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Only the President’s Cabinet is headed for more sweeping changes than the Giants have made at cornerback.
So, it is perfectly fitting that the latest player asked to provide stability — Isaac Yiadom — had to wiggle out of a freshly signed apartment lease in Denver for his third season with the Broncos when he found out he was traded to the Giants.
“I went home to my new place and the movers were unpacking my things,” Yiadom told The Post. “I told them to keep everything in the corner. It made things a little easier.”
The Giants traded a seventh-round pick to the Broncos for Yiadom on Sept. 2, which means he has been here longer than fellow cornerbacks Ryan Lewis, Madre Harper and Brandon Williams. Pro Bowl candidate James Bradberry signed in March and Darnay Holmes was drafted in April, giving them unlikely seniority.
“I don’t go into the game thinking about how they are going to come at me because James is on the other side,” Yiadom said. “If they want to come at me, I’m going to have to make them pay, too, and then — I don’t know — I guess they’ll have to run the ball. I’m just trying to play my game, so if they throw my way I can make a play on it, just like James does.”
With all the attention paid to the Giants’ inability to solve an offensive line crisis, the inability to develop young cornerbacks and maintain continuity in the secondary has been overlooked as a major reason for the downfall since 2016.
In 2019, the Giants devoted 2,988 snaps to cornerbacks Janoris Jenkins, DeAndre Baker, Grant Haley, Corey Ballentine, Sam Beal and Antonio Hamilton. In 2018, nearly 3,000 snaps went to Jenkins, Haley, B.W. Webb, Eli Apple, Dont’e Deayon and Tony Lippett.
Six of those 10 players now are with different teams. Three are free agents. Beal opted out of the season because of COVID-19. None are playing for the Giants, who have overcome a seemingly unsustainable revolving door at their second outside cornerback to become the NFL’s No. 11-ranked scoring defense.
“Every game brings a little bit of a different element on how you’re trying to match up the opponent,” coach Joe Judge said. “I have no issue at all rotating them on through. As long as we’re getting production, we’re keeping guys fresh, we expect everyone at the game to contribute.”
Except that’s not what the Giants are doing. This is more survival than rotation.
Ballentine played 92.2 percent of the defensive snaps in Week 1 then just 48 total over the next eight games before he was released. Yiadom’s first crack as the main option lasted two games before he was benched. Lewis played the bulk of the next three games before an injury re-opened the door for Yiadom to play all 188 defensive snaps over the past three games combined.
“When I wasn’t playing, I didn’t question it,” Yiadom said. “I just did my part in practice on the scout team. It was a chance for me to coach myself and watch the other corners who were playing and learn from the good they were doing and the mistakes they were making. When you get a chance to see it from the outside, that always helps.”
Yiadom was a 2018 third-round pick who thought he was regaining lost ground in the Broncos secondary before the trade. He had wrapped a morning practice when he was informed of the trade.
“I’m thankful for the change and getting a chance to be back in the Northeast closer to my family,” the Boston College product said. “There were a lot of emotions. I was more confused, to be honest. I had a really good camp and I was playing a good amount over there. I wasn’t so much sad or angry.”
Yiadom’s three highest-graded performances of the season by Pro Football Focus have come in the past three games, each higher than the last. After allowing touchdowns in the previous two games, Yiadom quietly gave up just three catches for 37 yards last week as the Eagles foolishly tested Bradberry — allowing Yiadom to show maybe he is the one who can plug the hole.
“I’ve seen a lot of improvement from Ike,” Judge said. “That’s a guy who’s really worked tirelessly at practice. Then he got a shot in the game and he’s been making plays for us.”