Scouts Inc.'s Matt Williamson examines the safeties of each NFC East team. Today: New York Giants
This was a strength of the team in 2010, and the Giants often used a lot of three-safety defensive sets on early downs to get their best players on the field. Deon Grant is up for free agency and could be allowed to leave because of the contributions of Antrel Rolle and Kenny Phillips.
Grant is reliable, durable and a very solid contributor versus the run and especially in coverage. It would be tough to let him walk to another franchise, but plenty of teams could use a free safety like Grant. Keeping him might be unrealistic from a financial standpoint. Grant also might want a true starting position, a distinction that he has earned.
Rolle entered the league as a high draft pick as a cornerback and has really transformed his game. Now the Giants use him near the line of scrimmage a great deal and ask him to perform a wide variety of duties. I really like Rolle’s game and expect him to be even better in 2011 after he has an better grasp of his many assignments. He can be overly aggressive, though, and his coverage skills are not ideal.
Phillips will be another year removed from the very serious knee injury that occurred early in the 2009 season and could be even closer to the exceptional natural talent he was coming out of college. If so, Phillips could be a real difference-maker. Either way, he is a quality safety. If he regains some explosiveness, look out.
Scouts Inc. watches games, breaks down film and studies football from all angles for ESPN.com.