Giants’ Yusuf Corker has covering skills on the court, at home
The text message from Yusuf Corker’s pregnant wife landed just as he was about to take the field at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala.
” Good practice. I love you. By the way, I’m about to start pushing,” Taryn wrote to her husband.
Corker laughed at his sense of humor and continued on his mission to open the eyes of NFL scouts, with the Giants being one of those teams that pays the most attention to safety. Two hours later, he returned to his locker to find pictures of the couple’s second child on his phone.
“At first I’m like, ‘Are you serious? I thought you were just playing?'” said Corker, whose namesake son was born on the afternoon of February 3. “But we talked about it beforehand: ‘If you’re in the Senior Bowl, would you leave?’ I said, ‘I have to try to improve my stock.’ ”
Projected as a fifth-round draft pick by some scouting services, Corker surprisingly went undrafted before quickly signing with the Giants. An above-market $95,000 guarantee on his three-year, $2.57 million contract indicated the Giants’ high level of interest.
The snub project left 23-year-old Corker disappointed, but he had no time to sulk with a newborn and 2-year-old daughter, Amirah Lee, to raise.
“It’s all for them,” Corker said. “I don’t just play for myself, but to support my family.”
In a weird way, having a second child was the perfect parental preparation to play in the Giants defense, in which safeties are blitzing or trying to win 1-on-1 matchups against tight ends and receivers. of slot machines. Two parents and two children means no more double-teaming to deal with the chaos created by toddlers.
“We’ve basically moved to man-to-man coverage,” Corker joked of the home strategy. “I was picking up my daughter from daycare — she likes to play with Dad — and my wife was taking care of our son. We only go to the zone when we are alone and you have to do two things at once.
An ability to multitask should serve Corker well the rest of training camp, as he attempts to steal a spot on the 53-man roster. He was already running with the second-team defense, but could be the beneficiary of the broken collarbone depth suffered by fellow rookie Dane Belton on Saturday. Corker was actually ranked higher than Belton, a fourth-round pick, ahead of the NFL.com and The Athletic draft.
“Right now it doesn’t matter where you ended up or what round you got drafted in. I’m just ready to prove my worth,” Corker said. “Every time you get your reps you need to make the most of it, get noticed and make plays. As soon as I get back to the hotel, I FaceTime them for 20 to 30 minutes maximum. After that, I have to put my head back in the playbook.”
Corker’s Kentucky teammate and training camp roommate with the Giants, second-round pick Wan’Dale Robinson, noted Corker’s level of commitment.
“He’s going to do whatever it takes to help our defense,” said Robinson, who texted Corker as soon as he heard they were teammates again. “That’s how Yusuf is. Even outside of football, he always thinks of his family and what he can do best for them.
After practice Monday, Corker reached out to a few defensive linemen to ask for advice on using his hands and how quick he was to get out of the blocks against a player with superior strength. It was a telling moment of the “good conscience” and “gut instinct” parts of a skill set that won praise from Giants head coach Brian Daboll.
“He did a good job of improving,” Daboll said. “And he will have his opportunities.”
The combination of playing in New York (“I was kinda excited to get up here and see the city,” Corker admitted.) and seeing eye-to-eye with the aggressive nature of defensive coordinator Wink Martindale is what lured Corker to the Giants in first place.
“I like going down and hitting, but I feel like I can do all the other aspects as well,” Corker said. “I just want to make a few plays, and this is the best scheme to do that safely.”
If Corker proves he can play once preseason games begin, he may have to move out of the apartment shared with Robinson to make room for his family in the regular season.
“We have to wait and see what happens,” Corker said. “I hope I can bring them.”