Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie makes New York Giants' secondary one of NFL’s best

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The New York Giants rode the strength of their defensive front four to victories over the New England Patriots in Super Bowls XLII and XLVI. But that strength turned to mush last season, as New York scuffled to a 7-9 season that included a 0-6 start. At their season-ending press conference, New York’s brass promised changes, which by any definition, have come for Big Blue.

Prior to Monday, the changes made by the front office to the G-men’s roster, were typical of Big Blue recently; merely strengthening the team with solid starters. But to get back to prominence, New York needed to acquire more stars, rather than solid resumes, in order to get back to the top.

Players like Geoff Schwartz, Jameel McClain, Rashad Jennings and Quintin Demps will likely be solid performers for New York next year, but none of these players exuded the “wow” factor.

That changed on Monday with the signing of cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie to a five-year, $39 million contract. Before, the Rodgers-Cromartie signing, other free agents the Giants brought in, with the exception of Geoff Schwartz, simply added to organizational depth or were not three-down players.

Walter Thurmond was targeted to be a slot cornerback, who potentially will not be on the field during running plays. Jameel McClain most likely will not see the field when the Giants are in their dime package. In addition, Spencer Paysinger and Jacquian Williams will undoubtedly be pushing McClain for playing time as well.

In a perfect world, Rashad Jennings will be splitting time with David Wilson at running back, and Quintin Demps will be competing with Stevie Brown and Will Hill for time opposite Antrel Rolle.

The addition of Rodgers-Cromartie balances out the Giants’ secondary by adding a pure coverage cornerback to the mix. According to Pro Football Focus, Rodgers-Cromartie was given an overall grade of 13.0, which was good for fifth among all NFL cornerbacks, ahead of Richard Sherman, Brandon Boykin, Alterraun Verner and Patrick Peterson.

But hidden within this statistic is the fact that Rodgers-Cromartie was given a coverage grade of 11.0, which was better than even Darrelle Revis.

In terms of run support, the Giants had the cornerback with the most tackles in run support last year. Prince Amukamara had 26 tackles on running plays and was ranked sixth in run support among all NFL corners. And before fans fret about Rodgers-Cromartie’s skill in run support; his grade was similar to Richard Sherman, Vontae Davis and Aqib Talib against the run.

Adding a healthy Stevie Brown to safety, with Walter Thurmond patrolling the slot; the Giants’ secondary, on paper, instantly becomes one of the league’s best. And with Trumaine McBride, Will Hill and Quintin Demps on the sidelines, New York also boasts one of the deepest defensive backfields in the NFL, and most likely allows Big Blue to concentrate on offensive players in May’s NFL draft.

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  • Alex

    Will hill on the sideline ? He is easily our best safety…brown may have had 8 pics the year before but he also blew alottt of coverages….not in will hills league

    • Lou Musto

      Will Hill’s greatest obstacle is himself. If he can overcome the off-the-field issues he brings with him, stays focused and works hard this offseason, he could be the starter when the season opens. He’s great against the run and has similar ball skills to Stevie Brown. Would love to see him reach his full potential.

      • Curt Macysyn

        I like Will Hill as a player, and maybe the Giants employ some three safety sets. But the Giants did not pay Stevie Brown $3 million ($1 million guaranteed) to be a backup. Brown was a borderline Pro Bowler in 2012. But this discussion really highlights the thrust of my article about the Giants’ secondary being one of the league’s best now.

        • buljos

          Will Hill is the best Safety on the team, including Rolle. Hit PFF if you don’t believe it. He is an All Pro talent, who may or may not knock off the dope smoking and therefore be subjected to suspensions. When Beason was inserted last season and everyone went bananas over how much better the defense played, few recognized that coincident with Beason’s arrival was the return of Will Hill, and he added a great deal to the increased play of the Secondary. He will not sit the bench, and he will certainly beat out Stevie Brown for the starting job, regardless of how much money they paid Stevie… they paid him because the Giants don’t know if Will Hill can behave himself, not because they think Stevie can supplant Will Hill. He can’t.

  • Anonymous

    I agree my statement was based on him keeping his head on straight and staying away from the marijuana …if that happens and he is healthy nobody will take any playing time from him …..pro football focus has him as their 2nd ranked safety in coverage last year …. on top of that he hits like a truck …the sky is the limit for this kid

  • Anonymous

    I believe brown is here simply to get that knee ready for 2015 when we most likely wont sign rolle jr has a plan especially with jpp possibly needing a monster contract if he returns to dominant form

  • Anonymous

    All the giants need on defensive is a defensive end and a defensive tackle another outsidebacker in we’re set

  • Anonymous

    All the giants need on defensive is a defensive end and a defensive tackle another outside linebacker and we’re set

  • cjf

    I like stevie Brown for the safety position, though he may not be ready to perform as well as Hill or Demps on day1 due to his recovery. But someone mentioned that when Beason came on board and will hill played safety, the defense picked it up. I agree, But I remember that when in 2012 when brown played and got 8 picks, the D did not have Chase Blackburn playing MLB (and no Beason). That’s when I saw Brown coming up and making great stops on the opposing running game. I’d like to see him get back to that level.

  • Anonymous

    Hey Cfj I think stevie brown will recover by week 1 bet on it

  • mark

    no doubt. if they can stay out of jail first