The New York Giants have an ever-present need at linebacker, though as the league evolves, the type of linebacker they need changes.
Rather than needing a big, punishing, run-stopper of a linebacker, the Giants could use an athletic linebacker who can hold up in coverage against athletic running backs and tight ends, and occasionally apply pressure as a blitzer.
The Giants might have drafted their middle linebacker of the future in 2016 fourth-round pick B.J. Goodson, but they also believe that he could play any of the three linebacker positions. Could they take another linebacker, such as Florida’s Jarrad Davis?
(Note: Davis missed the drills at the Scouting Combine with a high ankle sprain)
- Relentless and aggressive linebacker who never seems to throttle down.
- Shows great awareness navigating the trash at the line of scrimmage. Doesn’t seem to get bogged down or lose track of the ball carrier
- Lines up the Florida defense, suggesting a good football IQ.
- Athletic enough and has good range in space.
- Enough size for the position, and long arms.
- Versatile. Could probably play middle or weak-side linebacker at the next level.
- Has 3-down upside, able to play the run, drop into coverage, and rush the passer.
- Coaches rave about his leadership.
- Doesn’t have elite athleticism or rare size.
- Aggressiveness gets him into trouble at times, both with flags and taking him out of position to make plays.
- Dealt with lower-leg injuries throughout the 2016 season.
- Can occasionally struggle to get off blockers.
Does He Fit With The Giants?
Assuming the Giants don’t re-sign Keenan Robinson, Jarrad Davis is a fit.
He does everything the Giants ask of their linebackers, and would have the ability to play multiple positions and not have to come off the field in sub-packages. Davis is a fiery player and leader, and while the Giants aren’t lacking in that, making their defense even more fierce wouldn’t be a bad thing.
His propensity for aggressiveness is a double-edged sword at the moment, but ultimately I think it would be counted as a positive in Steve Spagnuolo’s defense, where he is constantly asking his players to play faster and more aggressively.
The biggest question is whether or not the Giants will want to spend a draft choice on him when they might have to in order to secure him.
Big Board Rankings
Big Blue View - 54th overall
CBS Sports - 51st overall
Draft Countdown - 20th overall
Draft Tek - 60th overall
The stock of an off-ball linebacker is a tricky thing to figure. They obviously have value and every team needs them. However, unless they are a rare athlete, such as Luke Kuechly or Ryan Shazier, teams seldom invest premium picks in them.
Thanks to his ankle injury, we don’t know how Davis stacks up in the measurable department. On tape he is definitely a good player, but doesn’t leap off the screen athletically.
If he happens to slip, the Giants might find value and invest a pick in him -- assuming they don’t address their linebacking corps earlier.