Giants free safeties Darian Thompson and Andrew Adams will battle for starting spot

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Giants
Giants

The most intense position battle for the New York Giants going into training camp will be at the free safety position.

Second-year players Darian Thompson and Andrew Adams are the frontrunners to start alongside All-Pro Landon Collins when the regular season begins on the road against the Dallas Cowboys on Sept. 10.

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Thompson, a 2016 second-round pick from Boise State, wowed the Giants coaching staff in training camp. He entered the regular season as a backup, racking up three tackles in the season opener against the Cowboys. The following week, Thompson had four tackles in his first career start against the New Orleans Saints.

Thompson’s rookie season came to an end in Week 3 when he injured his foot against the Washington Redskins.

Adams signed with the Giants as an undrafted free agent from the University of Connecticut. He was initially waived before the start of the regular season but was subsequently signed to the practice squad. After Thompson’s injury, Adams was promoted to the active roster.

Adams played in 14 games last season with 13 starts. He amassed 46 combined tackles (31 solo), five passes defended, and his first career interception.

Both players have done enough to warrant consideration for the starting spot.

“Yes, that is the thing,” Giants secondary coach David Merritt said. “That is what I’m saying about him (Adams) and Darian Thompson. To sit here and say that Darian Thompson is going to be the starter with Landon…Andrew Adams has proven that he at least has a chance to compete for that job, And that is what he is doing every day. I’m excited.”

Thompson was expected to contribute immediately given his status as a third-round draft pick. Merritt thinks his skills are a natural complement to Collins.

“Darian’s skillset is suited really for the pass,” Merritt said. “But he has come so far in understanding run fits and understanding gap schemes. But I think he’s more suited for the pass. So that kid understands route concepts, understands a leverage position, so he does a very nice job with that.”

Thompson’s shot at being the starter hinges on his ability to stay healthy. Adams obviously has an advantage playing in 14 games last season. The Giants want to find the right fit to play alongside Collins.

The Giants still have Nat Berhe on the roster and brought in Duke Ihenacho and Jadar Johnson to add depth. Mykkele Thompson, a former cornerback, has converted to free safety in an attempt to stay on the roster. Barring a serious injury, however, the free safety spot will come down to Thompson or Adams.

It almost makes no difference who the starting free safety is because of the presence of Collins.

“Any guy out there with Landon right now will be an asset,” Merritt said. “Landon’s skill set, we’re going to always constantly make sure that Landon is in a position where it is going to be best suited for him. Is it suited for Darian Thompson to go down and play a linebacker in the box? Maybe or maybe not. We have to see him on the field and see what he can do.

“Right not, Landon’s skill set will, no matter who the safety is, it’s going to be a complement to his ability to roam around where the other guy can play a little deeper, a little more centered.”

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