The Giants have until March 5 to make the decision on whether or not they wish to franchise tag S Landon Collins. And after a confusing Wednesday that was dubbed “LockerGate,” there is a strong chance the Giants let Collins walk into free agency.
Reports surfaced that day that said Collins was giving out goodbyes around the Giants’ facility, and was cleaning out his locker. Then, there were other reports — SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano was among them — that Collins didn’t clean anything out nor said goodbye.
It looked settled from there was nothing to take from the reports, but Collins decided to tweet out that “the stuff in that locker that I have left I do not need.”
So, in the chance Collins doesn’t receive an extension or the franchise tag, here are five options the Giants could explore in this year’s NFL Draft to fill his void:
Nasir Adderley, Delaware (2018: 87 tackles, 4 INT, 7 pass breakups, 1 forced fumble)
Adderley comes from a smaller school in Delaware, but there is nothing miniscule about his game for the Blue Hens over his four-year career. His numbers only got better as the years went on, and he capped off a solid career with a great senior season. Scouts love he improved ability to tackle to go along with his natural ball skills, which is evident by his four interceptions this past year.
The Giants would have to love the 5-foot-11, 195-pound Adderley, though, as he is a second-round talent that some believe could jolt into late first-round if he has a strong combine. Either way, this ballhawk would be a viable replacement for Collins if he were to leave.
Mike Bell, Fresno State (2018: 87 tackles, 3.5 for loss, 3 INT, 8 passes defended)
We could have said Virginia’s Juan Thornhill here, but the Giants don’t have a third-round pick and that where he would likely end up around. Bell could slip further down into the fourth round where the Giants own two early picks, and they could pull the trigger here.
At 6-foot-3, scouts have loved what Bell can do with his length on the field. It makes him versatile to matchup with the taller receivers in the league, and he also can disrupt players in the backfield. Having the ability to get to running backs and quarterbacks is something Collins excelled at, so this skill would go a long way for Bell.
Deionte Thompson, Alabama (78 tackles, 3.5 for loss, 2 INT, 6 passes defended, 3 forced fumbles)
Why not bring in another Alabama product to replace Collins? He may not have Collins’ pedigree coming out of the Crimson Tide system, but the 6-foot-2, 186-pound Thompson may have a chip on his shoulder after his junior year.
Thompson was generating tons of buzz when the season began, as he showcased an aggressive style of play that impressed many. However, that wasn’t sustained throughout the season, especially when the Tide needed it the most in the College Football Playoff. This inconsistency dropped his Draft grade, but the Giants could capitalize in the fourth round on a player who wants to recreate that sensation around his game once again.
Will Harris, Boston College (75 tackles, 1 INT, 2 fumble recoveries)
Harris will likely go in the later rounds, and though he may not have Collins’ skill set, he can potentially develop into a good replacement. At 6-foot-1, 207 pounds, he has NFL size and used it well at the Senior Bowl. Harris’ senior season doesn’t jump off the stat sheet, but his junior year does with 83 tackles, 5.5 for loss, one interception, two passes defended and four fumble recoveries.