Injuries have a way of completely changing the complexion of a position group and a team. The injury to New York Giants safety Xavier McKinney instantly changed the way their defense looks on paper. Despite being a rookie, the Giants were set to rely on McKinney to wear a lot of hats and be a major factor in their defense. His versatility and experience in Nick Saban’s complicated schemes would have allowed the Giants to mix and match looks, hide pressure, and run a variety of coverages on defense.
That’s out the window for the foreseeable future.
While we certainly hope that McKinney will be making a speedy and complete recovery, and that he is able to return at some point this year. But as of now the Giants need to plan as though they will be without McKinney until 2021. So now the question becomes “how do the Giants move on?”
The Giants’ secondary is already remarkably thin. Julian Love will become the starter at free safety, but that leaves a void if Patrick Graham was anticipating leaning on the versatility of a three-safety package.
There are a couple big names on the free agent market. Obviously Earl Thomas is among them, but it would be a stunning turn of events if the Giants signed him. The team could look to former Arizona Cardinals and Baltimore Ravens safety Tony Jefferson to step in. Jefferson is still in the prime of his career at 28 years old, but he is coming off of a torn ACL suffered in week 5 of the 2019 season.
Jefferson is a versatile and experienced safety who has plenty of experience playing in the deep part of the field as well as close to the line of scrimmage. He also has experience playing in a pair of aggressive “multiple” defenses in Arizona and Baltimore.
The other big-name option out there is former Tennessee Titans cornerback Logan Ryan. Ryan’s is a name we have come back to time and again when discussing the Giants’ secondary. While he certainly wouldn’t fill the void left by McKinney, the depth in the Giants’ secondary is such that any reinforcement is welcome. Ryan is capable of playing outside corner but has done his best work as a slot corner. That could allow the Giants to transition Darnay Holmes or Grant Haley to a hybrid safety role and preserve some of that versatility if they show the aptitude. Haley, in particular, is an intriguing option given his tackling ability.
As well, adding a veteran like Ryan should help to facilitate communication throughout the secondary, which might be disrupted by the loss of McKinney. Likewise, the Giants will be relying even more on young, unproven, and under-the-radar players and another veteran could help give the young players structure.
What do you think will happen Giants fans?
How will the Giants deal with the loss of Xavier McKinney?
This poll is closed
Sign Logan Ryan
Sign Tony Jefferson
Next Man Up! (Don’t add anyone)
For more background, thoughts, and reaction to the Giants’ injuries, listen to this emergency edition of The Chris and Joe Show.
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