Third-year safety Darian Thompson was expected to develop into the New York Giants‘ starting safety in his rookie season in 2016. That narrative quickly came to a close as he was injured in his second game, being placed on injury reserve for the remainder of the season.
Thompson returned in 2017 which saw a Giants team fall to a 3-13 record and a defense that was plagued by injury and lack of effort. Undrafted free agent Andrew Adams out of UConn played a reserve role alongside Darian, but their stats tell a story that shows the future potential of Adams.
Thompson started all 16 games for Big Blue last year, earning 61 total tackles and six passes defended. The second-year man struggled, missing tackles and blowing overages on occasion. While he did show some potential, especially in the red-zone, it might not be enough to earn him a starting role with the new regime.
— Jay Tust (@KTVBSportsGuy) October 8, 2017
In comparison, Adams started in just four games last season, which is far less than the 16 Thompson enjoyed. The UDFA finished the year with 28 total tackles, two passes defended and one forced fumble. If you take those four games and turn it into 16, Adams would have finished the season with 112 total tackles, eight PD and four FF. That’s a stellar season for a safety, and not to mention his 7.4 yards per reception which ranked 9th out of 89 for safeties, according to PFF.
#Giants safety Andrew Adams looks like the early favorite to start opposite of Landon Collins this season.@AndrewAdams33 held opponents to 7.4 yards per reception in his coverage last season, tied for 9th best among 89 #NFL safeties. https://t.co/uqYDMwneQI
— PFF NY Giants (@PFF_Giants) June 18, 2018
Overall, Adams has performed better than Thompson in limited action – DC James Bettcher seems to like his tenacity and ability in coverage, which has earned him first-team reps during the offseason. He will likely be the man starting alongside Landon Collins come September.
— Art Stapleton (@art_stapleton) November 10, 2016
Here’s a look at what Adams is capable of. With the defensive line and linebacker corps expected to put opposing quarterbacks under pressure, the safety will play a ball-hawk role, waiting back and reading the eyes of the QB as pressure begins to surround. He will anticipate throws and wait for errant balls and undercuts. This will likely be his final chance to prove his worth as a starting player for the Giants, so he must take hold of the opportunity and make the best of it.