New York Giants: Safeties can dominate during the 2017 season

Jan 26, 2017; Orlando, FL, USA; New York Giants safety Landon Collins (21) works out at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 26, 2017; Orlando, FL, USA; New York Giants safety Landon Collins (21) works out at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

The New York Giants have the potential to dominate on defense in 2017. The safety positions will be the key to that success.

For the last decade or so, the New York Giants have struggled to put together a tandem of safeties that instilled much fear in their opposition. Last year was the emergence of Landon Collins, an incredible fresh breath of air in the secondary.

This is something that’s been missing for a long time. A player who can do things that maybe no one else in the league can quite emulate—a dominate force, a playmaker.

However, the Collins’ breakout was nowhere close to predicted. After a shaky rookie campaign, the outlook on Collins heading into his sophomore year was looking for more of a building block year, rather than the birth of the next dominant Giants defensive player.

The reason I remind you of where we were a year ago is because Collins was not even the safety I was most excited about a year ago. That player was Darian Thompson.

Thompson was the Giants’ third-round selection in the 2016 NFL Draft after shining at Boise State. He entered the NFL as the all-time leader in interceptions in the Mountain West Conference.

He finished his college career with 19 interceptions, passing Eric Weddle, who has consistently ranked amongst the top safeties in the NFL for the last decade.

Thompson projects very well, but at this point, it’s mostly just that: projections. Thompson looked great in his limited time on the field last year, but he was shut down in the early fall with a lingering foot injury.

The excitement was tempered, but did not disappear. High expectations are swirling yet again as we hear Thompson is looking great so far this summer. The expectation is that he’s in a good position to be the opening day free safety alongside All-Pro Landon Collins.

Two safeties to be excited about—a treat for a Giants fans. If only it stopped there.

Last year when Thompson went down, Andrew Adams stepped in. Adams was an undrafted rookie out of Connecticut, but never seemed to be out of place despite his baptism by fire in 2016.

Not only did Adams do a tremendous job of making the Big Blue fans forget about Thompson for a few months, but he also began making a name for himself. Pro Football Focus ranked him as the ninth best rookie in 2016 at any position.

Here’s what Pro Football Focus said about Adams entering Week 11 last year.

"Another newcomer, Andrew Adams may not be a familiar name to some, considering he was undrafted out of Connecticut and has only been starting since Week 4. Since then, though, he has earned the ninth-highest grade among safeties over that span, and is doing it against both the run and pass. For the season, Adams has allowed only five of his 10 targets for 48 yards, has and been a huge part of the Giants’ defensive turnaround."

As the page is now fully turned on 2016, and the 2017 season is in our grasps, this Big Blue safeties room is licking its chops.

Landon Collins leads the way, as he will undoubtedly be a popular pre-season pick for Defensive Player of the Year. You have a guy in Andrew Adams who looks to build off a great rookie season, and establish himself as a top-half starter in the league.

And, of course, a player in Thompson who is eager to join the party, and chomping at the bits to prove himself.

The Giants enter 2017 with three potential difference-makers at the safety position. Health will play a factor, but if these guys can all have a chance to play together, they can be one of the most dominant groups in the NFL.

Opposing offenses: you have be warned. We didn’t even get to the other 9 positions on the field yet.

Must Read: The free safety battle will determine the outcome of the season

The New York Giants have a chance to dominate on defense.