Robert Moreschi

Prince Amukamara Has Royal Expectations To Live Up To In New York

Created on Jun. 28, 2013 7:00 AM EST

Prince Amukamara started his NFL career in perhaps the best possible way a cornerback can. On November 20, 2011, in a nationally televised primetime game against the division rival Philadelphia Eagles, the Giants’ first-round draft pick stepped on the field and, a few plays later, picked off Vince Young.

As far as first impressions go, you can’t really hope to do much better than that.

For the majority of his first one and a half seasons as a Giant, Amukamara has flown under the radar. You may not hear his name very often during a game broadcast, but that's for good reason: It's because he's quietly been one of the Giants' most consistent defenders. Although he still has a lot more of his game to develop, it's clear that he has a lot of potential, and this season, he must live up to that potential for the Giants secondary to come together and be successful.

After two seasons mostly marred by injury, Amukamara now finds himself in a role where he is going to be counted on week in and week out to be one of the anchors in the Giants secondary. Luckily, he has veterans in Terrell Thomas, Corey Webster and Antrel Rolle behind him to help guide him in his development, but since earning a starting role last season, that learning process has been accelerated.

The Giants selected Amukamara out of the University of Nebraska with the 19th overall pick in the draft back in 2011. To hear his name called at No. 19 was a surprise for many people who followed the draft closely in the days and weeks leading up to it, as Amukamara was thought by many to be a Top 10 prospect. Immediately after being drafted, Amukamara broke his foot — an injury that caused him to miss the first 10 weeks of the season before making his debut in that Sunday night game against the Eagles.

Amukamara hit a few bumps in the road in the beginning, but he has certainly made significant progress since, and was undoubtedly the more competent cornerback between him and Corey Webster for the majority of last season. Now, it's time for Amukamara to become a leader in the secondary, and he fully acknowledges and embraces his increased responsibility. In fact, he's aiming even higher than that. Amukamara has plans to become the Giants' No. 1 cornerback, and he constantly compares himself to Patrick Peterson and Richard Sherman — two other corners that were drafted in 2011 along with Amukamara and have already experienced some degree of success in the league.

While Amukamara isn't yet on the same level as Peterson or Sherman, anyone who has watched him play over the last two seasons certainly knows that he has the potential to be that good, and he most definitely has the potential to eventually be one of the top cornerbacks in the league. The importance of his development at the cornerback position can't be understated.

Opponents threw the ball early and often against the Giants' weak secondary last season, and you can expect that the same will be true this season. With Thomas coming back from his third ACL injury and Webster coming off of what was arguably the least productive season of his career, there is more weight on Amukamara's shoulders than ever before to not only take his game to the next level, but to also help usher along the development of younger guys like Jayron Hosley, who also showed a lot of promise in his rookie season last year.

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