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Secondary assessment heading into the Draft

Gross Blau Oberst : 4/17/2017 2:01 pm
Heading into the draft, I was interested in looking at position groups to assess the roster for 2017 and 2018.
So, playing armchair GM, here is my assessment………………

Starters: The starting corners are clear with Eli Apple, DRC and Jenoris Jenkins. The starting Safeties are Landon Collins (SS) and Darian Thompson (FS).

Depth: The concern in the secondary is about the quality of the Giants depth, and lack of a developmental player to assume a starting role when a starter goes down in 2017, or departs the team in 2018.

At Corner, the Giants depth includes Trevin Wade whose is best suited as a reserve slot CB, and Michael Hunter, whom I believe is a developing plyer who needs to be more consistent, but has some skills and ability. Donte Deayon was a nice training camp story, overcoming the UDRFA odds to make the roster, but is still a long shot and replaceable / upgradeable. Valentino Blake is a newcomer to the Giants, with slot and special team’s qualities. How he fits in the secondary heading into camp is an unknown.

Leon Hall is currently an unsigned UFA and may not be brought back for 2017. Halls’ best days are behind him. He may see reserve Safety play time (if he returns).

At Safety, the Giants depth includes Andrew Adams, Nat Berhe, Mykkele Thompson, Rahim Moore, Eric Pinkins, and Ryan Murphy. Of these, Berhe (concussions) and M. Thompson (achilles and knee) arguably have the most talent and chances to stick (as they were NYG draft choices). For these two to make the 2017 roster, they must produce – something both have struggled with due to injuries.

Adams played more (and better) than expected in 2016. Will he continue to develop and become a quality reserve? Moore appears to be a reclamation project, while Pinkens and Murphy are relatively unknowns. Seeing them compete in camp this summer will be very telling. More / better depth is needed at Safety too.

Health: For the starters, Apple, DRC and Jenkins were mostly healthy throughout 2016. Apple had some hamstring issues early on missing weeks 3 (Redskins) and 4 (Vikings), followed by a groin injury that kept him out of week 6 (Raven), but he was healthy down the stretch. DRC missed the week 3 & 4 games as well with a Groin. Jenkins had a back injury that kept him out of the week 16 (Eagles) game. Jenkins returned for the finale and the playoff games. None of the 2016 injuries to the starters were serious or lingering. DRC does have a history of back issues that warrants watching.

The health concern is with Darian Thompson recovery from Lis Franc surgery. All reports to date are positive, and D. Thompson is running with cleats and back peddling. His continued health is very important to the Giants secondary. His health will be closely monitored throughout camp.

For the reserves, the key injury questions involve Berhe (concussions) and M. Thompson (achilles and knee). I am not confident in Berhe’s ability to remain healthy after 2 concussions in 2016, especially with his style of play (AKA “the missile”). Maybe he should quit before suffering permanent brain injury. The odds are probably against M. Thompson, but we can hope he makes a full recovery and is able to become a valued reserve at Safety. Time will tell for both very soon.

Age: Heading into the 2017 season, only DRC will be over 30 years of age (31). Jenoris Jenkins will be 29, and Trevin Wade 28. The rest of the crew will be 23-27 years old. Minimal age concerns for this group.

Contractually, the Giants are in good shape for the 2017-2018 seasons with all of the starters and many of the reserves locked up. Only Berhe, Pinkins, Moore and Blake are not signed beyond 2018.

The real question is which 2018/2019 contracts are viewed as good value, and which are viewed as excessive…………….

Salary Cap Allocation: 22% of the Giants salary cap obligations are committed to the Secondary, which is a higher allocation than most other teams in the league (8th highest as of March 2017). However, that investment matches the Giants philosophy of prioritizing the front and back 4 in their defensive schemes, (economizing on LB’ers, etc.).

According to Over the Cap, the largest contracts in the Giants secondary for 2017 and 2018 include:

Jenkins at $12.9M base salary in in 2017 and 2018 with a $15M salary cap hit for 2017 and $13M in 2018. .

DRC’s at $6.9M base salary in in 2017 and $6.48M in 2018. DRCs salary cap numbers are $9M for 2017 and $8.5M in 2018.

Eli Apple, Landon Collins, and Darian Thompson are all still on their rookie contracts ranging from $900K – $1M for 2018 / 2018 and salary caps of $3.4M, $1.6M, and $812K for 2017, increasing to $4M, $2M, and $1M and in 2018.

