The New York Giants drafted Houston safety Gervarrius Owens in the seventh round of the 2023 NFL Draft. Owens, the team’s final pick of the draft, is an underrated prospect that could make a greater impact in his rookie season than many expect.
Owens is a good coverage safety but needs to fix his tackling
Owens had a fourth-round draft projection by NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein ahead of the 2023 NFL Draft. Zierlein described Owens as a “willing and physical hitter.” However, he takes “suspect angles to the football,” causing the Giants’ rookie to miss tackles.
Despite his struggles as a tackler, there is still plenty to like about Owens’ game as a coverage safety. He has a cornerback background which could allow him to excel in a big nickel defense. Owens has the ability to match route breaks from man coverage. His ball skills will create opportunities for Owens to force turnovers at the next level.
Owens has a knack for getting his hands on the football
During his time at Houston, Owens was a four-year starter and team captain. In 2022, he totaled 74 tackles, one interception, eight pass breakups, and two forced fumbles in 12 games. Owens has a knack for getting his hands on the football; a valuable trait entering the next level.
Could Owens steal the Giants’ second safety job?
The Giants have a hole in their secondary following the departure of veteran safety Julian Love this offseason. Opposite Xavier McKinney, there will be a competition to see who wins the second starting safety job. Owens could put his name in the running if he continues to turn heads at Giants practice.
During mandatory minicamp, Owens stood out, getting his hands on the football on numerous occasions and even nabbing an interception during team drills.
Making an impact on special teams will be the key to earning playing time
Even if Owens is unable to secure a regular role in the defense, he should be able to contribute immediately on special teams. According to Matt Lombardo of Heavy, an AFC Executive said Owens “has starter ability,” and “will get on the field immediately on third down and special teams.”
With a summer full of good practices, Owens can earn himself some playing time during the regular season. It will be crucial, though, for Owens to perform well on special teams during the preseason. This will prove to the coaching staff that their seventh-round pick is ready for the professional level.