New York Giants: Ryan Connelly Was Impressive During The First Preseason Game

The New York Giants‘ defense had a few players stand out during their first preseason game of 2019. The Giants won the game 31-22 behind a defense that forced two turnovers and even scored a defensive touchdown.

Many of the standout players were rookies. The Giants’ fifth-round rookie, Ryan Connelly a linebacker out of Wisconsin, was one of those standouts. The rookie has been receiving first-team reps in training camp and demonstrated why on Thursday.

Ryan Connelly Stats And Highlights Against The Jets

Ryan Connelly played himself a heck of a ball game on Thursday versus the New York Jets. Connelly recorded 5 total tackles in the game in limited playing time.

Despite that limited playing time, Connelly was all over the field. He made plays every which way. Ryan displayed one of his biggest strengths: his ability to shoot the gaps. Connelly is an excellent run defender and has NFL-level pursuit. Take this play as an example:

This play might not show up in the box score, but it was a fully impactful play. Ryan Connelly also showed some classic New York Giants toughness in his first preseason game.

After making a play on the ball and sliding along the turf, Connelly got up with turf beads all over his face and around his eyes. Some players might have taken themselves out for a play to ensure that they do not get any beads in their eyes, but Ryan Connelly hung in there like a true warrior.

Ryan Connelly was impressive during his limited playing time on Thursday. He was impressive, just as he has been all summer. Connelly has been making plays in training camp and even receiving first-team playing time.

If Ryan Connelly can keep up this high level of play throughout the rest of training camp and preseason, he could see a promotion to full-time first-team and become a starter. The Giants have had a weak linebacker corps for a while now, but it looks like that might finally change this year with the addition of Ryan Connelly.

New York Giants: Studs and Duds in Preseason Opener vs. Jets

T.J. Jones, New York Giants

The New York Giants opened up the 2019 campaign with a preseason 31-22 win vs. their cross-town rivals, The New York Jets. Here are the studs and duds for the Giants in their opener.

Stud: Daniel Jones

A debut that couldn’t have gone any better. I know it’s only preseason and he played against half the Jets first-team but Dave Gettleman must be smiling somewhere. Jones went a perfect 5/5 for 67 yards and a touchdown on his first and only series. His first touchdown pass was a perfectly dropped ball into the arms of Bennie Fowler in the back right corner of the end-zone. While it would have been nice to see Jones get more action, it was a great first game to build on for the highly debated draft pick.

Dud: Eli Manning

The offense heard boo’s on their first series of the preseason but that’s New York for you. It’s hard to judge Eli when he only threw the ball once but the offense just looked electric under Jones. One series won’t change him being the starter but if this becomes a pattern, uh oh.

Stud: Russell Shepard

Giants needed receivers to step up and Shepard answered the bell. The veteran took a slant from Alex Tanney 51 yards to the house. It was exactly what Pat Shurmur was hoping to see from a rattled wide receiver room. The receiving core isn’t a two-man show of Sterling Shepard and ex-Giant OBJ anymore, it’s going to be a committee.

Dud: Julian Love

The rookie DB had a tough first series; failing to communicate with Jabrill Peppers one play then getting caught in a pick play resulting in a touchdown. However, later on, he seemed to get more in a rhythm adjusting to the faster speed of the NFL. A Learning curve is going to be expected for this secondary considering Jenkins is the only returning starter.

Dud: Paul Perkins

This was Perkins opportunity to make Giants fans remember his promising rookie year but a fumble before halftime, struggling to run the ball, and add in a drop to the disappointing return. It’s surprising to see after an encouraging training camp but they play 4 preseason games for a reason.

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Stud: Alex Tanney

Tanney’s day was impressive further solidifying himself a spot on this roster. He completed 14/19 for 190 yards and 1 touchdown. He had unleashed a laser on a slant to Russell Shepard for a 51-yard touchdown and dropped a beautiful 40-yard pass to Alonzo Russell. The veteran is in the lead for the third and final QB spot behind Manning and Jones.

Stud: Alonzo Russell

Training camp stands out Alonzo Russell had a great release on a 39-yard completion from Tanney. He had another great route getting behind the Jets backups early in the third quarter what would have been a walk-in touchdown but Tanney decided to pick up the first down with his legs.

Stud: T.J. Jones

With opportunities open on the depth chart, T.J. Jones made a name for himself reeling in 6 receptions for 72 yards and an impressive one-handed back shoulder touchdown grab from Lauletta.

