After a terrible defensive performance in 2015, GM Jerry Reese took it upon himself to fix his team. The New York Giants locked down star players like defensive end Olivier Vernon, defensive tackle Damon Harrison, and safety Landon Collins. In 2016, the Giants had one of the top ranked defenses.
This offseason, the Giants are faced with a safety competition filled with both veterans and rookies. Who is the favorite, in the hunt, and the darkhorse?
Favorite: Landon Collins
A major force on the Giants’ defense last season was Landon Collins. Collins had a breakout year in 2016, helping New York become the second ranked team for total points allowed. Drafted out of Alabama in 2015, Collins had a slow first year. Collins finished last season with five interceptions including a pick-six, 13 passes defended, four sacks, and 125 total tackles, earning him a Pro Bowl invitation and a nomination for Defensive Player of the Year. Collins is only 23, years away from his prime. He is by far the favorite in the safety competition for 2017.
In the Hunt: Darian Thompson
Selected in the third round of the 2016 draft, Darian Thompson has barely touched the field. During preseason, Thompson was limited by a shoulder. He played in only two games during the regular season after suffering a lisfranc injury that required surgery. Thompson finished the season with seven tackles. It’s hard to say whether he will be the starter while being injury prone.
Darkhorse: Jadar Johnson
After the draft, the Giants signed many undrafted free agents to add to their rookie selection. One of these signees is Jadar Johnson, safety out of Clemson. Johnson has stellar passing game skills, recording 60 tackles and five interceptions in his senior year with the National Champion Tigers. If Johnson can make it through training camp, he has a real shot of being Collins right hand man.
Opening Day Starter: Landon Collins