clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Uani 'Unga faces uphill climb to make Giants roster again

We begin profiling the 90-man roster the Giants will bring to training camp by looking at a second-year player with an inspiring story, but tough competition to make the team

Atlanta Falcons v New York Giants
Uani 'Unga
Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

Believe it or not, it is time to start previewing the 90-man roster the New York Giants will bring to training camp later this summer. We will go in order of how the players are listed on the roster at Giants.com. That makes second-year linebacker Uani 'Unga first up.

2015 in Review

'Unga made the roster of the linebacker-needy Giants as a 27-year-old undrafted free agent after sitting out the entire 2014 season due to a torn right ACL, MCL and meniscus in his final college game.

'Unga played more than anticipated, getting into 13 games and starting three. He took over the middle linebacker job when Jon Beason was injured early in the season, and kept it until veteran Jasper Brinkley, signed at the beginning of the regular season, was ready to play midseason. 'Unga finished with 59 tackles, 42 of them solo, two interceptions and two forced fumbles.

Beyond the tackle numbers, though, 'Unga was often overmatched. At 6-foot-1, 233 pounds he wasn't physical enough to be a force against the run. He was also picked on by opposing quarterbacks, who often targeted him in matchups against tight ends when they needed completions. The Giants were 27th in the league in covering tight ends last and surrendered a league-worst 80.8 yards per game to players from that position, per Football Outsiders.

2016 Outlook

Two words -- not promising. The Giants re-signed Brinkley. They added veteran middle linebackers Keenan Robinson and Kelvin Sheppard. They drafted potential middle linebacker of the future B.J. Goodson in the fourth round.

'Unga is a likable sort who has a good story and always seems to have a smile on his face. It is, however, hard to see him making the eventual 53-man roster.