Other Game Notes:

-Corey Ballentine continues to impress as he made an incredible interception showing off his athleticism. He also looked like a natural returning the football. His first return was a botched catch in the end-zone as he took the touchback but followed it up with a 40-yard return on a kickoff. Ballentine returned kicks regularly at Washburn University. His stock continues to rise.

-Reggie White Jr. also contributed toward a great day for Giants wide receivers: 6 receptions for 40 yards.

-Ryan Connelly was all over the field. Bettcher loves the kid to begin with. Look for increased reps for the rookie linebacker out of Wisconsin.

-Long Island local and undrafted rookie Jake Carlock made a fantastic play batting down Jets QB Davis Webb’s pass and returning it for a 59-yard touchdown.

New York Giants: Ryan Connelly Is Earning First-Team Reps

The New York Giants’ defense was one of the league’s worst in 2018. The Giants were poor against both the run and the pass. Big Blue allowed 252.8 passing yards per game (23rd in the league) and 118.6 rushing yards per game (20th in the league).

Much of the blame for the Giants’ poor defensive blame has been placed upon the shoulders of the linebacker corps. The Giants have had a poor linebacker corps for years now. Fortunately, it appears that the Giants have found some solid, young talent at the linebacker position.

The Giants’ fifth-round pick of the 2019 NFL Draft was linebacker Ryan Connelly out of Wisconsin. Connelly was initially looked at as a questionable selection. However, Ryan has answered a  few questions this summer and is now looking like a potential starter.

Training Camp Highlights

Ryan Connelly began to see first-team reps this week during practice. Connelly received these reps while filling in for B.J. Goodson who was not practicing because he is dealing with a hamstring injury.

Connelly has racked up a couple of sacks and pass breakups during camp so far. He also nearly had an interception on Daniel Jones, but was unable to secure the catch. Ryan has had a solid camp in both run defense and pass defense so far.

His solid play with the second-team has earned him first-team reps and many Giants fans and the coaching staff are excited to see what he can do. Connelly himself is also very excited to be seeing first-team reps.

Ryan Connelly looks at these reps as a way to show that he belongs. Connelly stated “But at the end of the day, I’ve still got to go out there and execute, whether I’m with the 1s, the 2s or the 3s. Basically at this point, I think it’s all about execution, making sure I’m in the right place at the right time. You’ve got to earn that trust.”

Head coach Pat Shurmur has also seen good progress from Connelly and discussed it in a post-practice interview:

Collegiate Stats Highlights

Ryan Connelly was a quick linebacker with the ability to shoot the gap in run defense during his collegiate career. Connelly recorded a 1.54s 10-yard split at the 2019 NFL Combine which ranks third among participating off-ball linebackers that weighed in at 240-plus pounds since 2010. This demonstrates Ryan’s ability to get in the backfield and disrupt plays at a quick pace.

Ryan Connelly played linebacker at Wisconsin for four years, but he was extraordinary during his junior and senior seasons. As a junior in 2017, Connelly racked up 88 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, and 3 sacks. His 2018 senior season featured more of the same as Ryan totaled 89 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, and 3 sacks. Connelly proved to be a reliable and consistent player during his collegiate career.

With the Giants linebacker corps being as weak as it is, Connelly could see reps as a starter in the regular season. His first-team reps in training camp could be a sign of things to come.

Breaking down the New York Giants rookies for training camp

New York Giants rookie quarterback, Daniel Jones during voluntary OTAs.

The New York Giants have wrapped up their summer vacation, and we know what that means — football is nearly back!

With two weeks remaining until preseason and seven until the first regular-season game, it’s officially football season. It has been one long and boring offseason without the constant Odell Beckham Jr. drama to keep us occupied. That was about the only good thing that came from his media coverage.

Nonetheless–

Here are your New York Giants 2019 rookies:

(QB) Daniel Jones — The reality for Jones is simple. He’s expected to sit quietly behind Eli Manning and soak up as much knowledge as possible about preparation and the offensive scheme before eventually taking over. He could succeed Manning as soon as this year, or it could be in 2021, nobody really knows. The preseason, however, will give us our first look into his capabilities and what he’s learned so far this offseason. Our opinions will start to take form in just a couple of weeks.

(CB) DeAndre Baker — The Giants traded back up into the top of the first round to select Baker, a player whos tenacity at the cornerback position will make him a solid sidekick to Janoris Jenkins. He will hit some rookie speedbumps, but thus far, he’s looked fantastic on non-contact coverage drills. He has the ability to be the Giants’ best corner with some experience and likely take over for Jenkins in the future.

