New York Jets: Roadmap To A Ring, Mock Draft with Trades

The New York Jets attacked free agency in a unique manner that I didn’t expect. Rather than spend on Conklin or any other premier guys, they signed their guys to short term prove it deals. In our final edition of Roadmap To A Ring, this is the draft, who do the Jets take with all their picks, including a major trade to add more depth. This draft is not what Joe Douglas will do, it’s what I would do in his spot.

Jets TRADE Pick #11 to Buccaneers for Pick #14 & Pick #76 and select Andrew Thomas OT, Georgia

A whole lot to unload here, the Jets trade down with two of the top offensive tackles on the board. The Buccaneers then take Wills, with the Raiders and 49ers both taking receivers, Thomas is still on the board at 14. The Jets then get their future tackle and an extra pick. This would be a dream scenario for the Jets.

Pick #48 Zack Baun EDGE, Wisconsin

Baun is a high IQ pass rusher. Excellent leader and a great playmaker on defense. I liked him from the first time I saw him play. He’s shot up draft boards and he has become a great steal at this spot. Baun is immediately going to bolster the pass rush and is a GREAT value pick at 48.

Pick #68 Laviska Shenault Jr WR, Colorado

Shenault has a sketchy injury history. This raises some injury question marks. I don’t see many other obvious flaws than that. With that said, Laviska is going to fall. Maybe not to this spot, but hopefully he’s available for the Jets at some point. Shenault is dynamic, quick and an absolute game-breaker with the ball in his hands. At one time he was a top 3 WR in this class. As other guys rose, he fell. Now Laviska would be an excellent selection here.

Pick #76 from TB Cameron Dantzler CB, Mississippi State

Dantzler is an aggressive press corner. He’s efficient and could develop into a solid outside corner. He’s a “dawg” and would fit well in Gregg Williams’s defense. He’s a sneaky solid pickup with a few concerns about penalties.

Pick #79 Donovan Peoples-Jones WR, Michigan

Joe Douglas is dedicated to adding playmakers, boy oh boy would this be a pickup. Jones is an electric receiver. He’s a force in the return game. He’s also a deep threat. He and Shenault would be a dynamic combo and accomplish Douglas’s goal for adding playmakers.

Pick #120 Tyler Biadasz IOL, Wisconsin

Tyler Biadasz has had his stock drop for some reason. He’s likely to be a day 2 pick, or early day 3. He’s a great center and could be a great pick for the Jets to play guard and develop alongside McGovern and potentially take Van Roten’s spot at some point. If Biadasz isn’t the guy, look for Matt Hennessy in the 3rd round.

Pick #158 Geno Stone S, Iowa

Stone is a solid safety. A good option to be a backup for the future. Where he excels is special teams. Stone would fit the Rontez Miles role and has the potential to be better than him already in year one. Stone also has great tackling ability and is a good depth piece overall.

Pick #191 Rodrigo Blankenship K

The Kicker position would finally have its answer. “Hot Rod” Rodrigo Blankenship, is the top kicker in the draft. He’s been the top kicker in college football. He’d immediately take over the Jets kicking role. Those missed kicks wouldn’t be an issue with Hot Rod. There’s potential that the Jets can draft their franchise kicker here.

This draft would be a very very good one. Stone is depth. Biadasz is a future IOL piece. Blankenship is the kicker of the future. Jones and Shenault are excellent playmakers. Dantzler is an immediate depth player with high potential at corner. Thomas is the left tackle of the future. All great assets, all would make for a great draft class. 

New York Giants To Re-Sign Wide Receiver Corey Coleman

New York Giants, Corey Coleman

The New York Giants are re-signing wide receiver Corey Coleman to a one-year deal, according to Jordan Raanan of ESPN. Coleman missed the entire 2019 season with a torn ACL. The 25-year-old receiver suffered the gruesome injury in the first training camp practice of 2019.

The Giants signed Coleman in 2018 after the New England Patriots cut him. Corey Coleman is a former first-round draft pick from the Cleveland Browns in 2016. He has struggled to find his footing in the NFL and has been on four teams in the last two years.

