For years now, the Giants have been trying to fill holes in their defensive backfield with high draft choices. They haven't had a whole lot of luck. Prince Amukamara, the latest attempt at an upgrade, is out for the foreseeable future with a broken foot, joining a long line of battered bodies before him.
In 2005, the team took CB Corey Webster of LSU with with their top pick. In 2007, the team chose Texas CB Aaron Ross with the 20th overall selection. The next season the Giants took Miami safety Kenny Philips in Round One and USC CB Terrell Thomas in Round Two. Last year, they took LSU safety Chad Jones in the third round.
You would think with all this talent they would have a lockdown secondary. Unfortunately, they don't. There have been many setbacks along the road for this group. Of the players drafted, only Thomas has performed as advertised.
Ross has never been healthy enough to put in a full season's worth of work. Webster was inconsistent early on and did not become a starter until 2008, his fourth season. Phillips has an arthritic knee that needs constant managing. Jones has not played a down in a Giants uniform after seriously damaging his leg in an auto accident last June.
They were under siege two years ago and last year, too, even after importing Pro Bowl safety Antrel Rolle, who was brought in to salvage the flagging bunch. They still couldn't stop the top quarterbacks and were vulnerable vs the big play.
They been lacking a force in the middle of the field. Phillips should have been that, but his health is still questionable. Jones punished receivers with vicious hits while at LSU. Had he gotten on the field last year, he surely would have drawn some fines. If only....
Enter Iowa's Tyler Sash, selected by the Giants this past April with one of their compensatory sixth-round picks. On draft day, it seemed as if Sash was taken for his special teams ability and projected to be a late cut in camp at best.
Well, sometimes things have a way of evening out. They've been in dire need of someone with some football sense to come into that defense and start making some plays. Giant fans have been holding their breath waiting for the linebackers to do it, and the D-line is already holding up their end.
Sash could be the player the Giants have been searching for. Thus far in camp, he's been all over the place. Wherever the ball is, you will find Tyler Sash. In a few cases, the ball was esconsed in his arms. This can't be happening. Is the Giants' luck finally turning?
Sash has quickly jumped from a special teams option to potentially seeing considerable playing time in the Giants' secondary. He has already filled in for Phillips on the first team defense. Needless to say, he impressed, picking off a Sage Rosenfels pass intended for the speedy Jerrel Jernigan and knocking down an Eli Manning pass at the line of scrimmage.
The performance of the young safety has escaped the eye of coach Tom Coughlin, who commented on Sash the other night...
"I understand he had his entire hometown and everybody, probably 12 people who were here. He played well last night. He made a nice interception at center field and did a good job. You can tell. The coaches keep talking about how his angle has improved in just a couple of days."
His image has improved, too. He was named Giants Facebook Player of the Week yesterday. Things are looking up back there for the Blue...
photo courtesy Giants.com