Giants: Crucial position battle at LB2 is heating up

micah mcfadden, new york giants
Dec 11, 2022; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New York Giants linebacker Micah McFadden (41) tackles Philadelphia Eagles tight end Jack Stoll (89) during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tom Horak-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants have a crucial position battle at the No. 2 LB position heating up after their first preseason game. Initially, it seemed as though second-year LB Darrian Beavers was leading the race for the starting job. However, after an impressive outing in the team’s preseason opener, Micah McFadden seems to be entering his name back into the running.

Darrian Beavers was listed as the starter on the unofficial depth chart

When the Giants revealed their first unofficial depth chart last week, Beavers was listed as the defense’s first-team WILL linebacker. This led many to believe that he was winning the race for the starting job. Beavers did not play in the team’s first preseason game which further solidified the assumption that he was viewed as a starter. McFadden, however, did play in the first preseason game- and played at an exceptional level.

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Did Micah McFadden do enough to steal the position?

McFadden was one of the Giants’ highest-graded players in Friday’s preseason opener against the Detroit Lions, per Pro Football Focus. He posted a 90.5 overall grade on 14 defensive snaps in the contest, totaling two tackles in that span. It was an impressive, albeit brief performance out of McFadden as he looks to take the starting job back from Beavers this preseason.

The Giants know what they have in McFadden

Unlike Beavers, the Giants have a good idea of what they have in McFadden. As a rookie last season, McFadden played in all 17 games totaling 59 combine tackles, six tackles for loss, two quarterback hits, and two sacks. He made seven starts as a rookie and entered this summer looking like a new and improved version of himself. Defensive coordinator Wink Martindale praised McFadden earlier this off-season:

“It’s all a competition right now with he and J.D. (Jarrad Davis), and I’ll tell you, Micah has really improved.”

Wink Martindale

Inversely, Beavers missed the entirety of his rookie season with an injury. While he has looked excellent throughout the summer, McFadden’s 17 games of experience could give him an edge in the position battle.