Let me preface this post by saying I'm a huge Will Hill fan. He was on his way to becoming another great Giants redemption story. A local boy, P-Town native, former Star Ledger NJ Athlete of the Year, who was an UDFA and went on to become one of the best safeties in the NFL, a la Victor Cruz at WR. I truly hope that he doesn't get cut and remains a Giant for the forseeable future.
But moving forward, if Will Hill is cut, safety suddenly becomes a big need for us. Hear me out. Antrelle Rolle is 32, yes he's coming off an All-Pro season and I was on the extend him band wagon, I still think if he plays well this season we give him a 1-2 year contract, but he's not the safety of the future. Stevie Brownis coming off a torn ACL, and while he had a lot of interceptions in 2012, he was ranked 26th in coverage by PFF (3.2), and 55th against the run (-1.0). He also happens to be on a 1 year deal. Even if we do resign him, is he really our savior at safety for the future? Quentin Demps is a solid backup who's capable of playing spot duty, but he really makes his living on Special Teams, where he's one of the best return men in the league. He's also on a one year deal. And finally Cooper Taylor, the 2nd year player with amazing measurables (6'5'' 230lbs, 4.5 speed and a 37in vert). He was rarely healthy as a rookie and didn't exactly wow when he got playing time (altho I think if healthy, the future is very bright for him).
Taylor is the only safety under contract in 2015, and even if we resign Stevie Brown and Rolle, we're still extremely thin there and the future outlook at the position is murky at best. With the possible cutting of Hill, Safety will go from a great strength, to a big question mark. I think we can make it thru this season with Rolle, Stevie, Demps, and Taylor, but I'd feel more comfortable with the latter 3 not being relied upon so heavily. We do have a lot of cap room in 2015, but it is definately an underwhelming free agent safety class. So the question is, if Will Hill does get cut, how does this shake up our draft plans. With Taylor as our only safety going forward, we need to get a young talent infusion in the pipeline.
Since safety has been a strength, no one has mocked us a safety in any of the mock drafts I've seen. If Haha Clinton-Dix is on the board at 12, that would suddenly give us a very talented safety to build around for the future and could be considered BPA by most. Same With Calvin Pryor. If Deion Bucannon of Washington St or Jimmie Ward of Northern Illonois is on the board at 43, do we pull the trigger? The Scondary was considered a major strength 24 hours ago, I still think it's a strong unit without Hill, but with him (or another safety of that caliber) it's a dominating unit capable of smothering opposing offenses (on paper at least).
According to CBS these are the best safeties of the 2014 NFL Draft. Do we now have to pick one? And if so, who and when?
HaHa Clinton Dix-Alabama- 6'1'' 208lbs -1st Round
Calvin Pryor- Louisville-5'11'' 211lbs-1st Round
Jimmie Ward- Northern Illonois- 5'11'' 193lbs- 2nd Round
LaMarcus Joyner- Florida State- 5'8'' 184lbs- 2nd Round (I think he can play safety in the NFL as well as nickel CB)
Deion Bucannon- Washington St- 6'1'' 211- 2nd-3rd Round
Terrance Brooks- Florida St- 5'11'' 198lbs- 2nd-3rd Round
Dion Bailey- USC- 6'0'' 201lbs- 3rd-4th Round
Craig Loston- LSU-6'1'' 217lbs- 4th Round
Ed Reynolds- Stanford- 6'1'' 207lbs- 4th Round
Kenny Laddler- Vanderbilt- 6'0'' 207lbs- 4th -5th Round
Brock Vereen-Minnesota- 6'0'' 199lbs- 4th-5th Round
Ahmad Dixon- Baylor- 6'0'' 212lbs- 5th Round