(DL) Dexter Lawrence — One of the more interesting picks by the Giants this year, Clemson standout Dexter Lawrence is a massive presence in the middle of the defense. Not only is he expected to help the run game, but he’s also capable of being a capable pass rusher. At his size, opposing offensive lineman will have their hands full, and if he can develop a pass rush, GM Dave Gettleman will look like a genius.

(OLB/DE) Oshane Ximines — The Giants’ third-round selection is expected to sign his rookie deal upon the start of camp, and it’s going to be an important one for him. The Giants think highly of him and his surprisingly developed pass-rush moves despite coming from a small school (Old Dominion). Ximines could very well earn starting time, but he’s a player that will need a few months to adapt to the speed and strength of the NFL. He’s worth keeping an eye on this training camp period.

(CB) Julian Love — When Love was still on the board in the fourth round, Gettleman made sure to select this feisty corner. Projected as a slot option who will compete with Grant Haley, Love is an exciting draft pick that has the quality to start on an every game basis. His position battle with Haley will be one of the better ones.

(ILB) Ryan Connelly — A four-year player at Wisconsin, Connelly is an interesting prospect. While his physical traits don’t stand out, he’s incredibly quick and instinctive. His confidence shows in his ability to shoot the gap with amazing speed and accuracy. He will need to work on his tackling at the next level, but he could find a way into the defense in specific packages. Expect him to be a special teams player for the time being.

(WR) Darius Slayton — Emerging as one of just two players to earn first-team reps during mini-camp, Slayton improved significantly over the course of the offseason. To start, he couldn’t hold onto a single ball, but it’s how you finish at the NFL level that matters. He’s quickly proving he can be an influential player for the Giants, but adapting to live-action will be the ultimate test for Darius.

(CB) Corey Ballentine — A player with elite athleticism, Ballentine has arms that dangle like ivy at the corner position. He’s fast, quick, and physical. The reality is, his physical traits stand out the most, but he’s still raw with his technique. Another solid draft pick with backup potential in 2019, I see him acting as a solid gunner on the punt unit for now.

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(OT) George Asafo-Adjei — Becoming a reliable backup tackle for the Giants should be “Big George’s” ultimate goal for now. He’s a raw prospect but earned good reps against Josh Allen while at Kentucky, a top 10 pick in the draft. With Chad Wheeler still in the mix, he will have to fight with everything he’s got to earn playing time this season.

(IDL) Chris Slayton — The Syracuse product is a good interior defender, but will have to beat out several others to earn playing time. R.J. McIntosh presents the biggest threat after missing 2018 with a thyroid issue. Slayton has been knocked for his effort at times. That’s something he will need to overcome at the NFL level.

New York Giants: Can Ryan Connelly Steal Playing Time At Linebacker?

The New York Giants defense has been one of the worst in the NFL over the last two seasons. In 2017, the Giants’ defense allowed 252.4 passing yards per game (ranked 31st in the NFL). In 2018, the Giants’ secondary allowed 252.8 passing yards (ranked 23rd in the NFL), showing minimal to no improvement. The Giants were poor against the run, too.

The Giants defense allowed 120.8 rushing yards per game (ranked 27th in the NFL) in 2017. In 2018, Big Blue’s defense allowed 118.6 rushing yards per game (ranked 20th in the NFL), again showing minimal to no improvement. These poor defensive stats lead the Giants to revamp their defense in 2019.

The Giants spent seven of their ten draft picks on defense in the 2019 NFL Draft. One of the Giants’ more interesting defensive selections came in the 5th round. New York selected linebacker Ryan Connelly out of Wisconsin in the 5th round. Connelly is a sleeper player to end up starting in the 2019 season. Here’s why:

Ryan Connelly Stats And Highlights

Linebacker Ryan Connelly has often been praised for his play recognition and instincts. He is excellent in run defense, but also an underrated player in pass defense. One thing that instantly jumps off the tape with Connelly is his speed.

Connelly recorded a 1.54s 10-yard split at the 2019 NFL Combine which ranks third among participating off-ball linebackers that weighed in at 240-plus pounds since 2010. This speed can be seen during Ryan Connelly’s efforts in run defense.

Ryan Connelly played linebacker at Wisconsin for four years, but he was extraordinary during his junior and senior seasons. As a junior in 2017, Connelly racked up 88 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, and 3 sacks. His 2018 senior season featured more of the same as Ryan totaled 89 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, and 3 sacks. Connelly proved to be a reliable and consistent player during his collegiate career.

