Giants’ All-Pro-snubbed LB named a ‘secret superstar’ by PFF

New York Giants linebacker Bobby Okereke (58) against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants made a splash in free agency last offseason, signing veteran linebacker Bobby Okereke to a four-year, $40 million contract. In his first season with the team, Okereke put together a remarkable campaign that many felt was worthy of a spot on one of the 2023 All-Pro teams. Okereke was snubbed from the All-Pro rosters, however, he was recently recognized by Pro Football Focus as one of the league’s “secret superstars.”

Giants’ Bobby Okereke was recently named a “secret superstar” by PFF

Okereke’s first season with the Giants was an individual success despite the team’s struggles. The 27-year-old linebacker is hitting his prime after a career year in 2023. PFF’s Thomas Valentine went as far as to say that Okereke established himself as a “secret superstar” this season:

“Okereke proved his value to the Giants in his first season with the team in 2023, leading the team with 149 tackles — the 10th-most in the NFL — and earning a 78.2 overall PFF grade in the process,” Valentine wrote. “The former Colt was a leader and stepped up when the Giants needed him the most.

“He did everything from rush the passer, earning 20 pressures, to snagging two interceptions and proving to be reliable in coverage.”

Throughout the season, Okereke was the Giants’ rock on defense. He was all over the field, making plays in coverage, against the run, and as a pass-rusher. He set new career highs this season with 10 passes defended, four forced fumbles, 11 tackles for loss, and 2.5 sacks. He also totaled two interceptions and 149 combined tackles — his third consecutive season with at least 130 tackles.

The Giants’ linebacker corps had been a weakness for several years before the arrival of Okereke. But now, entering the 2024 season with Okereke and Micah McFadden (another player who had a breakout 2023 campaign), the Giants’ linebacker room is one of the team’s biggest strengths. Okereke and McFadden will aim to be the glue that holds the defense together in 2024.

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