins doesn’t appear to be a guarantee to make the roster in 2024.

With the New York Giants bringing in more and more organizational depth under general manager Joe Schoen and head coach Brian Daboll, recent draft picks will likely have a shorter leash if they don’t perform.

One such youngster could be 2023 sixth rounder Tre Hawkins, who began last year’s campaign as a Week 1 starter at cornerback. During a 2024 53-man roster projection on July 8, USA Today Giants Wire writer Dan Benton predicted that Hawkins would be the “odd man out” in the secondary.

Instead, he had veteran cornerbacks Nick McCloud, Darnay Holmes and Tre Herndon making the cut, as well as veteran safety Jalen Mills. Of course, roster locks and projected starters like Deonte Banks, Cor’Dale Flott and rookie Andru Phillips rounded out the CB room.


Giants Provided Tre Hawkins With Sink or Swim Opportunity as Rookie

As noted above, the Giants played Hawkins right out of the gates and his debut didn’t go very well. The rookie allowed a 118.8 passer rating against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 1 according to Pro Football Focus.

Then, after a slightly smaller role the next two outings, Hawkins was benched altogether in Week 4 and torched for 85 receiving yards and a touchdown in just 14 defensive snaps in Week 5. Clearly, he wasn’t ready for the early vote of confidence from former defensive coordinator Wink Martindale.

Given the DC change this spring with Shane Bowen coming over from Tennessee, Hawkins might have to prove he still belongs after 211 rough coverage snaps a year ago. New York Post reporter Ryan Dunleavy placed the second-year cornerback in the “on the bubble” category of the NYG roster ahead of training camp, and there’s certainly no guarantee that a former sixth rounder makes the team.

This situation also shows just how unforgiving the NFL can be. Hawkins is a 23-year-old prospect that was asked to sink or swim in year one. Then, during his second professional season, his job could be lost to new draft picks and signings.

It’ll be up to Hawkins to change that narrative and win a role this summer. And to do so, he’ll likely have to beat out a more experienced player in the process.


Special Teams Impact Could Decide Giants’ Final CB Spots

As is the case with most of the final roster spots, special teams impact could be the deciding factor.

Hawkins did appear on 156 special teams snaps as a rookie, per PFF. That included time with the kick return unit, kickoff coverage unit, punt return unit, punt coverage unit and field goal block unit.

His grade was not spectacular though — at 60.7 — and PFF only credited him with one solo special teams tackle.

McCloud and Holmes were both core special teamers for the Giants in 2023. PFF awarded Holmes the best grade of the three, at 65.5. His footprint included five solo ST tackles and three missed tackles over 194 snaps, as well as two penalties.

McCloud registered three solo tackles and two assists but was charged with four missed tackles. His PFF grade (59.3) was worse than the others, but he must have earned the organization’s trust, appearing on 347 ST snaps.

Herndon had less of a special teams role in Jacksonville, with under 60 ST snaps in each of the past two seasons. The veteran only appeared on the kickoff coverage and punt return units in those campaigns.

Michael Obermuller covers the NFL and NHL for Heavy.com, where he began writing in 2021. His areas of focus include the Kansas City Chiefs, New York Giants, Pittsburgh Steelers and Miami Dolphins. An NYC area native and Quinnipiac graduate, his previous bylines include FanDuel’s The Duel, King Fantasy Sports and Pro Football Mania. More about Michael Obermuller

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