The New York Giants‘ secondary was easily their most consistent unit this season, on either side of the ball. Although there were several major injuries in the secondary, New York’s younger players stepped into larger roles and not only filled in, but excelled.
This is a unit that could be very good for years to come. It all depends on the players and the New York front office.
Will Hill was the most pleasant surprise along the defense. Hill has had some off-the-field issues, including a four-game suspension to start this season. However, when he returned to the gridiron, he didn’t look like a player in just his second season in the league. Hill immediately leap-frogged Ryan Mundy into a starting role, and flew around the field making big tackles and timely hits. He is just 23 years old and has the potential to be one of the NFL‘s best.
The concerns about Hill are, once again, off the field. He was arrested prior to New York’s Week 16 game against the Detroit Lions. Hill played in the game, as the arrest was believed to be related to child support, but recently, reports came out that the arresting office also smelled marijuana. Hill’s fate is yet to be determined but, if he cleans up his act, he could be a major asset for the G-Men in the future.
Antrel Rolle started the season slow, but then exploded into one of the best seasons of his career. Rolle finished the year with six interceptions, which was tied for second in the NFL. Although Rolle was left off the initial Pro Bowl roster, he was honored as a second team All-Pro player.
Rolle’s situation is also murky but in a different way. The nine-year veteran is due $9.5 million next year, which the Giants may very well not be able to afford. Rolle said he would be open to restructuring his contract in order to make the price more reasonable next season, otherwise New York may just have to part ways with the safety.
The third piece of the puzzle is Stevie Brown. Brown missed the entire season after tearing his ACL in the preseason. The year before, Brown recorded eight interceptions, which was second best in the NFL.
If Brown can stay healthy, if Hill can stay out of trouble and if the Giants can re-structure Rolle’s contract, they will be able to run with three safeties and have one of the best units in the league. However, those are three pretty big ifs.