The New York Giants do not appear to be entirely comfortable with the free safety position.
They formally moved Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie from corner to free safety before waiving him when he wouldn’t also accept a pay cut. They have also added a number of under-the-radar safeties who might compete for a role on the defense as well as on special teams.
Given the importance of coverage to an aggressive, blitzing defense, it is possible that the Giants could look to the 2018 NFL Draft to add to their defensive secondary. If they do, they could look at Justin Reid out of Stanford. Likely to be drafted in the second round, Reid is one of the top coverage safeties in the draft.
But would that be enough to draw the Giants’ eye?
- Versatile free safety prospect. Can play a true center-fielding free safety or cover the slot.
- Good athlete. Quick feet and fluid hips to stick in coverage with running backs or receivers.
- Good size and frame for the position.
- Good play recognition.
- Improved each year at stanford. Highly productive in 2017 (94 tackles, 6.5 for a loss, 1 sack, 6 passes defensed, 5 interceptions, 1 forced fumble)
- Brother is Pro Bowl safety Eric Reid.
- Needs to become a more consistent, and disciplined, tackler.
- Could stand to improve play strength. Sometimes struggles to disengage from blockers.
- Backpedal is a bit awkward. Seems more comfortable in off-man or zone coverage underneath.
What they’re saying
Sources Tell Us
”There aren’t too many issues in his game. If he tests well he could sneak into the back half of the first is my guess. He’s better in coverage than his brother.” -- NFC General Manager
- via NFL.com
Does he fit the Giants?
In another draft Reid might be in the conversation as the top safety in his class. However, the presence of Minkah Fitzpatrick and Derwin James will push him down boards some.
But while he doesn’t quite have their versatility and utility, Reid is a good free safety prospect in his own right. He has the versatility to come down and cover slot receivers as well as play as a true free safety in a single-high look, which should give freedom to his future defensive coordinator.
While Reid is not a perfect analog to Tyrann Mathieu, that versatility and the playmaking ability he showed this past year are traits that James Bettcher maximized in the Cardinals’ defense. Reid would make an intriguing addition to the Giants’ secondary along with Landon Collins, and bring a skill-set that Darian Thompson and Andrew Adams don’t share.
Considering that the Giants moved Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie to the free safety position before cutting him, it wouldn’t be surprising to see them move to add a versatile coverage player to the secondary at some point in the draft.