The New York Giants‘ defense will likely be without some of its best players to kick off the 2022 regular season. Edge rushers Kayvon Thibodeaux and Azeez Ojulari are both expected to sit this game out with injuries. The Giants elevated Quincy Roche from their practice squad to supplement these losses. But the Giants also recently lost their starting linebacker by releasing veteran Blake Martinez. Due to this lack of pass-rushing depth combined with a thin linebacker corps, the Giants will have to rely on rookie linebacker Micah McFadden to play a crucial role against the Tennessee Titans.
Micah McFadden will need to play a crucial role for the Giants
The New York Giants drafted Micah McFadden out of Indiana with the 146th overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. As a fifth-round rookie, expectations should not be set too high for McFadden. However, the young defender is going to play far more than most late-round picks are required to early on in their careers.
Micah McFadden is currently listed as the second-string linebacker on the New York Giants depth chart. The Giants will give McFadden ample playing time for his regular-season debut. But McFadden’s usage in defensive coordinator Wink Martindale’s scheme will be unique. The Giants are likely to call upon Micah McFadden to play a niche, but critical role in their defensive game plan.
With a lack of depth on the edge, the Giants are going to have to get creative while generating a pass rush against the Titans. Wink Martindale will likely draw up some creative blitz packages and run many stunts along the defensive line to gain tactical advantages. Micah McFadden will be utilized in those blitz packages.
In 2021, Micah produced 6.5 sacks, 15.5 tackles for loss, and 77 total tackles. Micah McFadden was graded by PFF as the best pass-rushing off-ball linebacker in CFB last year. Had 26.5 TFL and 12.5 sacks the last two years and a 92.9 PFF pass-rush grade since 2020. McFadden’s specialty is blitzing. As the Giants call need to get creative to generate pressure, Micah McFadden will play a crucial role as a blitzing off-ball linebacker in Week One.