New York Giants Rookie Set To Start At OLB – Will He Succeed?

The New York Giants have several players on the injury bubble going into week 1 of the 2018 regular season. Olivier Vernon has been the most talked about name on the injury-report, as he struggles to come back from a practice induced high-ankle sprain.

Despite reports that Vernon was feeling better and could play on Sunday, it’s thought that he will, in fact, not be active for the home opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

What does this mean for the New York Giants at OLB?

Vernon made the transition to outside linebacker after playing defensive end in Steve Spagnuolo’s 4-3 defense. The star pass-rusher was expected to make a significant impact on the defense in his first year in the 3-4 scheme. If he’s forced to miss time, rookie Lorenzo Carter will have to fill in for the time being.

Carter is a Georgia product, quick, fast, and strong. He’s a lanky pass-rusher with a dynamic style of play that will allow him to expose the edge. While Carter showed up on the injury-report on Thursday due to an illness, he’s still slated to start for the injured Vernon.

Take a look at this clip. You can see the rookie start from an exterior position – he proceeds to stab at the right tackle in an attempt to push him beyond the pocket. The most impressive part of this play is that Carter keeps his eyes on the quarterback. He immediately stops in his tracks and b-lines towards the inside of the pocket where the opposing quarterback has stepped into. A fine display of vision and anticipation.

While he’s far from competing on a first-team level against top-tier offensive lineman, he’s shown great developmental building blocks and impressive rookie attributes. We shouldn’t feel safe with him starting in Vernon’s place, but optimistic.