In 2018, Corey Coleman appeared in eight games for the Giants, starting in one of those games. He was targeted eight times, tallying five receptions for 71 yards and five first downs. Coleman was expected to receive an increased role in the offense in the 2019 season before his injury. The Giants’ offense sorely missed a deep-threat, speedy receiver, a position Coleman could surely fill.

Since suffering the ACL injury last offseason, Coleman has been patiently waiting for a second chance. It seems now that he has received that chance and will have the opportunity to once again fight for a roster spot with the New York Giants.

Are The New York Giants Setting Their Defense Up For Isaiah Simmons?

New York Giants looking at Isaiah Simmons in 2020 NFL Draft?

The New York Giants made a couple of big-splash signings on the first day of free agency. New York landed cornerback James Bradberry and linebacker Blake Martinez, both of which will be new starters on the defense making over $10 million per year.

What NFL teams do in free agency usually indicates what they are planning to do in the draft. The Giants’ general manager Dave Gettleman once said, “You address issues with free agency so that you can set yourself up in the draft so you take the best player available.”

Who would be the best player available for the Giants with the fourth overall pick? Most likely, linebacker Isaiah Simmons. But the Giants just signed three linebackers: Blake Martinez, Kyler Fackrell, and David Mayo. Does this mean they will not be drafting Simmons? Well, it might actually indicate the opposite.

The Giants Did Not Improve Their Linebackers’ Coverage Ability

The biggest complaint Giants fans have with the Blake Martinez signing is not about the player’s actual talent level. Instead, it is about Martinez’s playing strengths and style. Blake Martinez is not a coverage linebacker. In 2019, Martinez allowed a completion percentage of 83.8% in his coverage. Giants fans will criticize this signing because Cory Littleton and Joe Schobert, linebackers who are known for being able to make plays in coverage, were signed to contracts similar in price to that of Martinez.

The Giants’ inability to guard athletic tight ends and receiving running backs has been the Achilles heel of the defense for years. Former Giants’ linebacker Alec Ogletree allowed a completion percentage of 83.0% in his coverage in 2019. The Blake Martinez signing (83.8%) does not exactly fix this error in the Giants’ defense. But there is another linebacker who will be available this season that could fix that error.

Isaiah Simmons’s top strength is his ability to make plays in coverage. Simmons, the Swiss-Army-Knife defender out of Clemson is the top linebacker prospect in the 2020 NFL Draft. He is expected to be on the board when the Giants are picking fourth overall and he is expected to be the best defensive player available. Gettleman wants to take the best player available, but after investing heavily in the linebacker position in free agency, will he? Many fans believe Gettleman’s moves in free agency signal that he will be going offensive tackle in the first round of the draft. Here is why that might not be true:

Isaiah Simmons Would Mesh Perfectly With The Giants’ Linebackers

Blake Martinez and David Mayo are prototypical run-stuffing inside linebackers. Martinez racked up 144 tackles in 2017, 155 tackles in 2018, and 144 tackles in 2019. He is known for being a stalwart run-defender. But he is also known, as stated above, for struggling in pass-coverage.

In 2019, David Mayo totaled 82 combined tackles in 13 games. Additionally, Mayo had 5 tackles for loss and 2 sacks. However, Mayo’s coverage was targeted 29 times and he allowed 19 completions, a 65.5% completion percentage. His poor performance in coverage makes it hard to imagine the Giants relying on him and Martinez as their primary inside linebackers. Neither Martinez nor Mayo are proficient in coverage. But Isaiah Simmons is.

According to Pro Football Focus, Isaiah Simmons has allowed only 6.0 yards per target and has earned a PFF coverage grade of 92.5. Isaiah Simmons is exceptional in man-coverage. He has the coverage-ability of a safety but has the size to play linebacker in the NFL. Simmons is no pushover in run-defense either, totaling 104 tackles in 2019 to go along with his 3 interceptions.

