Giants’ 2nd-year LB established himself as a cornerstone piece this season

New York Giants linebacker Micah McFadden (41) against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

In a season of disappointment for the New York Giants, second-year linebacker Micah McFadden has emerged as a cornerstone piece of Big Blue’s defense.

Giants’ Micah McFadden has taken a big step forward this season

Since his modest seven starts last season, the 2022 fifth-round pick has taken enormous strides to solidify his place within the Giants’ defense. Starting in 13 out of 14 games this season, he has become an integral part of both the defense and special teams.

The 23-year-old has earned himself an overall Pro Football Focus grade of 64.6 for the season, a significant leap from his previous grade of 38.7. He has made progress in his run defense this season with a grade of 68.2, compared to his score of 51.4 in 2022. He’s also improved his coverage skills, with a grade of 53.7, up from 30.0.

McFadden stands out as one of the top Giants’ defensive stat leaders, ranking in the top three in total tackles (90), QB hits (6), and tackles for loss (12).

This season, McFadden has accumulated 90 total tackles (54 solo), 12 tackles for loss, six quarterback hits, three passes defended, and three fumble recoveries.

Bobby Okereke has taken note of McFadden’s growth

One key factor in McFadden’s growth has been his unique bond with fellow Giants linebacker Bobby Okereke. After being signed via free agency this year, Okereke has seemingly taken McFadden under his wing. Their partnership has not only strengthened the linebacker duo but also elevated the defense overall.

Okereke has praised McFadden’s dedication and progress, citing him as an excellent role model for rookies entering the league.

“I think it’s just a great example of a homegrown kid within an organization, putting in the work, reaping what you’ve sown and really just seeing growth after a first-year campaign,” Okereke told The Post. “I think it’s going to be a great example for the rookies that come in next year because this year to look at Micah and be like, ‘Wow, here’s a guy who’s really put the work in and done everything right and is now reaping in success.”

Bobby Okereke via Bridget Reilly of The New York Post

McFadden still has areas to improve

McFadden does have areas where he can improve, especially in his tackling abilities. This season, McFadden has missed 23 tackles, earning him a subpar 29.0 tackling grade, according to PFF.

However, if McFadden continues to grow and develop a stronger synergy with Okereke, he has the potential to become a dominant force on the Giants’ defense moving forward.

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