Giants gearing up for fierce position battle at linebacker

micah mcfadden, new york giants
New York Giants safety Landon Collins (21) and linebacker Micah McFadden (41) on the field during practice in East Rutherford on Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2023. Football Giants Practice

The New York Giants undertook substantial measures to augment their linebacker position this off-season. Bobby Okereke, an ex-defender for the Indianapolis Colts, was signed to a four-year, $40 million contract, effectively securing the LB1 spot.

At the age of 26, Okereke registered a total of 151 tackles in the previous season, with six of these being tackles for loss and five successful passes defended. This makes him arguably the most accomplished linebacker the Giants have acquired in quite a while, outdoing even the commendable performance of Blake Martinez in past years.

Yet, the position alongside Okereke remains to be filled, with Darrian Beavers and Michael McFadden likely to compete for it.

The team’s defensive coordinator, Wink Martindale, recently offered high praise for McFadden, noting his marked progress:

“I’ll tell you, Micah [McFadden] has really improved.”

The Giants are gearing up for a position battle at LB2:

McFadden played in 435 defensive snaps in 2022, demonstrated reliable tackling abilities, and performed commendably in run defense.

Despite disappointing coverage grades, a few strong games suggest promising potential. McFadden, a former 5th-round pick from Indiana, aspires to elevate his game, particularly as a run defender capable of rushing the passer from the linebacker position. He managed six total pressures with two sacks and four quarterback hurries during his rookie year.

Beavers, by contrast, was a 6th-round pick last year from Cincinnati. After an ACL tear during the preseason, Beavers is eager to make a successful comeback and secure a starting position. In his final season at Cincinnati, he amassed 98 tackles with 11 tackles for a loss and 4.0 sacks.

During training camp, Beavers demonstrated his potential, applying his excellent vision to interpret plays and position himself effectively.

At 6’3″ and 242 pounds, Beavers may not be the most athletically gifted player on the field, but his strong football IQ and ability to locate the ball compensate for that.

While McFadden, with his NFL experience, might currently have an edge, Beavers stands a good chance of claiming a starting position this off-season.