Pro Football Focus gave Ryan Connelly lots of praise for his efforts in run defense. PFF gave Connelly a solid run-defense grade of 82.5. They also noted that Ryan totaled an impressive 50 total stops.

Furthermore, Pro Football Focus indicated that Ryan Connelly is an underrated linebacker in pass coverage. Many draft analysts have written Connelly off as a two-down gap-shooting linebacker, but he is more than that. When playing in coverage, Ryan Connelly only gave up 46 yards after the catch (ranked 1st in the draft class) and allowed only 0.38 yards per coverage snap (tied for 6th in the draft class).

Ryan Connelly’s versatility was overlooked by teams during the 2019 NFL Draft. Luckily, the linebacker ended up with the New York Giants, who do not have the best linebacker corps. Connelly’s play recognition and instincts, along with his underrated coverage abilities could cause him to steal some playing time at linebacker in 2019.

New York Giants: 3 rookies that could earn playing time on starting team

New York Giants, Julian Love, DeAndre Baker, Julian Love

Looking at three underrated New York Giants rookie that can make a difference during the 2019 season:

The Giants drafted ample talent in the 2019 NFL Draft, some of which will be immediate starters with impactful roles. However, there are multiple players that will fight for their right to earn even limited reps, while others will emerge as starters after training camp.

Here are 3 New York Giants rookies ready to steal starting jobs:

1.) CB – Julian Love

Julian Love, drafted in the fourth round, was an absolute steal. Ranked as a top four corner entering the draft, Love is a tenacious athlete. He’s great in off-ball coverage and has adequate speed to keep up with receivers. He will likely slide into the slot corner spot and compete with Grant Haley, formerly undrafted in 2018.

Haley played in 11 games last season and proved he’s capable of playing at the NFL level. Love is more refined in his skill-set, though, which gives him the upper hand in stealing the job away from Haley. This will be an exciting position battle to keep an eye on.

2.) TE – CJ Conrad

An undrafted free agent this year, Conrad is a big tight end that has looked fantastic so far this summer. He was one of two players to earn first-team reps at the end of OTAs. He’s an above average receiving tight end and has the size to block at the line of scrimmage.

Coming out of Kentucky, a team that didn’t have many offensive playmakers, Conrad shined despite opposing defenses focusing on him. He’s one of my darkhorse players for the season ahead and could steal starting reps away from Scott Simonson and Rhett Ellison.

https://twitter.com/Scott_Charlton/status/1066491049219108865

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3.) LB- Ryan Connelly

The fact of the matter is, BJ Goodson never really lived up to his potential coming out of Clemson. Believe it or not, he played in 15 games last season, and I barely remember seeing him on the field. That should give you an idea of his influence on the team and the lack of impact he provided on the defense.

Ryan Connelly, however, is an instinctive linebacker with the ability to get into the backfield in a hurry. Racking up 89 total tackles as a senior for Wisconsin, Connelly showed what he’s capable and why he belongs on an NFL team. He also picked up 10 tackles for a loss and three sacks in 12 games (Sports Reference).

I’m anticipating him breaking through at some point in 2019 and earning reps during the regular season. Aside from his abilities close to the line of scrimmage, he can also cover running backs and tight ends. He’s a player that I believe will blossom with a bit of development – he’s a well-rounded player that can be a three-down linebacker.

 

New York Giants: A linebacker position war could be forming

New York Giants linebacker, B.J. Goodson.

The New York Giants drafted Wisconsin linebacker Ryan Connelly in the fifth round of the 2019 NFL Draft, an instinctual player that has the ability to shoot gaps and stop runners in the backfield. Considering he’s a late draft selection, there’s not much to justify him earning a starting role immediately.

Veteran linebacker BJ Goodson has been the player of choice for the Giants in recent seasons, given his tackling efficiency and run-stopping prowess. However, he’s not much of a force in the passing game as his coverage skills are below average. Connelly is an above average LB in coverage and can stop the run at an average level.

Whether his skill-set makes the transition to the NFL is yet to be seen, but he certainly has the tangible qualities to adapt with a bit of development.

The New York Giants could see a position battle between the two:

This summer will be full of position battles, one of which could emerge between Goodson and Connelly. There’s a clear favorite here, but Goodson’s injury history has derailed his career at times, playing in just 22 of a total 32 games the past two seasons.

