Who’s starting at Free Safety?
by Spiro Kasabian @NYSwatsguy_spi
James Bettcher is bringing his new 3-4 scheme to the New York Giants. There are a lot of positions that are still in flux. One of the biggest question marks is the Free Safety spot. Currently, there are 3 players that will be fighting for the starting spot.
Thompson is entering his 3rd year with the Giants. Having flashed in his rookie year before going down the 3rd round pick had high expectations set for him in 2017. Many would say, he failed to live up to those expectations last year.
The consensus on Thompson coming out of Boise State was that he didn’t take great angles when tackling. That weakness reared its ugly head many times last year. To say that he was below-average at tackling would be an understatement. He also didn’t seem to flash the same play making ability he showed in college and early on in 2016.
Thompson finished the year with 75 tackles, 6 passes defended, and 1 INT. He was largely a non-factor last year beside Collins. This year, he will be expected to take a major jump up. This is now his 2nd full season in the NFL and having not been drafted by the current regime, Thompson’s will have to prove he belongs.
Andrew Adams came in as a UDFA in 2016 and started 13 games, while filling in admirably for Darian Thompson when he was injured during his rookie year. Adams’ main calling card is consistency. Adams will never wow you with his playmaking abilities, but he has been counted on to be in the right place. Playing part-time last year, he finished with 34 tackles and 2 passes defended.
Adams’ main contribution is on special teams, so he will always have a spot on the roster. If he shows that he has a better grasp of the new defense than Thompson, I don’t think Bettcher will hesitate to put Adams in the starting lineup. Adams is a better tackler, but he does not cover much ground in the passing game. For what it is worth, PFF graded Adams out to a 70.1 last year in limited time, while Thompson scored only a 52.
Michael Thomas was signed this past offseason to be a Special Teams ace. Having said that, he does have starting experience at FS in the NFL, having started 25 games over 5 years with the Miami Dolphins.
Michael Thomas is much like Adams in that he is not a playmaker, but he was a consistent tackler and was able to play the position without being a liability. If the two incumbents fail to grab hold of the starting FS spot in the new scheme, don’t be surprised to see the veteran Thomas take the spot.
Right now, I think Thompson will be given the first shot at being the starting Free Safety. For all intents and purposes though, this is an open competition. This is a position battle that bears watching this summer. So who’s starting at Free Safety?