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2016 NFL Draft: A.J. Stamps could be a sleeper at safety

The Giants seem set on giving Nat Berhe, Bennett Jackson, and Mykkele Thompson opportunities to take the other starting safety job. Could Kentucky's A.J. Stamps be a sleeper for the same position?

Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

One of the glaring weaknesses of the New York Giants' defense in the 2015 season was the safety position. Second-round rookie Landon Collins improved over the course of the season, particularly as he was allowed to play closer to the line of scrimmage.

The other position, however, was an absolute train wreck.

Nat Berhe looked promising in his brief forays onto the field in 2014, but missed the season due to injury. Bennett Jackson looked like a legitimate starter after converting from cornerback. His feel for coverage and range complimented Collins well and the two looked dynamic in pre-season. Rookie Mykkele Thompson looked promising as well, however both he and Jackson were lost to injury as well.

The Giants tried Brandon Merriweather and Craig Dahl as temporary patches, but while they had experience in their favor, they weren't very good (or any good, really). Cooper Taylor briefly looked good at along side of Collins when he was brought back to the active defense, but his season was ended by a concussion.

Once again, the Giants look to either the draft or the young player already on their roster to lock down the back end of their defense. If they can't, or don't, spend a high draft pick on a safety, they could look to a late-round sleeper like Kentucky's A.J. Stamps


Height: 5-foot-11

Weight: 193 pounds

Arm Length: 31 3/8 inches

Hand Size: 9 5/8 inches

40 Time: 4.79 seconds (combine), 4.65 seconds (pro day, included because of the issues around the Combine this year)

3-Cone: 7.17

Short Shuttle: 4.25

Vertical Jump: 33 inches

Broad Jump: 9' 7"


  • Shows good range and some instincts in center field.
  • A former receiver, Stamps knows how to play the ball in the air.
  • Willing run defender, comes downhill hard and fast.
  • Doesn't hesitate to throw his body into tackles.
  • Trusts what he sees and commits quickly


  • Junior college transfer, and relatively new to the position, Stamps only has two years of experience in major college football, and limited experience at the safety position.
  • Only average athleticism and limited long speed.
  • Slightly undersized with a lean, wiry build for a safety.
  • Like many aggressive college players, he can be prone to biting on play fakes.

Prospect Video

Big Board Rankings

Big Blue View - Not in Top 100

Mocking The Draft - Not in Top 100

CBS - 450th

Draft Tek - 359th

Does He Fit With the Giants?

The Giants appear to be set on the course of allowing the young safeties already on their roster the chance to prove themselves. Assuming they don't invest a high draft pick in a safety, Stamps is the kind of player who may interest them to continue to fill out the back end of their defense. He has adequate size for the position, the kind of ball skills they lacked last year, and the versatility to come down and play slot corner if necessary.

Final Thoughts

This was one of the profiles I had been looking forward to. Stamps caught my eye while studying Bud Dupree and Za'Darius Smith prior to the 2015 draft. There hasn't been much buzz around Stamps that I've been able to hear, but he remains one of my favorite "sleeper" picks. I can't help but like the way he plays the ball in the air and doesn't hesitate to throw himself into a tackle.

If he can continue to develop mentalthe  side of his game, which he should be able to do with good coaching, I think he has the chance to be a late-round steal for the right team.