Giants: 2nd-year LB bouncing back from injury and chasing starting job

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Danielle Parhizkaran/ / USA TODAY NETWORK

The New York Giants listed second-year LB Darrian Beavers as one of the position’s two starters in their first unofficial depth chart. This summer, Beavers has been competing with fellow 2022 draft classmate Micah McFadden for the role of the first-team WILL. So far, Beavers seems to be winning the race for the starting job.

Darrian Beavers is listed with the first team in Giants’ unofficial depth chart

After missing the entirety of his rookie season with a torn ACL, Beavers returned to training camp this summer with a massive chip on his shoulder. As a sixth-round rookie last summer, Beavers appeared to be the leading man for the No. 2 linebacker job in defensive coordinator Wink Martindale’s lineup. However, Beavers suffered his injury in Week 2 of the preseason, creating an opportunity for Tae Crowder to win the starting job, and eventually for McFadden to take over.

Now, back and fully healthy, Beavers is picking up right where he left off. The 6-foot-4, 256-pound linebacker was an ace in coverage during his collegiate career. According to Pro Football Focus, Beavers surrendered zero touchdowns in coverage during his time at Cincinnati. Beavers’ ability to play in coverage could be the trait that wins him the starting job as the Giants are seeking a linebacker that meshes well with the skillset of Bobby Okereke.

The Giants are looking for a No. 2 LB that meshes with Bobby Okereke

Okereke was signed this offseason to a lucrative four-year deal, establishing him immediately as the No. 1 linebacker in the defensive lineup. But next to Okereke, the Giants need to establish a new starter at the WILL linebacker position.

Beavers shared some insight on the two-man race between him and McFadden for the No. 2 linebacker job, saying it’s all about who fits best with Okereke.

“Right now, we are just trying to find the best fit for Bobby [Okereke],” Beavers said. “Obviously, Bobby is the leader of the group. Just trying to figure out who meshes better with him. Who can make plays beside him and complement him best.”

Darrian Beavers via

Okereke described himself as a “fast, physical, sideline-to-sideline linebacker” during an appearance on the Fireside Giants Podcast earlier this offseason. His athletic abilities helped the veteran total 151 combined tackles, six tackles for loss, and five pass breakups in 2022 for the Indianapolis Colts.

As Big Blue prepares for its first preseason game this Friday, Beavers will look to take center stage as one of the two starting linebackers in Martindale’s defense. The Giants’ linebacker corps was among the worst in the NFL last season, so they will need Beavers to elevate his game this preseason to give them confidence in the position group entering 2023.

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