The New York Giants upgraded their linebacker corps in a significant fashion this offseason when signing Bobby Okereke. In his first season with Big Blue, Okereke has transformed the Giants’ defense as he makes his case for an All-Pro team selection.
Bobby Okereke is playing at an All-Pro level
After spending the first four seasons of his career with the Indianapolis Colts, Okereke made the move to the Big Apple this offseason, taking over as the No. 1 linebacker in Wink Martindale’s system. Okereke has flourished in this role, elevating his game to new heights and having the best season of his career so far.
This season, Okereke is the only player in the NFL to have posted 100+ tackles, nine or more tackles for loss, and eight or more passes defended, per Dan Salamone of Giants.com.
In addition to his 119 combined tackles, nine tackles for loss, and eight passes defended, Okereke has been a turnover-forcing machine. He’s snagged two interceptions and forced four fumbles already this season. Okereke has a knack for getting his hands on the football and is constantly making plays.
Okereke’s elite level of play is sure to earn him some accolades at the end of the season. He’s currently in the top 10 of voting at his position for the Pro Bowl, seeming like a lock to make his first trip to the honorary game. But the honors shouldn’t end there as Okereke’s stats make him deserving of an All-Pro selection.
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Okereke has transformed the Giants’ defense
At 5-8, the Giants are still somehow in the playoff hunt, but it has been a rather disappointing season. The team sustained a slew of difficult losses at the beginning of the season, putting themselves in a deep hole to climb out of.
This was no fault of the defense, though, as Okereke’s unit has performed at an exceptionally high level all season long. Okereke has been a big part of the defense’s transformation as a captain in his first season with the team and a true leader in the middle of Martindale’s unit.
The development of Okereke and others demonstrates the Giants’ need to retain Martindale as defensive coordinator this offseason.
Okereke recently gave a glowing review of Martindale, further emphasizing the team’s need to retain the coordinator:
“Wink’s been such an influential leader for us, and [there is] everything that Dabes has done from a leadership standpoint bringing this team together. Obviously everybody has different approaches, and I think friction can be positive if you just wanna get to the right result. Obviously it’s good to have a difference of opinions. I think that promotes growth. So I think as long as everybody has their intention in the right place, being team first, I think it’ll all work out.”Bobby Okereke via The New York Daily News
It’s been a long time since the New York Giants have had a linebacker of this quality. Okereke has been a consistently high-level player all season long for Big Blue and is proving to be one of the strongest linebackers in the NFL this season.