Connelly’s health has been solid and consistent, which could present him with an opportunity in 2019. Goodson did play in 15 games last season, but was ineffective for the most part, collecting 61 combined tackles, three QB hits, and four passes defended.

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Compared to Tae Davis, a reserve linebacker for the Giants, his stats look very weak. Davis managed 33 combined tackles in just four starts for Big Blue, adding four QB hits, two sacks, and one pass defended. Davis is also a much better pass-defender, which could provide him with an opportunity to grab the starting job.

This position battle could end up being a three-player war between Goodson, Connelly, and Davis. I imagine all will play in some fashion regardless, whether it be in specific packages or on special teams.

New York Giants: 3 rookies that could surprisingly earn starting roles

New York Giants rookie, Oshane Ximines.

As we wait upon the start of training camp, the New York Giants have obtained a good sense of who will be competing for starting roles and who will be destined for a reserve spot. The Giants drafted a ton of rookies that will have immediate impacts whether it be on a starting unit or on special teams.

Players like DeAndre Baker, Julian Love, Oshane Ximines, Dexter Lawrence, and more, are all fighting to earn their spot on the team…but some have a higher probability than others.

Three New York Giants rookies that can earn a starting job:

1.) CB Julian Love

The Giants snagged Love in the fourth-round of the 2019 NFL Draft, a player that was projected to go in the second-round. His abilities will fit perfectly in nickel-packages for Big Blue. I don’t expect him to compete realistically for an outside corner spot as Baker and Sam Beal have the No. 2 spot in their sights, but Love can certainly steal the slot-corner position away from second-year player, Grant Haley.

Haley has 11 games of NFL experience under his belt, which ultimately gives him the upper hand in the impending position battle. However, Love is great in man coverage and can stick with quick receivers. He’s one of my darkhorse players for the 2019 season.

2.) LB Ryan Connelly

The Wisconsin product is an extremely instinctive player that is fantastic at shooting gaps and finding the ball in the trenches. He’s not a massive linebacker, but he has the potential to be a three-down player.

Connelly was a fourth-round pick and will compete with B.J. Goodson for a starting job. Tae Davis could also be tossed into the mix but he’s a better cover linebacker than run-stopper, limiting his upside. Connelly can do both, which makes me think he could overtake Goodson for the starting job if he shows a bit of development this summer.

Goodson has shown flashes of quality at times, but injuries have derailed his career, and he’s awful in coverage. He’s a pure run-stopper and clogs holes well. Connelly will have to refine his tackling technique at the NFL to harness his full potential. I love his upside, though, which makes him a great player to watch out for during training camp.

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3.) OLB Oshane Ximines

The Giants are heading into the depths of the offseason with very minimal talent at the pass-rusher position. They essentially replaced Olivier Vernon with an injury-prone Markus Golden who has one good season three years ago, and third-round selection Oshane Ximines from a no-name school.

They’re banking heavy on the breakout of Lorenzo Carter and Golden to return to his former self. However, Ximines shouldn’t be slept on. He has an effective counter-punch and is extremely developed in regard to his moves for a small-school edge-rusher. He could very well beat out Golden or Carter for a more prominent, starting position. While I’m not convinced Oshane will beat out Carter, I could see him giving Golden a run for his money. Markus is coming off a serious knee injury and hasn’t played at a high level in quite some time.

 

 

New York Giants: Could Ryan Connelly Become An Impact Player As A Rookie?

The New York Giants drafted Wisconsin linebacker, Ryan Connelly, in the fifth-round of the 2019 NFL Draft.

The New York Giants have had one of the worst linebacker corpses in the NFL for years now. The Giants’ last general manager, Jerry Reese, placed little to no emphasis on the linebacker position.

This was strange considering the Giants thrived off of a strong linebacker corpse in the ’80s. Fortunately, the Giants’ current general manager, Dave Gettleman, has placed more emphasis on improving the Giants’ linebacker position than his predecessor.

Dave Gettleman has made two notable moves to improve the Giants’ linebacker corps in his two years as the Giants’ general manager. Last offseason, Dave Gettleman made a trade for former Rams linebacker Alec Ogletree. Ogletree struggled at times in 2018, but still, lead the Giants in interceptions with 5 picks.

Big Blue’s latest attempt to improve the linebacker position came in the 5th-round of the 2019 NFL Draft. The New York Giants selected inside linebacker Ryan Connelly out of Wisconsin with 143rd overall selection. Giants fans have high hopes for Connelly’s future, but will he be able to make an instant impact as a rookie?

