Giants’ linebacker corps could be formidable in 2023

bobby okereke, new york giants

One position the New York Giants have had difficulty addressing in recent years is linebacker. Despite former general manager Dave Gettleman signing Blake Martinez and drafting a few late-round prospects, the position has not been adequately resolved for some time. However, it was such a glaring weakness in 2022 that GM Joe Schoen decided it must be prioritized in free agency.

Big Blue went out and acquired one of the best linebackers on the market, Bobby Okereke, from the Indianapolis Colts. In last year’s draft, Schoen selected Darrian Beavers from Cincinnati and Micah McFadden from Indiana. Although Beavers suffered a torn ACL before the season even began, and McFadden experienced numerous rookie growing pains, there are some promising players with developmental potential on the roster.

Giants’ linebacker corps:

1.) Bobby Okereke

Okereke is a sideline-to-sideline linebacker who will serve as the MIKE in the middle of the defense. The former third-round pick by the Colts is 26 years old and stands at 6-foot-1 and 235 pounds.

With good size, Okereke recorded 151 combined tackles last year, with six tackles for a loss and five passes defended. He also forced two fumbles. However, Indianapolis used him as a second-level linebacker and did not fully capitalize on his athleticism. He is not known for his ability to rush the passer from the linebacker position, but defensive coordinator Wink Martindale loves aggressive players with whom he can get creative.

Without a doubt, Bobby is a significant upgrade from what the Giants had last year and should solidify a unit that has been riddled with problems.

2.) Darrian Beavers

Many are excited about the prospect of Darrian Beavers. As mentioned, he is coming off an ACL tear that will likely limit his production this upcoming season, but he was experienced at the collegiate level coming out of Cincinnati. He accumulated 98 tackles in his senior year in 2021. He demonstrated good vision during training camp and was making a name for himself, increasing his stock.

We will see what Beavers looks like post-injury, but he has the football IQ and vision to be a solid linebacker for the Giants alongside Okereke.

3.) Micah McFadden

The Giants asked rookie Micah McFadden from Indiana to step up big in 2022.

The 23-year-old struggled but did appear in all 17 games, starting in seven. He collected 59 combined tackles with six tackles for a loss, two sacks, and two quarterback hits. McFadden is a downhill linebacker who loves to get involved, which certainly fits Martindale’s mold.

While I do not view McFadden as a starter, I believe he will be a useful rotational piece that can pressure the quarterback and exhibit aggression in the running game. He can overcommit due to his aggressive style, but he has the physical profile to be a decent player at the NFL level.

4.) Jarrad Davis

The Giants picked up Davis late in the season to replace Tae Crowder. Davis had a solid first game with Big Blue against the Chicago Bears but struggled in coverage and was poor with his tackling. Davis is a significant liability in the receiving game, but he can contribute positively in the run game. Ideally, the Giants would find a better coverage linebacker to pair with Okereke, but Davis is a fine reserve, given his experience.

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