The New York Giants clearly need help at the safety position. We have thoroughly documented the options they have for getting that help. One of those options is drafting Alabama safety Landon Collins with the ninth overall pick. Let's continue our 'Nine for No. 9' series by making the case for, and against, using the ninth pick in the 2015 NFL Draft on Collins.
The case for Collins
A little something different today. Making the case for Collins will be Erik Evans of SB Nation's Alabama web site, Roll 'Bama Roll. Below, yours truly will make the case against Collins.
Landon Collins is a great fit for the Giants. 1. He fills a natural need at strong safety, where he excels in run support and is a roving headhunter. 2. He has the versatility, makeup speed, lateral quickness and experience to play the free safety position - where he split time at Alabama. 3. He has a very high football IQ. While Trey Depriest was the titular captain of the '14 Tide defense, more often than not, it was Collins making the calls from his safety spot, getting the front seven aligned. 4. He is a sure tackler, which has benefit not just in the secondary but also on special teams, where he blocked a punt and made 27 tackles in just three season. 5. While not the most gifted one-on-one coverage guy, he is very good with the ball in the air, and even played three games at dime corner as a freshman. 6. For all the rave reviews of Saban's corners, it is the safeties that have been the can't-miss guys: Sunseri, Johnson, Clinton-Dix, Barron ... Collins is the latest in that group of day-one, NFL-ready players.
Given the Giants lack of depth, health issues and inexperience, as well as the ground-friendly attacks of the NFC East (not to mention the Giants' 4.9 YPC average vs. the run,) Landon fills more than one need immediately, and, importantly, he has never struggled with health or had discipline issues. I'm confident that you will enjoy his play and he'll be worth every penny of a rookie deal.
The case against Collins
No doubt that Collins should be a good NFL player. No doubt the Giants could use help at safety. No doubt Collins profiles as the best player in the draft at his position. Collins probably would be a Day 1 starter for the Giants at strong safety. None of that, however, means he should be the ninth overall pick in the draft.
If Collins was a rangy, difference-making free safety you could easily bang the table for him at No. 9. He isn't though. He is a box safety. Think about the Seattle Seahawks. He is Kam Chancellor and not Earl Thomas. Thomas is a three-time All Pro taken 14th in the 2010 NFL Draft. Chancellor is a three-time Pro Bowler taken in the fifth round of the same draft. Point is, you can get what Collins profiles to be later in the draft. In this draft, his name just might be Jaquiski Tartt of Samford. If you are going to take a safety at No. 9 he better profile to be what Thomas is. It's the asset allocation/positional value argument all over again.
It isn't about whether or not Collins profiles to be a good NFL player. He does. It isn't about need, because the Giants could clearly use Collins' skills. It's about the value, and it's similar to the 'you don't draft a guard in the top 10' argument. Is there enough value in a box safety to take him ninth overall?