The New York Giants have finally addressed a weak linebacker corps that hasn’t seen talent since the days of Antonio Pierce. While Jonathan Casillas provided a nice boost of confidence in the locker room, his skill on the field was limited drastically by his poor-athleticism and lack of speed.
The Giants have now fortified their linebackers with Alec Ogletree, Kareem Martin, and third-round pick Lorenzo Carter. While Carter would have been an afterthought a year ago in a 4-3 defense, his skillset is perfectly fit for the 3-4 the Giants will be transitioning to in 2018.
The New York Giants have a new crop of rookies and a ton of talent on both sides of the ball. You won’t want to miss out on any breaking news stories, updates, or every-day activities! Sign up for FREE to receive premium content delivered straight to your email.
New York’s new defensive coordinator,James Bettcher, is a genius in sending linebackers off the edge and setting the tone for the interior lineman. Bettcher has already emphasized the usage of his outside linebackers, helping Olivier Vernon make the transition from defensive end. Vernon will now rush from an outside position, rather than starting on the interior.
Former DE for the Giants, Justin Tuck, spoke well of the new face in the room, Carter:
“I really like Lorenzo Carter, their third-round pick,” Tuck said in an interview with NJ Advance Media. “He’s a guy that kind of fits the mold that can get after the passer. I know that was a weakness for their defense last year, but I know this new staff is trying to address that.”
Carter ran a 4.50 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine and weighed in at 250 pounds. His elite speed and height (6-foot-6) gives him a unique blend of athleticism and versatility on the field, and utilizing him in the 3-4 will allow him to get after the quarterback. His long arms also give him a leg-up in stopping the run and corralling the ball-carrier. His major setback is his lack of muscle and size, which should be fixable in the NFL. Expect him to put on at least an additional 10-15 pounds of muscle mass before the season is under way.
One of the more exciting aspects of Carter is his ability to drop back in coverage and take up a lot of space in the shallow routes. By spreading his arms and making himself big, he can effectively force a quarterback to proceed through their progressions just long enough to allow the defensive line to collapse on the pocket. But don’t get that idea twisted, Carter will primarily be rushing the quarterback.
“They need more pass rushers,” Tuck said. “When I was playing, we had a big assortment of guys that could fit that mold.” …We can always use more pass rushers.”
Carter should play an immediate role on the defense, and by adding more muscle mass he should continue to develop even further into a quality linebacker in the NFL.