NFL Betting: Safeties Duke It Out for a Starting Spot
Following a horrible 2014 season on the defensive side the New York Giants decided to blow up and rebuild the safety position for the likes of NFL Betting fans. Gone are established vets Quentin Demps, Stevie Brown, and Antrel Rolle. With the safety position being completely rebuilt, and it still being early in camp, the Giants are still searching for clarity in their safety position. In 2015 the youth movement is in full swing. Cooper Taylor and Nat Berhe are all that remain of the 2014 safeties.
— New York Giants (@Giants) August 11, 2015
New to the position are Bennett Jackson, Landon Collins, Mykkele Thompson, Justin Currie, Jeromy Miles. The safety depth chart is still very fluid. New defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo is still installing his defense, so the coaching staff is still in the process of finding which of these young, inexperienced players can best communicate and execute the scheme.
Perhaps the most surprising development to date is Bennett Jackson seeing the majority of his reps with the first team, while Cooper Taylor has slipped down to the third team. Jackson is a converted cornerback coming off microfracture surgery, but he has shown tremendous field vision and a “see ball, get ball” knack for making plays that has earned the praise of the coaches.
It might be early to read much into Taylor sliding down the depth chart, though. The camp battle at the safety position is truly wide open, and the coaching staff seems to be making an effort to give all their available safeties a chance to run with the other defensive starters.
Miles, the lone veteran, offers the most NFL experience. He still doesn’t have much, but when he has seen the field, he has played well. Per Pro Football Focus, Miles allowed only 0.14 yards per coverage snap, and in 224 coverage snaps he has only allowed two receptions for more than four yards, while notching an interception.
The coaches have also praised fifth round rookie Mykkele Thompson, with Merritt saying “Smart kid. Mykkele is one of those kids that is able to take it from the classroom and it appears, so far, take it to the field. Even with the checks that we have on the backend. With him being able to think and being able to maybe be a quarterback on the field—that’s what I see from him. He’s a smart kid.”
If there is any loser at the moment, it is likely Nat Berhe. The second-year safety out of San Diego State University has been dealing with an injured calf throughout the off season program, which an MRI revealed to be a torn muscle. Berhe hasn’t been able to participate in the camp battle, and has missed out on valuable reps as they install the new scheme.
The safety position is one camp battle that we are going to keep a close eye on. With a week of joint practices with the Cincinnati Bengals culminating in the first preseason game, the hope of the coaches is that the picture will quickly come into focus.