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2016 NFL Draft: Does Scooby Wright have a place on the Giants defense?

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Scooby Wright won the "triple crown" of defensive awards after a phenomenal 2014 season, but has slipped down draft boards. Could he be a value pick for the linebacker-needy Giants?

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

After the retirement of Jon Beason the New York Giants are left with an obvious hole in the middle of their defense. So far in free agency (as of this writing) they have yet to sign a replacement. And while they could transition strong side linebacker Devon Kennard to the inside, they could also look to draft a middle linebacker for the future.

Scooby Wright was considered one of the top defenders in the country before the 2015 season. His stock has dropped after a torn meniscus derailed his 2015 season, but he could become a middle round value.

Measurables

Pros

  • Highly instinctive. Anticipates the play and snap count well.
  • Pass rushing savant. Measureables don't suggest great pass rushing skill, but Wright finished 2014 with 15 sacks, 31 tackles for a loss, and 5 forced fumbles.
  • Highly aggressive linebacker. Plays on his toes and is always looking to make a hit.
  • Active hands taking on blockers.

Cons

  • Athletic limitations show up when he has to run more than 10 yards.
  • Highly aggressive play leaves him prone to taking bad angles, over-running plays, and bad tackles.
  • Needs to improve his tackling. Part of that is putting himself in better position to form tackle.
  • Played in a 3-3-5 base defense as opposed to a more traditional base 4-3 or 3-4 defense. There could be a learning curve.

Prospect Video

Big Board Rankings

Big Blue View - Not in Top - 50

Mocking The Draft - Not in Top - 100

CBS - 135th

Draft Tek - 109th

Does He Fit With the Giants?

If the Giants don't address their middle linebacker position, yes Wright could fit.

His instincts, football IQ, and blitzing ability would all fit well in Steve Spagnuolo's defense, which thrives on communication and being able to pressure the quarterback from anywhere on the field.

But for it to be a successful fit, the Giants would need to upgrade the speed around Wright to compensate for his lack of athleticism. Specifically, they will need speed at the weakside linebacker position -- assuming J.T. Thomas isn't that guy -- and a rangy safety to pair with Landon Collins.

Final Thoughts

Coming into the 2015 season Wright was considered one of the top defenders in the country after winning the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, the Rotary Lombardi Award and the Chuck Bednarik Award. His 2015 season was derailed by a torn meniscus, and in the absence of another year of eye-popping production questions about his athleticism only got louder.

Wright isn't a "modern" linebacker who moves more like an over-sized defensive back than a classic down-hill thumper. That being said, his instincts, intelligence, competitiveness and ability to put the quarterback on the ground will get him a chance in the NFL.