The New York Giants are historically known for their fearsome pass rush. The past couple of years have done their best to undo that legacy. While struggling around the bottom of the sack totals, the Giants have failed to make the playoffs four years in a row.
What they need is some new energy, and their free agency plan has confirmed that, but with the NFL Draft less than a week away, it's time to make decisions on if they want to be merely middling, or if they want to turn that weakness back into a strength.
With multiple areas of need, they may not be able to spend a first-round pick on an edge rusher, so who looks like the best addition on Day 2? My money is on Bronson Kaufusi, the ultra-productive defensive lineman from Brigham Young.
- Production. He gets to the quarterback. PFF have him ranked as generating the most constant pressure of any edge defender in college football. Not talking about grades. Actual QB hits, hurries and sacks.
- Arm length and height will be sought after by NFL coaches. Ideal mold for development.
- Can rush from anywhere on the line.
- Finishes every play, doesn't stand around when he thinks he's been blocked out of it.
- Some of his production came on clean-up. Not all pressures came from initial phases of the play.
- Not a hard-hitter. Strength is there, but seems to be happier with wrap-up tackles than big hits.
- Finesse mover, who may not beat NFL linemen with bull rushes as a rookie.
Big Board Rankings
Big Blue View - 90th
Mocking The Draft - 85th
CBS - 72nd
Draft Tek - 39th
Does He Fit With the Giants?
The Giants need as many capable pass rushers as they can get. This year seems to be a restocking of an arsenal that has been violently depleted over the past couple of seasons. This has not been the team that won four Super Bowls on the backs of quarterback nightmares. With Olivier Vernon and Jason Pierre-Paul penciled in as the presumptive starters for the upcoming season, the Giants don't necessarily need to add an immediate starter in this area. Yes, it would be nice, but it's not mandatory.
Kaufusi has the build to play defensive end, with the added bonus of shifting inside to tackle on passing downs if necessary. If the Giants want to re-ignite the NASCAR package, Kaufusi would be an ideal addition. If he can play inside a top-shelf line, then he could really break out quite soon. You can't block everyone indefinitely, and someone as consistently relentless as Kaufusi would feast.
All I can think of when I think of Kaufusi's NFL prospects is the team selection scene from 'Moneyball'. The scout asks what you like about him, the answer is "Because he gets on base". Right now, looking at Kaufusi, you have to assess him as a 'Moneyball' type player. His projections put him as a Day 2 player, and if that means he can be had in Round 3, he's a steal. He may not get the home run, which in this case is a sack, but he spends more time around the quarterback than anyone else in the draft class. He gets on base.