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Giants draft preview: LB

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Giants draft preview: LB

Post  Big_Pete on Wed Apr 13, 2011 12:34 am

from http://espn.go.com/blog/new-yorkgiants/post/_/id/4484/giants-draft-preview-lb

Giants draft preview: LB

April, 12, 2011 Apr 126:56PM ET

By Ohm Youngmisuk

This is the seventh installment in a nine-part series that will analyze the Giants' needs, position by position, in the upcoming draft.

Position: Linebackers.

Depth chart: Michael Boley, Jonathan Goff, Keith Bulluck, Clint Sintim, Gerris Wilkinson, Chase Blackburn, Phillip Dillard, Adrian Tracy, Zak DeOssie and Kenny Ingram.

Not under contract: Blackburn, Bulluck and Wilkinson.

Scouting report: Outside of the special teams, the linebacking corps is the one unit that needs major improvement. There’s a reason why the Giants didn’t have one linebacker in ESPN’s top-10 linebacker power rankings. In his first year as a starter, Goff did a solid job at MLB but the ghost of Antonio Pierce still lingers. Goff has to continue to show improvement and more experience should help. Boley is the most athletic linebacker and the Giants need more from Boley. Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell often used only two linebackers and a safety as the third. Bulluck, who came back after suffering an ACL injury late the season before, was supposed to be that third linebacker but he never was able to regain his old form as a foot injury slowed him down a bit. Sintim couldn’t beat out Bulluck in camp and ended up largely playing special teams before tearing his ACL late in the year. Wilkinson, Blackburn, Dillard and DeOssie were all special teamers. Tracy spent his entire rookie season on injured reserve. Bulluck wants to return but also wants to play as a full-time starter. It will be surprising if Blackburn doesn’t return. Wilkinson also could be back to help the special teams improve.

The Last Time: The Giants last drafted a linebacker in 2010 when they took Dillard in the fourth round out of Nebraska and Tracy in the sixth round from William & Mary.

Potential targets: Perhaps the greatest need the Giants have entering the draft is for an athletic playmaking linebacker. Unfortunately, the best value that will likely be available when the Giants pick at 19th overall is offensive line. However, if the Giants were to go linebacker in the first round, they could take a look at UCLA’s Akeem Ayers and Georgia’s DE/LB Justin Houston. Both outside linebackers could be late first-round picks. North Carolina offers a pair of linebackers that could go in the second and third rounds in OLB Bruce Carter and ILB Quan Sturdivant. ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper has the Giants drafting Sturdivant in the second round in his latest mock draft. Other linebackers of interest that might go third round or later are Illinois’ Martez Wilson, Oregon’s Casey Matthews, Georgia’s Akeem Dent and Michigan State’s Greg Jones.

Need Rating (On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being of highest importance): 9.

Tomorrow: Defensive backs.
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Re: Giants draft preview: LB

Post  56 Crazed Dogs on Wed Apr 13, 2011 5:46 pm

I agree with his 9 rating at the end of the article. Linebacker imo is a more important need than offensive lineman.

Hopefully Phil Dillard doesn't end up being a bust.
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Re: Giants draft preview: LB

Post  Pizan on Wed Apr 13, 2011 6:55 pm

Ohm Youngmisuk he sucks. All his articles so far have been ass. Nothing informative at all.

I think the need is a 10.
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Re: Giants draft preview: LB

Post  56 Crazed Dogs on Wed Apr 13, 2011 7:47 pm

who are your guys' favorite college prospects?
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Re: Giants draft preview: LB

Post  Pizan on Wed Apr 13, 2011 8:14 pm

Mark Herzlich tops my list. I like Casey Matthews, Bruce Carter, and Nate Irving as well.
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Re: Giants draft preview: LB

Post  56 Crazed Dogs on Thu Apr 14, 2011 7:40 pm

I like Casey Mathews too Vin. Mathews will take a year or two to develop but he has the drive to get there.

Bruce Carter, not so much for me. Didn't watch any NC football actually but just from clips I've seen, he seems ordinary.

There isn't any stud linebackers this year that stand out.
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Re: Giants draft preview: LB

Post  Pizan on Thu Apr 14, 2011 9:21 pm

I agree Todd trying to find that stud this year has been difficult.

I wasn't sure about Bruce Carter at first but what I like about Carter is that he plays smart. He won't blow contain and he's a very good coverage backer. There were times they would line him up to cover the slot. Thats a hell of a task for a LB. He moves so well and does an excellent job covering the back outta the backfield. He's a wrap up tackler in the open field. Watch him against V-Tech theres a play were he chases down Tyrod Taylor. I think he can project to MLB in the pros. He has that sideline to sideline speed/smarts and he's a leader. His special teams is a plus.

I think if we draft him in the 2nd round its to play him in the middle. I think he fits our defense better there.

Side note if you watched the highlite/lowlites of him vs Clemson just keep in mind he was playing SLB most of that game. You could tell he wasn't sure of the position.

At the very least he improves Special Teams but then again you want more than that outta your 2nd round pick.
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Re: Giants draft preview: LB

Post  Big_Pete on Thu Apr 14, 2011 11:41 pm

I think there is only one genuine stud LB in the draft and thats Von Miller.

