Back in 2010 many linebacker-hungry New York Giants fans were hoping the team would select athletic outside linebacker Sean Weatherspoon in the first round of the NFL Draft. The Giants instead chose defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul with the 15th overall pick, and Weatherspoon went 19th to the Atlanta Falcons.
Five years later Weatherspoon is a free agent, and the Giants are still looking for upgrades at the linebacker position. Is the 27-year-old weakside linebacker a player the Giants should pursue in free agency?
The Giants appear to have a need there. Both Jacquian Williams and Spencer Paysinger are headed to free agency. How Williams in particular is viewed by new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo is unknown, and his future is also clouded by a serious concussion he suffered mid-way through the 2014 season.
Weatherspoon, named a defensive captain by the Falcons prior to the 2013 season, is a player who carries a significant injury risk. He has played only 47 of 80 potential regular-season games in his five-year career. He missed all of 2014 due to a torn achilles tendon and played only seven games in 2013 due to foot and knee injuries.
Weatherspoon has only played 16 games once, in 2011. That season he had 125 tackles, four sacks and eight passes defensed. It was also the only season in his career during which Weatherspoon earned a positive grade from Pro Football Focus, scoring a +20.8 (+15.6 for run defense, +6.7 as a pass rusher).
Dave Choate of SB Nation's Falcons web site, The Falcoholic, had this to say about Weatherspoon:
"Extremely athletic linebacker with an excellent all-around skill set. Vocal leader, capable of creating big plays. Unfortunately, his career has been derailed by injuries, as he missed all of 2014 and most of 2013 with major ailments. He'll have a soft market, which is good news for whichever team wants him.
I'd say the Falcons are fairly likely to retain 'Spoon on a one-year, value rehabilitating deal."
If the Falcons don't give Weatherspoon that one year 'prove it' type deal, would you be interested in seeing the Giants do so?