Evaluating the talent of prospective NFL players is far from an exact science. JaMarcus Russell was supposed to be the savior of the Oakland Raiders organization as a No. 1 draft pick and Victor Cruz was hardly on the radar for any New York Giants fan as a rookie out of UMass. Heading into last season, Stevie Brown was not expected to make a significant impact with the likes of Antrel Rolle, Kenny Phillips, Tyler Sash and even Will Hill lining the teams depth chart.
But at times in 2012, Brown was the lone bright spot on a defense that struggled mightily in coverage. His eight interceptions led the team, and he also displayed an ability to make plays against the run at the line of scrimmage. Admittedly, Brown still has a lot to learn about how to play safety in the NFL. Last season was a great start though.
"Now I have to field questions about ‘Can you do it again?’ " Brown told the Star-Ledger. "They want to know, ‘Will you have 10 picks? Will you go to the Pro Bowl?’ It’s definitely a different atmosphere now when I’m around."
The Giants can not reasonably expect Stevie Brown to emerge as a Pro Bowl candidate this season. He has the potential to do so, but asking him to repeat last year's performance, statistically speaking, is entirely unrealistic. What the team can hope for, is a player who understands the defense, is always where is is supposed to be on the field and is athletic enough to cover wide receivers and tight ends over the middle.
If those things happen, the interceptions may or may not follow. But regardless, the Giants defense will improve in pass defense and it will allow the pass rush more time to get to the quarterback. Getting to the quarterback is how the Giants excel on defense, and if Brown can help the team accomplish that task, he's a valuable asset in the defensive backfield.
Brown said he plans on holding onto the starting safety role this season.
"I look at it as my spot," Brown said."It’s my spot to keep."
With Ryan Mundy, Will Hill and even Cooper Taylor on the roster, Brown is going to have to fight for his starting job in training camp. He's currently the favorite to win it, but anything can happen between now and the start of the regular season.
Photo Credit: Mike Gannon
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