2013 NFL Free Agency: Potential Giants' target -- safety George Wilson

George Wilson - Thomas Campbell-US PRESSWIRE

If the Giants lose Kenny Phillips in free agency could veteran George Wilson, released by the Buffalo Bills, be his replacement?

George Wilson was released Monday by the Buffalo Bills. Could the veteran safety fit with the New York Giants?

The Giants could be facing the loss of Kenny Phillips to free agency this off-season. They have Stevie Brown and Antrel Rolle as starters, with a promising young player, Will Hill, as the third safety.

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Wilson, an eight-year veteran, will be 32 next season. He is still, however, a good, durable player. He has missed only three games in the past five seasons. He also has history with Giants' defensive coordinator Perry Fewell, having been a key player in Fewell's defense when Fewell was defensive coordinator and interim head coach in Buffalo.

Brian Galliford, editor of SB Nation's Bills' web site, Buffalo Rumblings, has, of course, watched Wilson closely for the past few seasons. How much does he think Wilson has left, and does he think Wilson to the Giants is a possibility? Via e-mail, he wrote:

The Bills were rotating Wilson out of the lineup last year in favor of 2011 fourth-round pick Da'Norris Searcy; Wilson was still getting most of the reps, but it was a 66/34 split at the height of it. He appeared to drop off a bit from a coverage standpoint last season, but is still a pretty good safety - and he's a great person, too.

Fewell was on the Bills staff that turned Wilson into a safety (he was a wide receiver when he first got here). It would not surprise me at all if Fewell were at least intrigued by the idea of a reunion. Wilson's not great by any means, and he's winding down, but he's still pretty dependable back there.
Rotated or not, Wilson had a career-high 104 tackles in 2012 -- the second 100+ tackle season of his career. He had no interceptions after getting four in 2011, but did have five passes defensed.

Pro Football Focus graded Wilson at +12.4 in 2012, eighth in the league among safeties. He was +7.4 in coverage, indicating that while he may have slowed slightly he doesn't make mistakes. PFF also ranked him among the top 10 safeties in the league in tackling efficiency and in coverage in 2012.

From ESPN, here is one more opinion of Wilson's abilities:

Scouts Inc. gave him a grade of 77 and this report the last time they wrote him up:

Wilson is a big, physical safety with excellent power. He bounced back from injury to have an excellent 2011 season. He lacks great speed and lateral burst to close in the open field and is most effective attacking the line of scrimmage. He anticipates well and maintains leverage best in combination zone coverages. Wilson has some limitations, but he brings toughness and attitude.

At 6-foot, 214 pounds, perhaps Wilson could fill that box safety role Fewell loves to utilize in a three-safety package. He was five-time team captain in Buffalo and could perhaps bring some leadership to the Giants' locker room.

The Giants had some interest in Wilson a couple of seasons ago when he was a free agent. This time around it wouldn't seem likely that there would be a bidding war for Wilson. Perhaps a one-year deal at or near the veteran minimum might be all it would take, although there is no way to know for sure until free agency opens March 12.

Your thoughts' Giants' fans? If the Giants lose Phillips, is Wilson a player you would like to see the Giants pursue as a short-term replacement?


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