Earlier in the week, it was reported that New York Giants’ safety Will Hill failed yet another drug test, and he could be facing a one-year suspension from the NFL. It is Hill’s third failed test in three seasons, as he was suspended four-games in each of the past two seasons for failing the league’s substance-abuse and performance-enhancing drug policies. If he is suspended, he plans to appeal, but the Giants cannot be optimistic that he will be helping them out this season. It will be the second season in a row the Giants will potentially be missing a starting safety, and this time they need to be prepared.
The Giants have a viable safety on the roster to step into the starting spot in Stevie Brown, but Brown is coming off an ACL tear and should not be counted on to carry the load by himself. They also signed Quintin Demps in free agency, who has some experience starting from last season with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Both players, just as the case with Pro Bowler Antrel Rolle, are on one-year deals. There is no guarantee that they will be with the Giants next season, especially if they put together strong statistically seasons and play themselves out of the Giants’ price range. The Giants need to protect themselves from this, and the easiest way to do this would be changing their draft plans.
With the 12th pick in the upcoming NFL Draft, the Giants need to seriously consider drafting Alabama safety Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix. Plenty of mock drafts have Clinton-Dix currently going to the Detroit Lions at 10, but if he falls past them, the Giants have to take it into consideration.
Clinton-Dix’s stats won’t blow you away, but at a school like Alabama, where success is so rampant on the football field, it is more about the team than personal stats. He also didn’t have exceptional results at the combine, but on the field, you can see he is a top talent.
He is durable, not missing a game in his college career because of injury, and has the qualities to be a leader of the defense. He plays strong in the pass game, rarely being out of position, and plays the run game strong, something of a necessity for safeties on the Giants, who like to use three-safety sets.
He also has above-average size for the position, at 6-foot-1, 208 pounds. He has good speed, helping his ability to close out when tackling, and has outstanding range playing in centerfield in the passing game.
If the Giants draft Clinton-Dix, they also know they will have a safety in their defensive backfield for at least the next four seasons, something they cannot say about very many players on their team, let alone at the safety position.
With Hill’s off-field problems again clouding things for the Giants, it is necessary for them to have a backup plan ready. If available, Clinton-Dix would prove to be an outstanding option to fill that backup plan.