Giants’ ‘dependable’ 2nd-year LB could take a starting job this season

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 are opening a competition for their No. 2 linebacker spot this summer. After signing LB Bobby Okerke in free agency, their primary linebacker position is filled. However, the second starting job alongside Okereke still needs to be filled. Micah McFadden seems to be the man for the job as the second-year linebacker has been standing out at training camp.

Brian Daboll says Micah McFadden is “dependable”

McFadden is the frontrunner for the No. 2 linebacker role after appearing in all 17 games for Big Blue as a rookie. Making seven starts in 2022, McFadden totaled 59 combined tackles, six tackles for loss, and two sacks. Sometimes, the best ability is availability, and McFadden proved he could be available during his rookie season.

When asked about McFadden during training camp, Giants head coach Brian Daboll referred to the second-year defender as a dependable player for Big Blue as he seeks a starting role in the lineup.

He’s been dependable, he’s been out there. He’s had a lot of reps. He’s done a nice job in there, he’s one more year in the system and he’s a competitive guy.

Brian Daboll on Micah McFadden via Giants.com

Can McFadden start for the Giants?

Daboll has not been the only Giants coach to praise McFadden this offseason. Defensive coordinator Wink Martindale expressed confidence in McFadden, saying he has “really improved” this offseason. McFadden possesses a pass-rushing ability that makes him fit in well with Martindale’s style of defense.

During his college career, McFadden was an elite pass rusher, as his 92.0 PFF pass-rush grade ranked first among Big Ten linebackers in 2021. He also totaled 50 pressures across his final two seasons, the second-most among Big Ten linebackers during the timeframe, per PFF.

Competing alongside McFadden for the No. 2 linebacker job, however, is fellow draft classmate Darrian Beavers. The Cincinnati product missed the entirety of his rookie season with a torn ACL but has been standing out at training camp. Beavers, a 6-foot-4, 256-pound linebacker, is the type of run defender New York’s defense has been missing.

As the preseason rapidly approaches, McFadden will need to prove his worth in run defense as he continues to stand out as an excellent blitzing off-ball linebacker. His pass-rushing capabilities could secure McFadden the starting job in Martindale’s aggressive defense.