With the 2015 NFL Draft already right around the corner, it is a crucial one for a New York Giants team that is in dire need of upgrades on both sides of the ball. One position in particular is the strong safety position. The Giants had injury issues that decimated their cornerback position and placed more pressure on the team’s safeties, led by strong safety Antrel Rolle and free safeties Stevie Brown and Quintin Demps. Rookie strong safety Nat Berhe also saw limited reps behind Rolle and did fairly well in his limited opportunities while all the other safeties had their fare share of struggles this season.
With the firing of defensive coordinator Perry Fewell, some players who believed in his system might be thinking about following him out the door. Rolle, who was a big believer in Fewell, is set to be a free agent and is coming off one of his worst seasons as a pro. At age 32, the Giants may not be willing to pay him a large money, long term contract he will most likely be seeking. Rolle might now even want to stay with Big Blue now that Fewell is gone.
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This leaves the Giants with some serious concerns at strong safety. Do they overpay for an aging Rolle who could be entering a decline in skill? Or do they hand the reigns over to a fifth-round pick in Berhe who has had very limited playing time? Or do they address the position in this upcoming draft?
If they choose the latter, Landon Collins from Alabama would be a great option in the first round if the Giants choose to value the safety position over their glaring needs on the offensive and defensive lines as well as linebacker.
Collins is a massive 6’0, 216lb safety who excels at being an in the box safety much like Rolle was. His athleticism allows him to get to the ball carrier quickly and he has the power to bring down any running back in the NFL. Collins isn’t the greatest in coverage but has the ability to cover tight ends, something the Giants have been sorely missing since they cut Will Hill before the start of last season.
Collins would certainly be available when the Giants go on the clock with the number 9 pick in this upcoming draft, but the Giants will have to take into consideration which other top prospects are also available to best fill their many holes. If Collins is the best player available at the number 9 pick, the Giants would be well suited for a playmaker like Collins who would bring a toughness that the Giants used to make their trademark but have lacked for several seasons.
There are a couple of routes the G-Men could take when they get ready to make their first draft choice, but if Collins is the top guy on the Giants list depending on who gets drafted before him, then Collins would be a great choice although it would be very hard to pass up a player like linebacker Shaq Thompson, defensive end/linebacker Shane Ray, or left tackle Andrus Peat. All of them plus Collins would be perfect for the Giants, and they really cannot go wrong with either player.
The positive of drafting Collins is that they can easily address the defensive line and linebacker spots in the second and third rounds because of the great depth of those classes in this year’s draft. It really all depends on cuts and free agency that will dictate where the Giants go with their first draft pick, but if Rolle leaves, Collins is the perfect long term replacement that will potentially pay off big time for the Giants.