New York Giants Landon Collins and Darian Thompson Could Become The NFL’s Best Young Safety Duo
There was a long list of shortcomings for the New York Giants defense in 2015-16. None more apparent than the disappointing play at the safety position. But, what was once a weakness the past couple years could be the team’s greatest strength in the near future.
The Giants were last in the NFL in passing yards per game (298.9) and 29th in passing yards per play (7.50). Granted, four Giant safeties, including Mykkele Thompson, Bennett Jackson, Nat Berhe, and Justin Currie, ended up on the IR before even playing a regular season game. Big Blue’s 2013 5th round draft pick, Cooper Taylor, was hit with the injury bug once again, and placed on the IR with a concussion.
The misfortunes seemed endless at the safety position. Fortunately, there was one bright spot in Landon Collins. Collins by no means had a stellar rookie season. The statistics will certainly support this claim. However, Collins started all 16 games and proved to be a consistent tackler, especially against the run. The second-year Alabama safety will provide the defense with a sense of stability and consistency.
The other safety position is still vacant. With Cooper Taylor missing OTAs for a sports hernia, Nat Berhe, Mykkele Thompson, and Bennett Jackson, will once again be battling it out. Whispers around camp, however, are that rookie Darian Thompson out of Boise State has stood out amongst veteran competition.
Unlike Landon Collins, who struggled to defend the deep ball last year, Thompson’s specialty is just that – being a ball hawk. Setting the Boise State record for career interceptions (19) is no small feat considering Thompson missed the final two regular season games of 2016 with a concussion.
Thompson is an all-around talent at the free safety position. Not only does he have a knack for picking the pockets of quarterbacks, Thompson is a strong tackler both in space and behind the line of scrimmage. Another good sign for the Giants: Thompson hasn’t backed down from being a leader on the field and making calls.
“That’s just an attribute that I have as a player. I’m going to continue to try to do that,” Thompson said. “I’m not really scared to be wrong, especially out here at practice.”
“DT is a guy who looks like he is comfortable in his skin, he can communicate well and we know he has good balls skills,” coach McAdoo said Monday. “That showed up in his stat line and on his film study and he is making the most of his opportunities.”
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While the safety position competition is long from being decided, signs are pointing in Thompson’s direction to join Landon Collins in what could be the best young safety duo in the NFL.