clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Without Will Hill, what do the Giants do now at safety?

New, comments

A look at the safeties left on the roster, and some thoughts about potential free-agent additions.

Could Terrell Thomas help the Giants as a safety?
Could Terrell Thomas help the Giants as a safety?
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Let's move on from the angst over whether or not the New York Giants should have waived Will Hill. They have done it. Right or wrong, good or bad, they have to live with the decision. So, too, does the fan base. The discussion now has to turn to the safety position itself, and whether or not the Giants have enough talent and depth there entering the 2014 season.

So, let's do that. It is pretty obvious that the Giants approached the offseason believing they might have to go on without Will. They made sure the brought back Stevie Brown, who missed 2013 with a torn ACL after a breakout 2012 season. They replaced veteran safety Ryan Mundy with veteran safety/kickoff returner Quintin Demps. They selected Nat Berhe out of San Diego State in the fifth round of the 2014 NFL Draft. So, they tried to put a contingency plan in place.

The starters are expected to be defensive captain and 2013 Pro Bowl Antrel Rolle and Brown, who was second in the league in interceptions in 2012 before tearing his ACL in a preseason game against the Jets last season. His injury opened the door for Hill. Now, Hill's absence puts Brown back in the starting role. He should handle it just fine, provided his surgically-repaired knee can take the pounding.

Brown seemed to be moving well during a recent OTA witnessed by the media, and said "I feel good right now." The real test, though, will come when the games begin.

Demps, entering his seventh season, replaces Mundy as the veteran backup. The six starts he made for the Kansas City Chiefs last season were the only starts of the 64 NFL games he has played in.

The Giants will hope that Taylor, drafted in the fifth round a season ago, can take a step forward after playing very little in 2013. It is unlikely they expect Berhe to contribute much on defense as a rookie.

Is this group enough? Should the Giants be scouring the free-agent market looking to bring in another veteran safety for depth? To be honest, there isn't much out there except a handful of aging veteran trying to squeeze one more year out of their careers. Former Denver Broncos safety Mike Adams, 33, former Carolina Panthers safety Quintin MIkell, 34, former Arizona Cardinals safety Yeremiah Bell, 36, and 35-year-old Ed Reed are out there hoping to find work. So is oft-injured 31-year-old Jim Leonhard. Not much to get excited about.

How about we toss another name into the hopper as potential safety depth? What about former Giants cornerback Terrell Thomas? This is not a recommendation that the Giants bring in Thomas and move him to safety. Rather, it's an idea worth discussing.

Thomas, 29, played pretty well for the Giants last season while coming back from a third ACL surgery, including ones that cost him both the 2011 and 2012 seasons. He played in all 16 games, starting seven. The Giants chose not to bring him back, instead adding Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Walter Thurmond and Zack Bowman, and re-signing Trumaine McBride.

Thomas played almost exclusively in the slot last season, and has been hoping to find a team that would give him a chance to show he can still play on the outside. So far he has found no takers, with his thrice-repaired knee and the fact that he had a poor 106.0 passer-rating against last season likely being factors.

Thomas, though, has long been thought of as a player who had the skills and size at 6-foot-1, 200 pounds, to play the safety position. If he can't find a taker for his skills at corner, might Thomas consider coming back to the Giants and trying to extend his career by changing positions?

Just food for thought.