The salary for the reserve DBs are favorable with M. Thompson at $672K in 2017 and $762K in 2018. Adams, Hunter, Deayon and Murphy are the other reserve DBs signed for 2017 and 2018 ranging from $465K - $540K in 2017 and $555K - $630K in 2018 if they are still on the roster.

Salary Assessment : The Giants appear to be in good shape for 2017-2018 seasons, with fiscal room to add more talent in the draft.

Bottom Line: Depth at Corner and Safety are needs, with CB perhaps a bit more pressing due to DRCs age, salary, and health. If DRC remains healthy and a high performer, then he will likely be back in 2018. Otherwise 2017 may be his last season in New York. Having someone on the roster to groom as DRCs successor would be very wise, and an insurance policy against a starter going down.

Safety seems to be one of those recurring challenge areas for the Giants. Year after year the Giants bring in a promising player only to see the promise fade away due to injury (Chad Jones, N. Berhe, M. Thompson, D. Thompson, etc.). Will Darian Thompson reemerge as the starting Free Safety, and who will back him up and be the nickel Safety? Does Mykkele Thompson stay healthy and become a dependable reserve?

Conclusion: Look for the Giants to draft a CB on day 2, and a Safety in the later rounds, or as a preferred UDRFA. Depth is needed, as is a successor at CB.

annexOPR : 4/17/2017 2:05 pm : link

Nice analysis  
Kevin in Annapolis : 4/17/2017 2:11 pm : link
thanks GBO
I'd have no problem drafting a CB in rd 1 or 2..  
Big Blue '56 : 4/17/2017 2:12 pm : link
As to Hall, sure, he's not like he was, but as a reserve S, I hope we consider re-signing him as year 2 from back surgery may very well find him recovered enough to revisit some of his skills he was trying to recapture last year, post-op..The Giants will obviously determine his fitness to re-sign
Agree with the need for another CB. Wade just doesn't cut it.  
yatqb : 4/17/2017 2:31 pm : link
Good thing about this draft......  
Simms11 : 4/17/2017 2:51 pm : link
it's deep in quality CBs and Safeties! I think we will concentrate on drafting the secondary depth on Day 3 and with the follow on UDFA frenzy.
Agree on CB need, and there will be good players from the third round  
Giantgator : 4/17/2017 3:02 pm : link
on. Trevin Wade is not under contract-let's hope it stays that way.
AcidTest : 4/17/2017 3:39 pm : link
post. Thanks. Deserves a sticky.
I like Rasul Douglas and David Jones FS Richmond  
adamg : 4/17/2017 6:10 pm : link
On day 3. I hope they snag the best corner available by the fourth pick. Whether Jourdan Lewis, Rasul Douglas, Damontae Kazee or someone else slips.

But Wade isn't on the roster, so that's kind of a major flaw with this post.

Yup, Wade is not on the bad  
Gross Blau Oberst : 4/17/2017 6:55 pm : link
I am flawed. Thanks for pointing it out.

We are all assuming Thompson  
Jay in Toronto : 4/17/2017 7:28 pm : link
plays under real fire as well as he showed in training camp.

Of course I hope so, but it's not a slam dunk.
WE need to improve the depth at CB and FS...  
Torrag : 4/17/2017 10:32 pm : link
...but you can't always fix every little thing before the season. There is no such thing as a perfect roster in the salary cap era.
RE: Yup, Wade is not on the bad  
adamg : 4/18/2017 3:25 am : link
In comment 13431790 Gross Blau Oberst said:
I am flawed. Thanks for pointing it out.

I was pointing out the post's flaws; yours, I can't attest to. I imagine they're minimal. Plus, I picture you as having a tight physique, so if all else fails, you're a gorgeous son of a bitch.

I'm glad you pointed out the veneer that is our secondary. We definitely could use some younger players at depth; DRC or Jack Rabbit going down would be a major blow. Lucky that the draft has such good talent there going into the middle rounds.
Fantastic Post GBO  
GMen23 : 4/18/2017 9:23 am : link
Thank you.
Would not be surprised  
Doomster : 4/18/2017 9:24 am : link
to see a couple of picks being DB's....we have no depth at all....
It's time to get one more CB prospect into the pipeline  
JonC : 4/18/2017 9:26 am : link
If he has the talent to be coached up behind DRC and can play the slot, all the better. Two birds one stone.

Need a FS to hedge Thompson, he's a bit slightly built for the rigors of the NFL at a young age.

Thank you  
Bill2 : 4/18/2017 9:56 am : link
Gross Blau Oberst

Very nicely done
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