Between Antoine Bethea, Jabrill Peppers, Michael Thomas, and Sean Chandler, the New York Giants likely believe that they have their safety position sorted out prior to the 2019 NFL Draft. However, Bethea will be 35 years old when the season starts and Chandler still has much to prove at the NFL level.
They could use another player who could improve their depth and potentially grow into a starter after Bethea’s time in the league is up. The 2019 NFL Draft has a strong class of safeties, with players to fit just about any defensive and coverage scheme. It should also have solid depth at the position for teams that might not want to spend a high round draft pick. The Kentucky secondary has been somewhat overlooked thus far in the draft process, but it was one of college football’s best last year.
Senior safety Mike Edwards was at the heart of that secondary, and all over the field for Kentucky’s defense. Might the Giants be interested on the third day of the draft?
- Experience playing multiple roles -- free safety, box safety, and slot corner.
- Flashes the ability to play tight coverage.
- Reads quarterbacks’ eyes well in zone coverage.
- Good patience and discipline sifting through route concepts
- Aggressive coming downhill, good motor in pursuit.
- Consistently productive. 278 tackles, 19 tackles for a loss, 9 interceptions, 21 passes defensed, in 3 years.
- Long speed is only average.
- Short-area quickness is average.
- Little production as a pass rusher.
- Generally reliable tackler, but isn’t a fearsome hitter and can occasionally miss a tackle.
What They’re Saying
“For almost four full seasons, Edwards was a guiding force in Kentucky’s secondary, playing all over the defense to help elevate the unit to one of the country’s best this past season. Edwards never missed a game for the Wildcats, playing in 51 and starting 44 consecutive contests while showing the smarts, toughness and versatility to lead the defense in a variety of ways.
A limited athlete and smaller safety, Edwards’ best spot at Kentucky (and likely in the NFL) will be in the slot, where his quickness and processing skills are useful in man and zone coverage. His ability and desire to play the run is a strength, and while he may be overwhelmed physically by certain ball carriers and blockers, Edwards has enough strength and technique to be a good perimeter defender against opponents’ short passing attacks and ground game. I think he could be a solid starter for certain NFL teams, but there may also be some matchups that don’t exactly play to his strengths.”
- Jon Ledyard (The Draft Network - Scouting Report)
Does He Fit The Giants?
Edwards does fit with what the Giants seem to want to do with their safety position.
He lacks elite athleticism but makes up for it with good mental footwork, so while he might never be a prototypical centerfield safety, he has the ability to play multiple roles in a secondary. And that might be his most valuable ability to the Giants might be Edwards’ ability to play the slot, the tackle box, and as a deep safety, allowing James Bettcher to effectively camouflage his blitz schemes.
If he were drafted by the Giants, Edwards would likely begin his career as a depth and special teams player, and the ability to fill a variety of roles in nickel situations is valuable for a defense.
Edwards has his faults, mostly related to his unspectacular athleticism, and that could cause him to slide to the third day of the draft. If so, the Giants should give him heavy consideration if they haven’t already added another safety.