All of this falls perfectly in line with what head coach Joe Judge said during his introductory press conference:

Let them play to their strengths. Don’t sit in a meeting and tell me what you don’t have in a player. Don’t tell me they can’t do certain things, tell me what they can do and then we’ll figure out as coaches, because that’s our job, how we can use that. –Joe Judge, head coach of the New York Giants

The Giants’ new head coach plans to play his players to their strengths. If that holds true, do not expect to see Blake Martinez and David Mayo lined up in man coverage on tight ends and slot receivers very often. If the Giants do in fact draft Isaiah Simmons, he will be lining up in man coverage while Martinez plugs the gaps in run defense and blitzes on passing downs. Adding Simmons into the fold masks Martinez’s weaknesses and allows the defense to operate at an efficient level with the linebackers playing to their strengths.

New York Giants land linebacker Blake Martinez in free agency – here’s what you need to know

New York Giants, Blake Martinez

The New York Giants have made another free agent signing. This time, Dave Gettleman and company struck a deal with inside linebacker Blake Martinez, per Mike Garafolo. Martinez and the Giants have agreed to a three-year deal worth $30 million.

Blake Martinez Stats And Highlights

Blake Martinez is a four-year NFL veteran who has spent his entire career with the Green Bay Packers. The 26-year-old linebacker out of Stanford is a tackle machine. He is also a reliable, healthy player that has started all 16 games for the Packers in each of the last three seasons.

Martinez has recorded 144 or more combined tackles in each of the last three seasons. He posted a career-high 155 combined tackles in 2019. In 2018, Martinez only missed 12 tackles (7.7%) and in 2019 he missed 18 tackles (10.4%).

The Packers inside linebacker is also a pretty decent pass-rusher, despite seeing his role as a pass-rusher decline in 2019. In 2018, Martinez blitzed 61 times, recording 11 pressures, 5 hurries, and 5 sacks. The Packers only brought Blake on 24 blitzes in 2019, but he was still efficient. He recorded 5 pressures, 2 hurries, and 3 sacks on his 24 blitz attempts this past season.

Blake Martinez is an excellent run defender and solid pass-rusher, but he has proven to be a bit of a liability in pass coverage. In 2018, Blake Matinez surrendered a 73.8% completion percentage on the 61 targets in his coverage (45 completions). The opposition gained 410 yards on those 45 completions and scored 5 touchdowns. Martinez allowed a 118.9 passer rating when targeted in 2018.

2019 was an even worse performance by Martinez in pass coverage. His completion percentage allowed rose to 83.8%, allowing opponents to complete 62 passes on 74 targets for 570 yards and 2 touchdowns. This is definitely a major red flag for the New York Giants after signing Blake Martinez during the 2020 free agency period.

A Look At The New York Giants’ 2020 Secondary After Signing James Bradberry

The New York Giants made a big splash signing today. Dave Gettleman and company signed cornerback James Bradberry to a three-year, $15 million deal, making him one of the highest-paid cornerbacks in the NFL. Bradberry is 26 years old and was drafted in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft by Dave Gettleman and the Carolina Panthers.

James Bradberry is the Giants’ new number one cornerback. He will be the guy that follows opposing teams’ primary receiver. Bradberry will join a youthful Giants secondary that has received a heavy investment of assets in recent years. The former Carolina Panthers corner will be a big upgrade for the Giants’ secondary.

The Killer B’s

The New York Giants’ cornerbacks in 2020 (barring any more additions) will be as follows: James Bradberry, DeAndre Baker, Same Beal, Corey Ballentine, and Grant Haley. The oldest of the bunch is Bradberry at 26-years-old. Baker and Ballentine will both be entering their sophomore seasons while Beal enters his third pro season.

The Giants have a young group of cornerbacks that will start the 2020 NFL season. Youth, of course, means inexperience, also. That could be New York’s defensive downfall. But hopefully adding a veteran cornerback in James Bradberry helps the rest of the group develop.

The Two Jay’s

Jabrill Peppers and Julian Love will enter the 2020 NFL season as the Giants’ starting safeties (unless the team signs or drafts somebody uber-talented between now and September). The team’s safety duo provides more youthful talent to the defense. Julian Love is 21 and entering his second NFL season. Jabrill Peppers is 24, entering his fourth NFL season and second season with the New York Giants.

Julian Love showed promise filling in as a starter for the injured Peppers in the final five games of the 2019 season. He recorded 37 combined tackles, 1 interception, 1 forced fumble, and only 4 missed tackles in 2019. The former collegiate slot cornerback converted to safety as a rookie and allowed only 190 yards and 1 touchdown in coverage.

