The New York Giants didn't waste any time in getting the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft started. Rather than play the board and wait for their natural 40th pick, the Giants traded their fourth-round pick and a 7seventh-round pick to the Tennessee Titans for the 33rd overall selection. They used that pick to select Landon Collins out of Alabama.
Collins made his mark as a box safety and special teams ace for Alabama. Collins is one of the most impactful run defenders in the draft and is also one of the best special teams players in college football. And while he might struggle in coverage on wide receivers, he has more than enough coverage ability to match up against -- most -- tight ends and running backs in coverage.
In his prospect profile of Collins, Big Blue View's Jesse Bartolis had this to say of Collins:
Is Landon Collins a value pick at ninth in the draft in every draft? No. In this one? I think he's well in the range. Is he a possible pick? Yes, I believe so. It depends on what the Giants are able to do in free agency and whether or not they believe he has enough range to not be a liability in coverage. Collins should be a good NFL player who will make a positive impact on a defense, especially in the run game, which is something the Giants desperately need. Also in this draft class there are no great fits for the Giants. The edge rushers that are most likely to be available when the Giants pick don't fit the system perfectly (Beasley/Ray/Gregory), the offensive linemen are not value picks or are better candidates at guard. The Giants will end up with a good player and Collins, while not ideal, could and should be in the mix. Collins is far and away the best safety in this class and worthy of a first-round grade in any safety class. Everyone wants Earl Thomas. Collins is not that, but he might be Kam Chancellor.
I wasn't fond of the idea of drafting Collins at ninth overall. I felt as though ninth overall was too rich for a box safety who might be a linebacker in disguise. However, after the middle of the first round Collins becomes a good value. He should help solve a lot of the Giants' issues covering over the middle.
Drafting Collins along with the additions of Ereck Flowers, Kenrick Ellis, George Selvie, J.T. Thomas, and Thomas Casillas, the Giants' vision for how their team will look in 2015 is very clear. The Giants want to run the ball, but they want to dominate the run on the defensive side of the ball and upgrade their woeful special teams. It also helps Steve Spagnuolo's new defense that Collins is both a good blitzer and a disciplined defender.
Depending on how the Giants feel about the safeties already on their roster, they may not be done addressing the back seven of their defense. Free safeties like Derron Smith, Anthony Harris, Cody Prewitt, and Durell Eskridge are still on the board.
Also, Beezers should feel free to smile a bit, too: I still feel that Collins could be a linebacker in all but name.
As for the price, using the 108th and 245th picks to move up and get a guy who has had a first-round grade seems to be a fair, and shouldn't significantly limit the Giants in adding talent to their roster. The seventh-round pick is essentially free, because it was the compensation the Giants received for trading kicker Brandon McManus to the Broncos.