Safety Will Hill has failed another drug test. He’s appealed the results, but if the ruling stands, he will be suspended for at least six games due to prior suspensions. There’s also the chance that the New York Giants will straight up release him. He was suspended for the first four games last season too, and the Giants aren’t a team that likes players with off-field issues. However, losing Hill would be a big blow to the Giants’ defense.
Hill posted 77 tackles, two interceptions, and two forced fumbles in the 12 games he played last season. His talent was obvious from the second he took the field, flashing speed, an ability to rush the passer, sure tackling and a nose for the ball. The Giants went 7-5 in the games that Hill was active, and the defensive turnaround coincided with his return.
According to Football Outsiders, the Giants’ D improved to sixth place in terms of DVOA from the 16th in 2012. That’s despite giving up 36.5 PPG and 384.25 YPG in the four games without Hill, numbers that ranked last and 28th in the league respectively.
The Giants do have depth at the position. In the offseason, they re-signed Stevie Brown, a starter in 2012 who missed the season due to injury, and added Quintin Demps. While Demps was primarily brought in for his kick returning ability, he filled in at safety for the Chiefs last season and put up good numbers.
However, neither one of them has the same upside as Hill. And without Hill, the unit is no longer as deep as the Giants had planned, a tough blow when they’re still months from training camp.
The Giants still have a ton of questions on offense. Based on their roster, it seemed a strong defense was going to be their best chance of making the playoffs. While the season hasn’t even started yet, it’s tough to imagine losing a player who looked like he was an emerging star.