One essential position the New York Giants needed to address in the 2022 NFL draft was linebacker. They landed Indiana defender Micah McFadden and Cincinnati LB Darrian Beavers to the roster. Both will compete alongside Blake Martinez for the LB2 spot. The Giants have rolled with Tae Crowder, the last pick in the 2020 NFL draft. Crowder has solid experience but lacks athletic upside, and the Giants wanted more players that fit their scheme well after overhauling the coaching staff this off-season.
McFadden stands out as a perfect scheme fit for Big Blue, showcasing great aggressiveness. He looks for contact. McFadden’s also capable of blitzing from the linebacker position, which makes him extremely valuable in Martindale’s blitz-heavy scheme.
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McFadden fell to the 5th round for the Giants, far lower than he expected to go. That’s given him a chip on his shoulder to work harder and earn a big second contract in the NFL.
“I think it just puts a chip on your shoulder,” McFadden said on Saturday. “You know, you want to get better and you want to, everybody wants to play, and kind of being overlooked like that, it makes you want to play even more and it makes you go harder.”
In 2021, McFadden posted 6.5 sacks, 15.5 tackles for loss, and 77 total tackles. He has similar attributes to Blake Martinez, who is one of the best tackling linebackers in football. Martinez should be a tremendous mentor for McFadden, teaching him to be a productive tackler without becoming a liability. McFadden missed 16 tackles last season, a massive number that needs to be corrected at the next level.
Micah McFadden had 96 total pressures and 14 career sacks.
He was a critical part of Indiana's pressure package and was used in various ways. Here are some clips. pic.twitter.com/ppV65qDAyS
— Nick Falato (@nickfalato) May 3, 2022
Taking a look at the clips above, Indiana utilized McFadden aggressively as a part of their blitz packages. The negatives regarding Micah’s game are that he is awful in coverage and serves primarily as a run-stopping/blitzing linebacker.
Beavers, the Giants’ 6th-round pick, is a far better coverage linebacker, who we may see on earlier downs, with McFadden putting pressure on opposing quarterbacks on third downs to try and force mistakes. Athletically, McFadden ranked above average with his 3-cone and 20-yard shuttle times, showcasing good speed and agility.
McFadden’s biggest positive is his physicality, so I expect the Giants to extrapolate on that attribute.