Did the New York Giants get a steal in 6th round linebacker Cam Brown?

Alexander Wilson
New York Giants, Cam Brown
Jan 1, 2019; Orlando, FL, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions linebacker Cam Brown (6) is escorted off of the field following a targeting penalty against the Kentucky Wildcats during the second half in the 2019 Citrus Bowl at Camping World Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

At first glance, New York Giants’ sixth-round draft pick Cam Brown is a massive human. At 6-foot-5 and 232 pounds, Brown served as a linebacker for Penn State during his collegiate career.

The Giants clearly needed help at the position, given the ample draft capital they spent on retooling the depth at linebacker. Oddly, Brown only started two games with Penn State over his four seasons with the program, but he played in 51 of 52 games. In 2019, he set a career-high was 72 tackles, 5.5 for a loss, and two sacks. He also forced one fumble and recovered two.

Brown joins multiple Penn State teammates with the Giants — Saquon Barkley and cornerback Grant Haley. All three players featured on the Nittany Lions during the 2016 and 2017 seasons.

What are the New York Giants getting in Cam Brown?

Brown is an athletic linebacker with plenty of room left to develop. His massive tackle radius gives him the length and mobility to secure the edge and hold down his duties in the run game. However, his football IQ is quite low, failing to diagnose plays at a high-level and see the field develop before him. This ultimately allows other teams to take advantage of his side and beat him with play-action or screen plays. He relied purely on his athleticism to swallow up runners and act as a pure pass rusher in the past.

Ultimately, Brown comes with no red flags, attesting to his high character and leadership. Nonetheless, his play strength and ability to diagnose plays is weak and requires ample development before he can be considered an everyday player for the Giants. A few things he should work on over the next year is his upper body strength, increasing his ability to jam tight ends and wide receivers in the slot, and his ability to identify plays as they unfold. Then there’s his tackling technique, as he tends to lower his head and spear runners — a bad habit he must fix.

I anticipate he will develop into an inside linebacker for the Giants, who are severely lacking talent at the position. Currently, they have Ryan Connelly, who’s coming off a torn ACL, TJ Brunson, and Tae Crowder.

Adding several late-round picks to the position was general manager Dave Gettleman’s way of increasing the probability of hitting on one of these prospects. Brown seems to have a ton of untapped potential, and hopefully, he can develop the mental side of his game and increase his overall play strength to match up with NFL talent.