The New York Giants waited until the late rounds to address the linebacker position, picking up Micah McFadden out of Indiana and Darrian Beavers from Cincinnati in the 5th and 6th round respectively.
New general manager Joe Schoen took a very intriguing approach toward his draft class, focusing on scheme fits and players they can build around instead of simply the best player available approach.
With that in mind, Schoen spent one of his 5th round picks on the Indiana linebacker, who made a significant impact in the Big Ten last year as a senior. Standing at 6’1″ and 240 pounds, McFadden is made of pure muscle but is a bit undersized to play be a well-rounder LB in the NFL. He was initially projected as a 6th-round draft pick, but the Giants will sidestep his coverage liabilities and focus purely on his pass-rush and run-stopping traits.
In 2021, Micah produced 6.5 sacks, 15.5 tackles for loss, and 77 total tackles. His numbers undoubtedly jump off the screen but he comes with weaknesses and technical vulnerabilities. McFadden played in 738 snaps last year, including 342 run defense snaps, 124 pass-rush snaps, and 272 coverage snaps.
McFadden missed 16 tackles, which represents one of his negative traits. However, that is mostly due to bad form and lack of technique, something the Giants can easily coach out with time and experience. There’s a lot to like regarding McFadden, though, specifically that he seeks out contact and loves to get involved in the run game. He’s extremely powerful at the point of attack and can win a number of different ways as a blitzer, which will benefit Martindale’s system.
Tangibly, McFadden ranked in the 87th percentile with his 20-yard shuttle at 4.15 seconds and in the 88th percentile with his 3-cone at 6.88 seconds. He has below-average arm length and average height, but he’s extremely quick and decisive.
Martindale loves to play a blitz-heavy Cover-1 scheme, so pairing McFadden with Blake Martinez could benefit the team tremendously if the Giants would prefer Blake stay at the second level and mitigate any big plays in the run game. Micah gives me shades of former Giants LB Ryan Connelly with a bit more pass-rush to his game.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see McFadden start his career with the punt team, serving as a blocker in the middle of the formation.