The New York Giants made it a priority to overhaul several positions this off-season, one of them being linebacker, where they replaced Alec Ogletree and spent a bevy of late-round picks to build out the depth on the roster.
While we can expect new signing Blake Martinez to be an upgrade over Ogletree, Ryan Connelly is returning from an ACL tear last season and is an unknown going into 2020. Best case scenario, Connelly emerges as the sure-fire starter and picks up where he left off in 2019 when he had 2 interceptions, 20 combine tackles, 1.0 sacks, and missed zero tackles over four games.
However, the Giants went out and drafted Cam Brown out of Penn State in the sixth round. He was primarily a 4-3 base linebacker from the strong side, which doesn’t match up with new defensive coordinator Patrick Graham’s scheme.
Despite Graham utilizing a system that doesn’t fit Brown specifically, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a position for him on defense. With his size, there is hope he can develop into a 3-4 outside linebacker who rushes the passer on earlier downs.
It’s possible he could transition to an inside linebacker role and provide depth behind Connelly or Martinez. At 6-foot-5 and with 34-inch arms, Brown should be utilized off the edge.
Taking a look at Cam Brown’s stats from 2019
His numbers from 2019 were solid, as he started 13 games, 12 at linebacker, with 72 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 4 passes defended, and 16 QB pressures.
Despite Brown’s odd fit on defense for the Giants, he is a high character player that brings fantastic intensity to the game. He was the Penn State leader and Captain, giving the Giants another excellent person and player to mix into the competition.
Even if Brown doesn’t play on defense, he can be a fantastic special-teams player, and I expect him to make an impact right away.
One thing that certainly stands out for Brown is his incredible reach. He reminds me a bit of Lorenzo Carter, given his size and bend around the edge. However, Brown’s athleticism is average, despite his reach and solid explosion from the line of scrimmage. As a sixth-round pick, the Giants are expecting him to be a solid player on special teams and hopefully develop into a rotational player on defense. Of course, the ultimate goal is to find a starting-caliber player in Brown down the line.