While the prospect of a healthy Jon Beason represents a significant upgrade over what the Giants have had since roughly 2007, and Jacquain Williams has flashed when he has had the opportunity, the linebacking corps could certainly use another young, athletic, and preferably talented addition.
As well, the Giants have replaced Keith Rivers with Jameel McClain and re-signed Spencer Paysinger, Mark Herzlich, and Jon Beason. However, only McClain and Beason's contracts extend past the 2014 season.
Between those two facts, we certainly have enough motivation to once again look at linebackers in the draft. This time we'll take a look at Iowa's Christian Kirksey
- Long, rangy, athletic linebacker
- Very aggressive. Commits and plays all out
- Blitzes like a heat seeking missile
- Smooth and comfortable in coverage
- Flashes good use of leverage close to the line of scrimmage
- High motor, and dogged in pursuit
- Young but experienced. 21-year-old senior
- Likely limited to WILL linebacker
- Can be too aggressive, biting hard on play fakes
- Sometimes shows limited instincts or awareness. Hesitates before committing, and can lose the ball while in pursuit
- Size can lead to issues dealing with bigger blockers or backs
Does He Fit With The Giants?
Well, he's an athletic, rangy, talented linebacker. I'd say the answer is "Yes". He doesn't have the size that the Giants generally prefer in their defenders, but he has the athleticism.
His abilities as a blitzer and coverage backer mean that he would likely get his start in Jacquain Williams' role from the last two years, as the nickel backer and a special teamer. If Williams is able to transition to the SAM spot, Kirksey could find himself a home as the WILL.
He will need to learn to play more under control, curbing his aggression and hopefully improving his instincts and awareness, so he will play faster overall.
Big Board Rankings
Big Blue View - Not in Top 100
Mocking The Draft - Not in Top 200
CBS Sports - 130
Draft Countdown - 129
Draft Tek - 101
Kirksey is a prospect not many are talking about. Maybe its a result of the incredible depth of this draft, but for whatever reason he isn't getting much press.
Kirksey could be a solid linebacker in the "New" NFL, where offensive coordinators are actively seeking to control the middle of the field with tight ends, dual-threat backs, and receivers. Kirksey's length, range, and athleticism are well made for handling those weapons.
He certainly has his faults. He needs to work on his awareness and instincts, and perhaps greater experience, better coaching, and being able to focus entirely on football will help with that. He could also stand to to add some mass to his frame, if that's possible without sacrificing his athleticism.
However, Christian Kirksey should be a solid, even good, linebacker for some team. I suppose our question is "Will he be a Giant?"