Davis’ Anticipated Role and Potential Replacement
Davis was anticipated to contest for the starting LB2 position alongside free-agent addition and LB1 Bobby Okereke. While Davis was expected to compete with Michael McFadden and Darrian Beavers, his extensive NFL experience still made him an underdog to secure a starting position. With Davis out, the Giants could turn to free agency, where several promising options are currently available.
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Here are three free-agent linebackers the Giants might consider to replace Jarrad Davis:
1. Myles Jack: An Athlete with Upside
If the Giants are seeking a player with potential, former Jacksonville Jaguars and Pittsburgh Steeler, Myles Jack, could be the perfect fit.
Last season, Jack participated in 692 defensive snaps, securing 80 tackles and allowing 363 yards in coverage with three touchdowns. He registered a 7.5% missed tackle rate and showed slightly below-average performance in run defense. However, his exceptional athleticism is undeniable.
Jack is still in his prime at 27 years old and a former second-round pick. Integrating him into a competent coaching staff that could draw out any residual value wouldn’t be a regrettable decision.
2. Deion Jones: A Career Resurgence with the Giants?
Former Atlanta Falcons and Cleveland Browns linebacker Deion Jones is another potential replacement. Jones, who has seen a significant decline over the past two seasons, could be a worthy contender.
The 28-year-old former second-round LSU draft pick has had wildly inconsistent seasons, displaying occasional solid run-defending games followed by significant fluctuations in efficiency. Reflecting on his worst season in 2021, Jones accumulated 105 tackles but conceded 884 yards in coverage and four touchdowns.
Once a respected linebacker, injuries have hampered Jones’ career. Nonetheless, he may discover a career resurgence with the Giants in a competitive role.
3. Zach Cunningham: A Solid Run Defender
Zach Cunningham, the former Houston Texans and Tennessee Titans linebacker, is another free agent the Giants could consider. The 28-year-old, a former second-round draft pick from Vanderbilt, has earned commendable run defense grades throughout his career.
Although he played only 205 snaps last season, he achieved 15 tackles and proved his ability to fill gaps and display physicality. However, his coverage skills are lacking, making him a potential liability. The Giants could try to limit him to roles outside of coverage and place more responsibility on Okereke.
In all likelihood, Cunningham would compete for a reserve role, with McFadden currently favored as the probable starter alongside Okereke. Regardless, these three players offer affordable alternatives to replace Davis, each with a unique athletic potential.