James Bradberry, Giants, Week 12
The only real “veteran” to appear on this list (the Philadelphia Eagles play a surprising number of young secondaries in 2021), James Bradberry is coming off a very impressive debut season with the New York Giants.
The longtime Carolina Panther firmly established himself as a proper CB1 in 2020, recording three interceptions and 18 passes defensed while almost exclusively guarding opposing team’s top wideouts. Bradberry allowed just 56 total completions last season, despite being targeted 91 times.
After a couple battles with some younger corners around the NFL, Bradberry and the Giants will be a proper test for Smith when it comes to his ability to carry an offense on his back. The Giants front office were reportedly very interested in Smith themselves during the pre-draft process, so my guess is that they’ll be more than accustomed to his tendencies and traits.
With the two sides’ matchup taking place later in the season, there will also be more film available for Bradberry and the rest of the Giants defense to study. This could be an outing where Smith really has to prove his ability to win in multiple ways, as opposed to just utilizing his favorite routes.
Bradberry also stands in at an eye-popping 212lbs, another big-bodied athlete who could have major success jamming Smith at the line of scrimmage.