The New York Giants will probably utilize a cover-3 defensive scheme consistently against today’s pass happy NFL. Cover 3 is a hybrid defense that utilizes both man-to-man and zone coverage. It refers to having two corner backs cover the receivers, while three safeties cover their respective areas in a zone defense. It is a very flexible defense as the strong safety can be used to guard the tight end or stop the run depending on the play, which is why linebackers get little attention from the team when it comes to free agency and drafts.
Currently, Big Blue has six players on the roster at the position; Stevie Brown, Will Hill, Ryan Mundy, Antrel Rolle, Cooper Taylor and Alonzo Tweedy.
Brown will start at strong safety and Hill will start at free safety for the team. Both had good seasons last year. Mundy and Rolle will be their respective back ups at the strong and free safety positions.
This leaves Taylor and Tweedy, both rookies, to compete for a spot on the roster. While Taylor (6-foot-4, 224-pounds) was drafted in the in the fifth round, Tweedy (6-foot-2, 194-pounds) was an undrafted free agent signing for the G-Men. It seems that Giants’ GM Jerry Reese doubled up on his strong safety selection after the draft was concluded with the signing of Tweedy as insurance on Taylor.
When you hear Taylor talk about his playing style he uses the word “versatility.” There is a reason why versatility is such a significant word. Like the middle linebacker, the third safety has to be able to read plays as they develop and defend either the run, tight-end or drop back into deep coverage.
For this reason the third safety in a cover-3 defensive team must possess a few qualities: intelligence, athleticism and size. Taylor possess both the size and athleticism necessary for making a difference on defense. As to football intelligence, we will know after week one if he is ready to play. Look for versatile Taylor to make the team, and Tweedy to go on the practice squad.