The New York Giants got a lot of press for their spending spree at the start of free agency.
To recap what has already been well covered, they re-signed Jason Pierre-Paul before the start of free agency and signed former Miami Dolphins' defensive end Olivier Vernon, former New York Jets' defensive tackle Damon Harrison, and former St. Louis Rams cornerback Janoris Jenkins to massive contracts.
Despite the attention to the defensive line, JPP and Vernon are the Giants' only proven edge rushers. Devon Kennard has the ability as a blitzing linebacker but has struggled to stay healthy. Kerry Wynn is a high-effort player, but is a (much) better run defender than pass rusher. And despite his explosive athleticism, Owamagbe Odighizuwa has more experience controlling blockers as a 5-technique in a 3-4 defense than rushing the passer off the edge.
All that means that the Giants could still stand to add another edge rusher, particularly if JPP can't regain something like his pre-injury form, or doesn't return in 2017.
Penn State defensive end Carl Nassib came out of nowhere to lead the country in sacks last season. So could he be a target?
- Relentless work ethic. Started career at Penn State as a 200-pound walk-on, four years later lead the country in sacks with 15.5 (in addition to six forced fumbles) in 10 games.
- Coachable player, visibly improved over the week of practice before the Senior Bowl
- Exceptional length. Tall at 6-7with long (34.5-inch) arms, Nassib has the length the Giants covet in linemen.
- Good burst off the line. Nassib shows a good first step, even if long speed is lacking.
- Flashes strength to shed blockers
- Shows solid awareness and football instincts. Rarely loses track of the play.
- Uses multiple moves, but technique is lacking.
- Inconsistent in using his length to his advantage.
- Technique limits his functional strength.
- Has come so far in developing his body that it's fair to wonder how close to "maxed out" he is.
- Despite his phenomenal 2015 production, it largely came out of nowhere. Very limited playing time and production in previous years.
Big Board Rankings
Big Blue View - 47th
Mocking The Draft - 69th
CBS - 68th
Draft Tek - 44th
Does He Fit With the Giants?
Yes, he does.
The Giants love big, long defensive players in general, and especially on the edges, Nassib has those traits in spades. Despite being a senior, he is not yet a finished product and is still learning the nuances of his position. Nassib's tape can be almost frustrating to watch as he keeps his head down and tries to use his shoulder as a battering ram in bull-rushes, or struggle with hand usage in speed moves. But other times he gets it right and makes tackles look foolish.
The problem, I think, has more to do with Penn State's coaching situation rather than with Nassib in particular. The coaching turmoil at Penn State is widely known, and how much (good) coaching Nassib got while he built his body should be questioned.
With the Giants' defensive line coaches, a player with Nassib's physical tools and mental makeup could be an intriguing developmental prospect.
Carl Nassib is one of the prospects that I (kinda quietly) love. This time of year we get dazzled by numbers, and so much scouting gets done by a ruler and stopwatch. But if it were possible to have a "work ethic" metric, Nassib would likely be at the top of his class. For him to have gone from a walk-on who had his coach try to convince him to give up football, to setting the Penn State record for sacks and Big 10 defensive player of the year is impressive by any measure. Nassib is a player that just seems to "get it".