Giants Roster Breakdown: Dan Connor

Dan Connor - [Tim Heitman - USA Today Sports]

The competition between Dan Connor and Mark Herzlich for the Giants starting middle linebacker job is one of the most intriguing of the upcoming preseason.

As we continue our look at the 90-man roster the New York Giants will bring to training camp we focus on middle linebacker Dan Connor, one of the free-agent acquisitions the Giants made in the offseason as they focused on improving their run defense.

2012 Season In Review

Connor, 27, spent 2012 with the Dallas Cowboys after four seasons with the Carolina Panthers. Miscast in the Dallas 3-4 defense, Connor started eight games and made 56 tackles. His rating from Pro Football Focus was a less than stellar -3.6.

2013 Outlook

When Connor signed there was an assumption that he would immediately move to the top of the depth chart as the replacement for former middle linebacker Chase Blackburn. That has not happened. Mark Herzlich, Blackburn's backup, has been with the first unit throughout the offseason. Herzlich has impressed the coaching staff and believes the job is his to win.

Connor has started 27 NFL games in the past three seasons. Playing the middle in Carolina's 4-3 in 2011 he had a +3.2 PFF rating vs. the run while playing 15 games and starting 11.

Herzlich, who will be 26 when the season begins, has four career starts in two seasons. He played 350 defensive snaps a season ago and was -4.0 vs. the run.

This will be one of the most intriguing positions to watch during training camp.

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