Jabrill Peppers suffered an injury in 2019 that caused him to miss the final five games of the season. Up to that point, however, Jabrill was performing as possibly the best player on the Giants’ defense. In 11 games, JP totaled 76 combined tackles, 3 forced fumbles, 1 interception, and allowed only 1 touchdown in coverage.

The Giants’ young, talented secondary gives fans a reason to be excited heading into the 2020 NFL season. The youthful unit has all the potential in the world. Expect an impressive turnaround from the Giants’ pass-defense in 2020.

New York Giants Wise To Lock Up David Mayo

New York Giants, David Mayo

The New York Giants have signed linebacker David Mayo to a three-year contract extension (according to Dan Duggan of The Athletic). This Friday the thirteenth ended up being David’s lucky day. The Giants made the right decision and extended David Mayo on a team-friendly contract.

Affordable Contract

Mayo’s three-year contract extension is worth $8.4 million, according to Ian Rappoport. The former Carolina Panther is receiving a hefty pay increase while the Giants are retaining a consistent contributor in run defense. Mayo’s reliable performance in 2019 makes this deal a bargain for New York’s team.

Consistent Run-Defender

David Mayo started 13 games in 2019 despite being considered a reserve heading into the season. In those 13 games, though, Mayo exceeded all expectations. David’s consistent performance in run-defense throughout the season earned him his new contract.

Pro Football Focus was a big fan of David Mayo in 2019. Mayo earned PFF’s second-highest run-defense grade by an inside linebacker this season. Mayo did struggle in pass-coverage, but his play against the run was consistent and makes him with valuable heading into 2020.

In 2019, David Mayo totaled 82 combined tackles in 13 games. Additionally, Mayo had 5 tackles for loss and 2 sacks. But Mayo’s poor coverage stats will likely keep him from being the Giants’ primary inside linebacker next season. Mayo’s coverage was targeted 29 times and he allowed 19 completions, a 65.5% completion percentage. This is an area where David will need to improve in 2020 if he wants to see his role continue to expand on the Giants’ defense.

New York Giants And Jets Taking Safety Precautions To Avoid COVID-19

NFL, Football

The NFL’s new league year is in jeopardy. The worldwide pandemic, COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus, is now having a serious impact on the sports industry. The NBA announced yesterday that they will be suspending their season. The NHL and MLS have followed their lead.

March Madness, the start of the MLB season, and now even the NFL offseason, too, are in jeopardy. Free agency was set to begin next week and according to Tom Pelissero and Ian Rappoport, the NFL has no plans to move the start of the new league year. Free agency is still scheduled to begin on March 18th, however, teams around the league will be changing their offseason strategies in order to protect themselves from the risk of COVID-19.

The Jets and Giants No Longer Traveling

According to Ian Rappoport, “the New York Giants are among the teams pulling coaches off the road for workouts and Pro Days.” The Gmen’s pre-draft process has been cut short. Rappoport also reported that the New York Jets will be doing the same. All of their scouts and coaches have also been pulled off the road.

The NFL is not requiring that teams do this. Teams will make decisions at their own discretion. But it is expected that most teams in the league will follow the same protocol. These necessary actions could make it difficult for NFL teams to meet with free agents and conduct physicals.

COVID-19 is lethal and fast-spreading. NFL teams are smart to take the proper precautions and avoid risk. It is a dangerous and unfortunate situation that is affecting our nation and our world. To all my readers, please stay safe and take all proper precautions.

Why The New York Giants Should Stay Away From James Bradberry

New York Giants, James Bradberry

Free agency is kicking off next week and the New York Giants are going to have money to spend. The Giants currently have the fifth-most cap space in the NFL with over $78 million dollars available (via Over The Cap).

New York is expected to be shopping near the top of the market. Big-name free agents such as Jadeveon Clowney and Byron Jones have been linked to the Giants in various rumors. But another, lesser-known free agent has also been linked to the Giants recently. According to Ryan Dunleavy of the New York Post, the Giants consider Panthers’ free-agent cornerback James Bradberry to be a “coveted option.”