There are plenty of candidates who could be good LBs, but not much stands out from the others.
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Re: Giants draft preview: LB

Post  56 Crazed Dogs on Fri Apr 15, 2011 10:35 am

You think Dillard stands a chance? or who do you think campares to him from this years college prospects?

I think in the end we rely on another year of Goff at ilb. We still need some athleticism though since Goff is only a two down backer in Fewell's system.
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Re: Giants draft preview: LB

Post  Pizan on Fri Apr 15, 2011 7:36 pm

I think Dillard gets cut but I thought he was a bad pick last year. He's too injury prone. He doesn't do one thing that separates himself from the average backup. Just a bad pick who we'll eventually chalk up as an L. But it seems like we have a tough time admitting our mistakes especially at LB.

When they drafted him they said he was a "rangy, smart, coverage" guy. So if thats what they want in the middle of our defense then I think Quan Sturdivant and Akeem Dent seem like a Dillard just better prospects. Nate Irving, Herzlich, Carter, all fit the "rangy, smart, coverage" type as well but two of them have to make position changes.

I think you may be right about Goff being the starter another year but remember Mara seemed pretty adamant about the need for backers. So we'll see.
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Re: Giants draft preview: LB

Post  Big_Pete on Sat Apr 16, 2011 10:10 am

56 Crazed Dogs wrote:You think Dillard stands a chance? or who do you think campares to him from this years college prospects?

I think in the end we rely on another year of Goff at ilb. We still need some athleticism though since Goff is only a two down backer in Fewell's system.

I am not a Dillard fan and wasn't last year. To be honest I wasn't a huge Sintim fan either.

At this stage I would expect Goff to be in the mix at MLB and Dillard and Sintim to compete for a roster spot in camp. (Depending on what happens with Kiwanuka, I could see us shifting Sintim to DE). The Giants are likely to see what both can do in camp.

I don't expect we will get immediate starters from the draft. I think our immediate upgrade will come from free agency, and there are plenty of options with guys Paul Poslunszy, Nick Barnett, Rocky McIntosh, Kevin Burnett, and Barrett Ruud off contract. (and plenty of 2nd tier guys like Thomas Howard etc)

The biggest thing we need is speed and athleticism at LB, particularly OLB. More than anything else that is what our LBs have been lacking. This has been emphasised with the popularity of the passing game in recent years.

As far as the draft goes, there is only one LB I really like the idea of and that is Dontay Moch (I know Pizan will hate this). Sure he is a coverted DE, Raw and will take time to develop, but he has played some LB in college and did ok in his LB drills. More importantly he has a good work ethic/attitude and the kind of speed and athleticism we need at LB. Sure he will take time to develop, but he will also majorly help the special teams in the mean time. The Giants tend to prefer to ease our rookies in anyways behind veterans. Moch reportedly has decent coverage skills (dropping into coverage from DE).

Most of the other LBs in the draft I think are good/servicable prospects at best. I think Moch potentially could be something special, and that is work rolling the dice in the 3rd round imho.
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Re: Giants draft preview: LB

Post  56 Crazed Dogs on Sat Apr 16, 2011 10:33 am

Moch shows a lot of flash but I think we already have similar players like him already.
Sintim, Kiwi, JPP could all be used much the same way as Moch probably would be.

It will be interesting seeing if one or the other gets cut though between Dillard and Sintim.
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Re: Giants draft preview: LB

Post  56 Crazed Dogs on Sat Apr 16, 2011 11:15 am

What do you think about Kelvin Sheppard out of LSU?
I don't think he is the fastest guy out there but he plays smart.
Sheppard has lined up at all three spots but he shows a lot of leadership at mlb where he played most of this season.
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Re: Giants draft preview: LB

Post  Big_Pete on Sat Apr 16, 2011 11:27 am

56 Crazed Dogs wrote:Moch shows a lot of flash but I think we already have similar players like him already.
Sintim, Kiwi, JPP could all be used much the same way as Moch probably would be.
You are missing one key factor, speed and athleticism.

Moch is actually faster than most of our DBs. Speed and athleticism are key factors in Tampa 2 style LBs.

Sure he is raw as a LB (much like JPP was as a DE), but with time he could be a genuine stud LB.

But I am happy to be the odd man out with my opinion Smile


Last edited by Big_Pete on Sat Apr 16, 2011 11:32 am; edited 2 times in total
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Re: Giants draft preview: LB

Post  Big_Pete on Sat Apr 16, 2011 11:31 am

56 Crazed Dogs wrote:What do you think about Kelvin Sheppard out of LSU?
I don't think he is the fastest guy out there but he plays smart.
Sheppard has lined up at all three spots but he shows a lot of leadership at mlb where he played most of this season.

Sheppard is a decent MLB option in the mid rounds, but nothing special

To me he is similar to the LBs we already have on the roster.
As I said recently, I think we need a serious upgrade of speed at LB.
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Re: Giants draft preview: LB

Post  Pizan on Sat Apr 16, 2011 6:47 pm

Sheppard reminds me of Brady James. Maybe its just the LSU connection. I think he plays smart but is too slow for a 4-3 in the pros.
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Re: Giants draft preview: LB

Post  Big_Pete on Sun Apr 17, 2011 5:46 pm

Pizan wrote:Sheppard reminds me of Brady James. Maybe its just the LSU connection. I think he plays smart but is too slow for a 4-3 in the pros.

I agree, I think 3-4 ILB is an ideal fit for Sheppard.
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