How Connelly Can Make An Instant Impact:

Ryan Connelly considered a surprise pick for the Giants in the 5th round of the 2019 NFL Draft. Many expected the Giants to draft an offensive lineman, but the decision to draft an inside linebacker could pay dividends.

The Giants’ current linebacker corps is weak. The starting linebackers on the Giants, Alec Ogletree and B.J. Goodson, both had disappointing seasons in 2018. Alec Ogletree is a leader and will certainly start in 2019, but B.J. Goodson has been an inconsistent player in each of his first three seasons, so Connelly could overtake his starting role.

B.J. Goodson has not played 16 games in any of his three seasons in the NFL. He played 15 games in 2016 and 2018 but played in only 7 games in 2017. In order for Ryan Connelly to take over the starting linebacker position, he must stay healthy.

Goodson started in 13 games in 2018 and finished with 61 tackles. He also added 2 interceptions, 4 tackles for loss, and 1 fumble recovery. Still, Goodson did not grade out particularly well by Pro Football Focus’s standards in 2018, finishing with an overall grade of only 66.2. PFF noted there were times when Goodson “couldn’t seem to find [his] covers.”

Pro Football Focus grading might not have been too kind to B.J. Goodson in 2018, but it was certainly favorable towards Ryan Connelly. Connelly finished ahead of the 10th overall pick, Devin Bush, in PFF grading in 2018.  Ryan finished with an overall grade of 85.2, a run defense grade of 82.5, and 50 total stops in 2018.

Ryan Connelly is a speedy linebacker with the ability to shoot gaps. His 1.54s 10-yard split recorded at the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine ranks third among participating off-ball linebackers that weighed in at 240-plus pounds since 2010. Connelly was praised by NFL scouts for his instincts and play recognition.

Ryan Connelly was a great linebacker against the run for Wisconsin in 2018. Ryan totaled 89 tackles, 10 tackles for a loss, and 1 forced fumble. Unfortunately, Connelly was not an extraordinary linebacker defending the pass as he finished his collegiate career with 2 interceptions and 5 passes defended in 4 seasons.

There is some serious potential in the New York Giants’ 5th round pick this year. Ryan Connelly is a talented inside linebacker who could end up starting for the Giants in his rookie season and beyond. If Connelly can reach his true potential, he will be an absolute defensive steal.

Did the New York Giants Secure a Defensive Steal in LB Ryan Connelly?

The New York Giants drafted Wisconsin linebacker, Ryan Connelly, in the fifth-round of the 2019 NFL Draft.

Aside from the fact that New York Giants fifth-round pick Ryan Connelly out of Wisconsin landed in the top 20 of potential Defensive Rookie of the Year candidates, according to ESPN’s sheet, the linebacker has the potential to be an absolute steal.

An instinctual defender that seems to be around the ball at all times and shoot gaps consistently, Connelly is one of the more speedy linebackers entering the draft. While he’s not up with Devin White and Devin Bush in terms of quality, he possesses an unstoppable motor that is noticeable.

So far in rookie mini-camp, the Giants have praised his play-making ability and desire to find the ball.

New York Giants reporter John Schmeelk stated in reference to specific plays in practice:

“A nice play on the ball, covering a running back man to man in the slot.

Schmeelk continued, saying, “[Connelly] navigated into the flat with him, and got his hand cleanly around the back to knock the ball away.”

The rookie linebacker commented on his transition to the NFL:

“I’m gonna work hard and try to flash around and try to make plays,” Connelly said.

“I pride myself on knowing where to be and when to be there. So I think as soon as I get this playbook under my belt, I’ll be able to help and contribute.”

I anticipate Connelly’s initial contributions being on special teams, as the Giants have more seasoned players featuring at linebacker. However, the depth at inside linebacker isn’t abundant, so it’s more than possible he earns his fair share of opportunities with the starting unit.

Check out the clip above – you can see Ryan’s fierce instincts and desire to get into the backfield. Rarely do you see a player with the ability to choose a hole and explode through it successfully at the rate Connelly enjoys. A four-year player at Wisconsin, he’s a seasoned veteran with the savvy style of play – tallying 89 total tackles, 10 for a loss, three sacks, and one pass defended, according to Sports-reference.

One of his more underrated qualities is his coverage skill-set. He can mark running backs in the flat and match up against tight ends in some scenarios. His speed is his most daring attribute, which diversifies his abilities and elevates his potential.

Connelly will likely require a few months to adapt to the strength and speed of the NFL, but he could have a bright future ahead of him with the right coaching.