Overpaying Average Talent

James Bradberry is expected to cost a pretty penny. According to a report by Jeremy Fowler of ESPN, Bradberry is seeking a contract worth approximately $15 million per year. This might be a bit expensive for a 27-year-old cornerback that has never been to a Pro Bowl.

He is seeking that high annual salary and he might not get it, but if the Giants are going to be throwing big money at a cornerback in free agency, Byron Jones is a better option. Jones would cost more, around $16-18 million per year according to Tom Pelissero of NFL.com. However, Byron Jones is an elite talent and is worth being paid elite money. James Bradberry is not worth paying such a large sum.

Elite Payment For Average Performance

In 2019, James Bradberry struggled to make tackles. He totaled a combined 65 tackles this season, however, he also missed 9 tackles. That is a missed tackle percentage of 12.2%, which is a little high.

James Bradberry was not reliable in coverage either. The Panthers’ cornerback was targeted in coverage 97 times in 2019. He allowed 58 completions, a 59.8% completion percentage. The opposition gained 644 yards against Bradberry, but they only scored 1 touchdown.

Bradberry would provide the Giants with average to above-average talent in the secondary. For this reason, he would be an upgrade. However, he is not an upgrade worth nearly $15 million.

New York Giants NFL Draft Profile: Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson

New York Giants looking at Isaiah Simmons in 2020 NFL Draft?

The New York Giants are picking fourth overall in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. This is their third straight season picking inside the top-ten. It is a crucial draft that general manager Dave Gettleman needs to get right in order to keep his job.

There is one name that keeps getting linked to the Giants at fourth overall: Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons.

This is the beginning of a new article series here on Empire Sports Media. This new series, the NFL Draft Profile series, will feature breakdowns of notable draft prospects to create a profile that summarizes and highlights the prospects’ top strengths and weaknesses.

Granted, I am not an expert draft analyst. However, in this article, I will be breaking down Isaiah Simmons as a prospect after watching hours of his film and using credible draft analysis from various sites such as NFL.com, Pro Football Focus, and The Draft Network intertwined with my own analysis. I will use the expert analysis to cross-check and cross-reference. I will use it to confirm or deny what I have seen on film. This article will also be accompanied by a YouTube video.

Stay tuned for plenty more Draft Profiles by myself and others on Empire Sports Media leading up to the 2020 NFL Draft. And if you have any feedback, critiques, or questions, you can reach me on Twitter: @Anthony_Rivardo. Also, check out the YouTube video that accompanies this article featuring a film breakdown here.

Top Strengths:

Before I get into Isaiah Simmons’s Top Strengths, I will list my grades on Isaiah’s traits/skills after watching and taking notes on hours of Isaiah’s game tape:

Play Recognition: 9

Ability to Cut Through Traffic: 7

Effort/Motor: 9

Consistent Tackler: 9

Speed to Get to the Sideline: 10

Effective Blitzer: 7

Coverage: 8

Overall: 8.4

As can be seen from these grades, Simmons is an elite athlete with high football IQ. However, he has some work to do as a true linebacker and could afford to put on a bit more size to help with his strength and ability to fight through contact. If you want to try making your own scouting profile on any NFL Draft prospects, check out John Chapman’s NFL Draft Scouting Rubric here.

Now, to discuss Isaiah’s Top Strengths:

Athleticism:

Isaiah Simmons completely dominated the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine. He nearly broke the internet with his running back-level forty-yard dash time of 4.39 seconds, which was the best time by a linebacker by far. Isaiah also recorded the second-best broad jump by a linebacker at 11’0″ and the tied-third-best vertical jump at 39″.

These numbers should come as no surprise to anyone who watched Simmons play at Clemson. Isaiah demonstrated this speed, explosiveness, and athletic superiority time and time again during his collegiate playing days. Take this interception by Simmons as an example:

Simmons was playing safety here and started in the middle of the field. The opposing quarterback attempted to fit the ball to the receiver down the right sideline, but Simmons’s incredible speed and range allowed him to get all the way to the sideline to make the interception. Linebackers should not be able to do such a thing. In fact, linebackers can not do such a thing. Only Isaiah Simmons can do such a thing. This play perfectly leads us into Simmons’s next Top Strength.

