New York Giants: Landon Collins set to leave, G-Men options

Landon Collins, New York Giants. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Landon Collins, New York Giants. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /
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New York Giants
Michael Thomas, New York Giants. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

Internal Candidates

The Giants weren’t deep at safety, to begin with, in 2018. Due to Collins absence, head coach Pat Shurmur, and defensive coordinator James Bettcher were able to audition a few candidates over the final quarter of the season. The player who stepped up the most (because there are so few people who could fill Collins’ cleats) was Michael Thomas.

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Thomas was signed as a free agent from Miami in March 2018. A special teams standout throughout his career, he is a three-time Pro Football Focus All-Pro. He stepped up to make 27 tackles in the final four games, with two tackles for loss. Thomas also had his second interception of the season in game 13, at Washington. The next man on the depth chart is former practice squad member and CFL player Kenny Ladler.

The Draft

Since Collins was selected in 2015, the Giants have drafted two other defensive backs, both in 2016. The first was corner Eli Apple, selected 10th overall, who was more of a hindrance than a help to Big Blue in his two seasons. They also selected free safety Darian Thompson (third round). He lasted two seasons and is now far down the Dallas Cowboys depth chart.

Recent history suggests the draft might not be the best play. There is a huge “but” here. In 2015, Collins looked like a first-round lock. He dropped and was not picked on day one. The Giants traded up for the first pick in round two and selected Collins. History might repeat itself. Should Mississippi State safety Jonathan Abram slip past round one, Gettleman should be there to trade up from number 38. The Giants have nine draft picks this year, plenty of assets at his disposal.

Outside Options

The rumor mill is spinning. Anything now is just that, a rumor. Yesterday, there were teams who were satisfied with their strong safety who are now rethinking their plans if they can land Collins. Among current free agents, Earl Thomas, if he is healed from his broken leg, is best equipped to fill Collins role on the field as well as in leadership. At 30-years-old, the former Seahawks standout would be a temporary fix.

dark. Next. Draft might not be best option for Giants new QB

Others to consider are Eric Reid (Carolina), Marcus Gilchrist (Oakland), and Kenny Vaccaro (Tennessee). There may be others as we get closer to June 1 and guaranteed bonuses.