Giants could trap linebacker early despite additions


Before free will, it looked like the Giants had a cavernous hole in their linebacker lineup. Signing Blake Martinez to patrol indoors and Kyler Fackrell to line up outside met two big needs. Does this mean that the Giants are in good enough shape to line up to avoid peaking in the 2020 NFL draft?

Probably not. General Manager Dave Gettleman in previous versions has not shown a great propensity to take linebackers in the opening rounds. Keeping them for later has not worked well for the Giants in recent years. Gettleman is more in favor of fortifying the line and the defensive backfield and filling the linebacker if necessary. But if Isaiah Simmons is sitting there when the Giants are on the clock at # 4, it will be extremely difficult to pass up because it will be very tempting to take on the old hybrid beast Clemson.

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The Giants have outside linebackers Lorenzo Carter, Oshane Ximines and Fackrell and Martinez, David Mayo and Ryan Connelly (back from knee surgery) inside. Is there a place for Simmons? In other words: is there never room for a potential Pro Bowl player and the most versatile athlete in this project? Simmons ticks the linebacker, cornerback, and safety boxes and catching him at No. 4 will delight many Giants fans. It would also be the first time since 1984 (the inimitable Carl Banks) that the Giants used their first round pick on a linebacker.

The repechage doesn’t end after the first round, of course, and if the Giants go on the offensive line with their first pick, they’d be delighted – and surprised – to see Zach Baun of Wisconsin available at # 36. Baun is the best go on to rush the real linebacker, as he became a hot prospect after posting 12.5 sacks and 19.5 tackles for loss as a senior for the Badgers. If the Giants landed him, it would be a meeting with Connelly, his college teammate at Madison.

There are some concerns, but not many, that Simmons might develop as a handyman but without a master. More likely, it develops into a defensive weapon of the new age. Can you imagine a more perfect player to use as a spy to darken moving quarters?


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