Coverage Ability:

As seen in the video above, Isaiah Simmons has the speed/athleticism to cover the entire field. He demonstrated elite coverage ability from a linebacker over and over again at Clemson.

Simmons strives in man-coverage.

“There isn’t anything I can’t do. Somebody has got to stop the Travis Kelce and George Kittle’s.” – Isaiah Simmons at the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine

This play below is a perfect example of Isaiah’s ridiculous man-coverage ability. Simmons went stride for stride with now-NFL receiver Myles Boykin, got his head turned around and used his length to reach over Boykin and bat the ball down. He was in perfect position throughout the entire route and gave the receiver no chance to make a play on the ball:

That play is only one example of many impressive man-coverage snaps from Isaiah Simmons. His man-coverage shined in the following games for reference: Clemson versus Notre Dame 2018, Clemson versus Virginia 2019, and Clemson versus Ohio State University in 2019 (despite one bad play in man-coverage at the end of this game, he was consistently lock-down throughout the game).

There are times, I noticed, where Simmons gets a little lost in zone coverage. For reference, in Clemson’s game against Texas A&M in 2018, Simmons let up two big plays in zone coverage. The second of the two plays was a crucial 3rd and 8 with 2:22 left in the 4th quarter where Simmons lost the receiver (who sat down in Isaiah’s zone) in his peripheral vision and allowed him to make the reception for a first down and gain all the way down to the one yard-line.

(To cross-check and support what I saw on tape, I looked at scouting profiles of Simmons on The Draft Network. Kyle Crabbs listed “Zone Coverage Anticipation” as Isaiah Simmons’s “Worst Trait.”)

Simmons was inconsistent at times in zone coverage (though far above-average for his position), but he was consistently elite in man coverage, especially for a linebacker. His coverage ability is comparable to that of a safety, which leads us to our next Top Strength.

Versatility:

Isaiah Simmons played over 100 snaps at five different positions in the 2019 CFB season. According to Pro Football Focus, Simmons played 100 snaps at strong safety, 116 snaps at outside linebacker, 132 snaps at free safety, 262 snaps at slot cornerback, and 299 snaps at inside linebacker.

There is no other player like Isaiah Simmons. He can play every position on defense and he can play them all better than most prospects. Typically, a linebacker excels in one area and can be a bit of a liability in other areas. That is not the case with Isaiah Simmons. He is an X-factor in pass coverage, has above-average pass-rushing capabilities, and is impressive in run defense.

The 2020 College Football National Championship Game was a perfect demonstration of Isaiah’s versatility:

Top Weaknesses:

Limited Linebacker Snaps In College:

As stated in his top strengths, Isaiah Simmons is an unbelievably versatile football player. He played nearly every position on Clemson’s defense. But, moving around the defense so often means that Simmons played a limited number of snaps at his NFL position of linebacker.

In 2019, Simmons played less than 300 snaps at inside linebacker (299). Ideally, you would like to see a top-ten linebacker prospect have more experience playing the traditional inside linebacker position. However, for teams with clever defensive coordinators, this is not a big deal. The best coordinators will build schemes around the players, not plug players into roles/positions in a scheme and try to make it work.

Potentially Difficult Skillset To Translate To The Pro Game:

Isaiah Simmons’s versatility is rare. It is one-of-a-kind. Typically, when NFL fans refer to a player as a “Swiss Army Knife,” they are describing a versatile safety that has the ability to play in the box as well as in deep coverage. But Simmons is the exact opposite of that- he is a versatile linebacker with the ability to play deep coverage.

Simmons made the transition from safety in 2017 to linebacker in 2018 and excelled in his new role. He built on an impressive 2018 season in 2019, solidifying himself as a linebacker and demonstrating a rare skillset. But there are some who still question what his role in an NFL defensive scheme will be and whether he will play more linebacker or safety.

We have seen some “do-it-all” safeties find success graduating to the NFL: Jamal Adams and Derwin James are perfect examples. However, we have seen others struggle and fail to translate their skillset to the professional game: examples include Jabrill Peppers, Mark Barron, Deone Bucannon.

