New York Giants safety Landon Collins emerged as a Defensive Player of the Year candidate last season, coming out of nowhere during his sophomore campaign to reach prolific heights. Collins recorded 125 tackles, four sacks, and five interceptions, becoming a one-man wrecking crew for the revamped Giants’ defense.

Giants general manager Jerry Reese spent $200 million on the defense last season but it was Collins who emerged as the anchor after a nondescript rookie campaign in 2015. The only question that remains is whether Collins can repeat.

Is Collins elite?

The case for Collins

Collins was billed as the best safety from the 2015 NFL Draft and there was mild surprise when he lasted until the first pick of the second round. It’s clear that the Giants have a genuine star in their hands.

No player impacted all facets of the game quite like Collins, who featured as a proficient edge rusher and run-stopper, in addition to his field-general duties as a strong safety. Collins graded out as the best pass-rushing and third-best run stopping safety last year among all eligible candidates, according to Pro Football Focus.

The raw and advanced data support his candidacy as an elite safety, and if the Giants continue to stymie opponents, Collins will be the face of their revolution.

Arun Srinivasan

The case against Collins

Collins may well end up a perennial Pro Bowler that contributes as the leader of the New York defense for years to come. After the sophomore season he had, the Giants are presumably banking on it. But perhaps we should slow down a little bit before crowning him as a truly elite defensive back.

The incredible 2016 output, coming on the heels of a rather pedestrian rookie campaign, was aided by a situation that really couldn’t have been much more ideal for a young safety. Working between a stellar cornerback tandem, behind a defensive line that dominates against the run and pass, and a linebacking corps that needed all the help it could get cleaning up plays, it’s no wonder he filled up the stat sheet.

Collins has all the talent in the world, and he’s certainly on the path to proving worthy of his early second-round draft status. Let’s see if he can maintain that production when he becomes a focus of offensive game plans on a weekly basis.

Dan Wilkins

You decide

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