When the New York Giants invested $4.6 million in free-agent defender Kyler Fackrell, most were confused by the only pass rush move GM Dave Gettleman has made this offseason.
Fackrell is a determined player that has shown quality in the past, specifically in 2018, when he logged 10.5 sacks and 12 quarterback hits. Luckily, Patrick Graham was Green Bay’s linebackers coach when Fackrell has his best professional season to date, which is motivating considering Graham is now the Giants’ defensive coordinator.
The most concerning part of the offseason is that Fackrell has been the only allocation toward the pass rush unit, implying that the coaching staff is confident in young guns like Oshane Ximines and Lorenzo Carter.
Can the New York Giants bring the most out of Kyler Fackrell?
The former Packer followed up his stellar 2018 campaign with a one-sack performance last season, primarily due to being replaced by Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith. Fackrell has the talent and skill-set to feature as a starter in the NFL, but he also needs to right coaching, which is where Graham comes into play.
“I believe I am better than a one-sack guy,’’ Fackrell said Thursday on a conference call. “That’s really what I am going to try and prove.’’
“I have the utmost confidence in myself,’’ Fackrell said. “I think that I’m a very versatile 3-4 [strong side] outside linebacker. I love to rush and I think I’m good at it, and I take a lot of pride in dropping and making plays in space as well. I think in the kind of core defense we played in Green Bay, and I think Patrick Graham runs kind of a similar style of defense, having a versatile outside linebacker like that is very valuable. As far as, yeah, I know that I didn’t produce the way I wanted to last year, but I think I have a great opportunity to do that this year.’’
Kyler is a smart player on defense, reading the quarterback’s eyes for screen passes or short dump-offs. He also has a good motor with power. He’s quick around the edge and uses a solid bull-rush to compensate for his minimal arsenal of pass rush moves — he likes to use his hands to swipe away outstretched offensive tackles but predominantly resorts to speed to force quarterbacks to step up into the pocket.
Interestingly, the outside linebacker has even dropped into coverage at times closer to the goal-line. On 10 targets in 2018, he allowed only a 40% completion rate. Nothing to be excited about, but he can be used diversely.
Overall, I like Fackrell as a player, and with the Giants building out their interior defensive line to act as de-facto pass rush in a sense, they want the former Packer to use his speed around the edge to force QBs to step up into the pocket. This will allow the front three big-men to collapse the pocket and swallow quarterback’s up to increase pressure-rate.