Isaiah Simmons is larger and stronger than every single one of those players, though. He has linebacker size at 6 feet 3 inches, 238 pounds. But even that is something that Simmons could improve on.

Could Afford To Add Some Strength:

The average weight of an NFL linebacker is roughly 244 pounds. Simmons is close to that number but should work towards matching that weight.

Occasionally, tight ends are able to handle Isaiah Simmons and shove him out of the way. Yes, I stated above that Simmons is 238 pounds, heavier than Roquan Smith. So it might not necessarily be a weight thing.

His game is more finesse than power, which is fine, but gaining some strength and bulking up a bit more could serve Simmons well.

Do not get it twisted though, Simmons can demolish running backs as a blitzer (GIF via PFF):

Recap:

To put it simply: the good severely outweighs the bad when analyzing Isaiah Simmons’s strengths and weaknesses. There are questions regarding his efficiency in zone coverage, what his role might look like in an NFL defensive scheme, and if he has the strength to dominate against professionals. However, the potential upside with a 238 pound 21-year-old that can play nearly every position on defense is far more encouraging than the flaws are discouraging.

Isaiah Simmons should get serious consideration from the New York Giants at the fourth overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. He could transform their defense with a new versatile skillset and provide stability at the linebacker position that the Giants have not had in over a decade. There are plenty of other options for the Giants, which I will break down soon, but at this point, it is hard not to put Simmons’s name at the top of the list.

Once again, if you have any feedback, critiques, or questions, you can reach me on Twitter: @Anthony_Rivardo. Also, be sure to check out the Isaiah Simmons Draft Profile video on YouTube where I go more in-depth and do some film breakdowns. Let me know via Twitter or YouTube which prospect you want me to break down next.

New York Giants Reportedly Interested In Free Agent Linebacker Blake Martinez

The New York Giants are going to be active in free agency this offseason. The team is going to have over $80 million in cap space to spend on free agents if they choose to and so far they have reported interest in nearly every big-name player set to hit the market this month.

According to Mike Garafolo of NFL Network, the Giants have a “passing interest” in the Green Bay Packers’ free-agent linebacker Blake Martinez.

Blake Martinez Stats and Highlights

Blake Martinez is a four-year NFL veteran who has spent his entire career with the Green Bay Packers. The 26-year-old linebacker out of Stanford is a tackle machine. He is also a reliable, healthy player that has started all 16 games for the Packers in each of the last three seasons.

Martinez has recorded 144 or more combined tackles in each of the last three seasons. He posted a career-high 155 combined tackles in 2019. In 2018, Martinez only missed 12 tackles (7.7%) and in 2019 he missed 18 tackles (10.4%).

The Packers inside linebacker is also a pretty decent pass-rusher, despite seeing his role as a pass-rusher decline in 2019. In 2018, Martinez blitzed 61 times, recording 11 pressures, 5 hurries, and 5 sacks. The Packers only brought Blake on 24 blitzes in 2019, but he was still efficient. He recorded 5 pressures, 2 hurries, and 3 sacks on his 24 blitz attempts this past season.

Blake Martinez is an excellent run defender and solid pass-rusher, but he has proven to be a bit of a liability in pass coverage. In 2018, Blake Matinez surrendered a 73.8% completion percentage on the 61 targets in his coverage (45 completions). The opposition gained 410 yards on those 45 completions and scored 5 touchdowns. Martinez allowed a 118.9 passer rating when targeted in 2018.

2019 was an even worse performance by Martinez in pass coverage. His completion percentage allowed rose to 83.8%, allowing opponents to complete 62 passes on 74 targets for 570 yards and 2 touchdowns. This is definitely a major red flag for teams interested in signing Blake Martinez during the 2020 free agency period.

Blake Martinez’s Market Value

If the Giants want to sign Blake Martinez in free agency, they are going to have to break the bank. According to Spotrac, Martinez has an estimated market value of $16.3 million on average annually. His contract could be a 5-year deal worth over $81 million.

This would be a lot of money for the New York Giants to commit to an inside linebacker that does not make impact plays in pass-defense. There are other linebackers that will be available this offseason for a similar price that can be much more efficient in pass coverage.