While it does not always correspond to what happens in the NFL draft it is always noteworthy when New York Giants general manager Jerry Reese shows up at a pro day. So it is that we have to talk about the ESPN report that Reese was in attendance Thursday at the Vanderbilt Pro Day, where linebacker Zach Cunningham was the star attraction.
Cunningham is a player many analysts expect to be taken in the later stages of the first round, and appears to be vying with Haason Reddick of Temple to be the second linebacker selected in the 2017 NFL Draft, behind Reuben Foster of Alabama.
In his profile of Cunningham, Chris wrote:
Cunningham is a three-down outside linebacker, so he does fit the Giants. He looks like a natural fit as a WILL linebacker in a 4-3 front, where he can use his range in coverage as well as ability to come down, navigate the trash, and play the run.
Though often mis-cast as an inside linebacker in Vandy’s defense, Cunningham played the position well enough, showing solid football IQ and the strength to stack and shed blocks. He doesn’t have much production as a pass rusher, but his athleticism suggests that he can be a solid option blitzing despite his inexperience.
Cunningham's missed tackles and lack of desired play strength could bother teams, but his consistent production is hard to ignore. Cunningham is a rangy, three-down linebacker who has a nose for the ball and special teams value. His downhill approach is made for attacking 4-3 defenses and Cunningham could become a good, early starter as a run-and-chase weak-side linebacker.
Would you like to see Cunningham land with the Giants?