The New York Giants took a number of players in this year’s NFL Draft that could be called sleeper prospects, but one of the ones that’s gotten the most attention so far is Penn State linebacker Cam Brown. That’s for good reason. Brown played a large role in a defense for one of the top teams in the Big Ten, a premier college conference, and showed his versatility through a four year career with the Nittany Lions where he received playing time in every season.
The team was able to acquire Brown, however, not in the upper rounds but in the sixth – it looks like the rest of the league may have undervalued the player, and for that, the Giants get a player that might work his way into the lineup and make an impact despite the front office only spending a low cost to get him. It’s additions like these that, if they work out, can help boost a team’s progress in rebuilding.
What does Brown’s college head coach, James Franklin, have to say about his former linebacker?
“Well, he’s a culture driver. We talk about that all the time. He’s a guy that is going to have meetings with the coaches then be able to take that information down into the locker room. He plays aggressive, he plays violent, he throws his body around. Yeah, I think he’s what coaches are looking for. Everything I know about Coach Judge and everything I know about the organization that he came from, he’s going to align with that,” Franklin said to Giants.com.
The Giants could use players like that at linebacker. It hasn’t been the worst position for the team, but the Giants also haven’t had standouts at the position either in recent years – the player that made the most waves at the position last season, outside linebacker Markus Golden, seems unlikely to return. Lorenzo Carter, who many hoped would develop into a player worthy of the faith the Giants have placed in him, hasn’t performed to expectations. The Giants have newcomers such as Blake Martinez and Kyler Fackrell, but it remains to be seen how well both players will adapt to their new team.
In this uncertainty, there may be a chance for Brown to make a name for himself. He does, after all, have a combination of qualities that help at the next level.
“Length is important because it takes away space from an offense. Now, when you take the combination of good speed, length and intelligence, because intelligence is the other thing. Intelligence allows you to play fast… I think that is what’s attractive to the coaches of the Giants about Cam, one of his unique qualities,” Franklin continued.
Brown will have plenty of competition at linebacker, regardless of where the Giants end up lining him up – they return players from last season and have already brought in other new additions from free agency, after all. And as a sixth round pick, it looks like an uphill battle. But the Giants aren’t strangers to using players that weren’t drafted highly. Mid round picks from last year included Julian Love and Darius Slayton, the latter player ending up with eight touchdowns when the year was said and done, and Love entering the secondary as a potential starter this season.
Could Brown be the unexpected breakout player of this season like others were last year for the Giants? If some voices are to be believed, that’s not such an unlikely idea.