A year ago, it was different.
The cupboard for safeties in free agency was essentially bear. If NFL clubs needed to find them, they mostly looked toward the draft.
‘There are some very high-name veterans out there’
That’s not so this year. The free-agent market is loaded with safeties, and SiriusXM NFL Radio analyst David Diehl believes there are plenty of good ones to be signed at a time when the position has become more important than ever.
“You look at Earl Thomas, Tyrann Mathieu, Lamarcus Joyner, Landon Collins, and the releasing of (Eric) Weddle, I mean there are some very high-name veterans out there that can instantly change the impact that they’ll have on the defense for an organization that decides to go out and get them,” Diehl said while co-hosting The Red Zone with Lance Medow. “When you’re looking at the way that the game has changed to the high spread offenses in the aerial attack, now you’re looking at a safety – regardless of whether it’s the strong or the free – that can play deep coverage and get back and cover the deep ball.
‘It’s not the same game anymore’
“When you’re looking at what the old linebacker position is, compared to what the old Ronnie Lott is, that Ronnie Lott’s now converting into almost the eighth man, extra linebacker in the box like we’ve seen with Mark Barron, who just himself got released, so you see the changing of the guard and you see the changing of the way the game is played based upon defensive schemes. And, also, you’ve got to take into account the rule changes in protecting wide receivers across the middle. It’s not the same game anymore.”
With Collins hitting free agency and reports that Olivier Vernon could be traded, it seems the Giants will need to fill some key spots on defense.
‘(The Giants) do need another prevalent pass rusher’
“You have to get another premier pass rusher, obviously, we’re hearing that Olivier Vernon is on the market, that they’re trying to trade him,” Diehl, a former Giants offensive lineman, said. “But they do they need another prevalent pass rusher, not only on the outside, but in the interior at that three technique defensive tackle position. And you also have to look and get another linebacker opposite Alec Ogletree, because that’s something that the Giants defense has been lacking as well.”
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