ESPN ranked the Giants second in the league for best talent under the age of 25, so it’s no secret that they have a lot of young, up-and-coming talent on the roster.
This youth movement is headlined by Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley, the dynamic QB/RB duo that fans hope will be the answer for the next decade and beyond. However, the most underrated young players on the roster are found in the safety room.
The Giants are quietly building an elite safety group that could rival the league’s best in the coming years.
Taking a Page Out of Bill’s Book
Newly hired head coach Joe Judge appears to be taking many pages out of Bill Belichick’s book. One such page is related to the safety position. Since 2013 the Patriots have run a safety trio of Duron Harmon, Patrick Chung, and Devin McCourty.
From an outsider’s perspective, it looks like Joe Judge is laying the groundwork to have his own elite safety trio consisting of Xavier McKinney, Jabrill Peppers, and Julian Love.
The Versatility of Having Three Safeties
Having three starting-caliber safeties is not something many teams can boast. However, the Giants look poised to have exactly that in the coming years. A roster with three safeties of this caliber allows the team to have versatility and creativity in play calling.
Bring one down into the box against elite running backs. Drop all three back and split the field into three to give your cornerbacks insurance. Blitz two and leave one to play deep in a single high set. Stick one on an elite tight end.
This versatility should help the Giants confuse opposing quarterbacks because they do not know who is doing what on any given play.
Protecting Against Injury
Another benefit of having three safeties is that you are protecting against injury. Not every play calls for three safeties on the field, this allows you to rotate them in and around as you see fit. Giving the safeties plays off can help prevent injury, while also ensuring that their legs are fresh to start and end a game.
Additionally, having a safety trio also protects the team if an injury does occur. We are seeing this now with rookie Xavier McKinney. He has recently suffered a fracture in his left foot.
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In all likelihood, he was going to be the starting free safety come Week 1, but Julian Love will now likely step up into that role and do it well until McKinney’s return. Once McKinney returns, you roll out the three safeties and use them with creativity.
Love and McKinney are both 22 and have three and four years remaining on their contracts respectively. Peppers, on the other hand, is 24 and has two years left on his current deal.
All three of these players are young, and all three have room to grow. That makes the thought of them playing together even more exciting.
Watching them grow, learn, and play together should be a treat for Giants fans over the next few years.
Featured Image: Andrew Mills/NJ Advance Media