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NFL Draft: What would the Giants be getting in LB Zach Cunningham?

Is he really “a slam-dunk first-rounder?” Let’s take a look

Increasingly, the buzz around the New York Giants and the 23rd overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft has Vanderbilt linebacker Zach Cunningham as a primary target for the Giants.

The Giants, of course, have not selected a linebacker in the first round since taking Carl Banks in 1984. If they were to select Cunningham, what would they be getting?

Brett Kollmann of SB Nation’s Daily Norseman, which covers the Minnesota Vikings, has put together the fantastic video above detailing what he sees when he watches Cunningham.

Here are some of Kollmann’s comments:

"A slam-dunk first-rounder."

"If you are a team that is looking for a ture middle linebacker that can rack up a ridiculous amount of tackles and shut down the run in-between the hashes Zach Cunningham is the best linebacker prospect for that in this class."

"The most natural pure MIKE linebacker in this class."

"You've got a long, stout explosive middle linebacker with a nose for the ball and a track record of heavy production."

"Not the rangiest defender ... numbers to numbers linebacker."

"When he is allowed to patrol the middle and do what he does best it is really, really fun to watch."

"He's a three-down defender. No question."

Cunningham is the 27th-ranked player on the Big Blue View Big Board, which puts him right in the range for the Giants.

In his prospect profile of Cunningham, Chris opined that he might be better served by playing outside:

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.

I have to admit that I have looked at Cunningham as a player the Giants would be “settling” for if they took him at No. 23. Kollmann’s review, though, makes me feel much more optimistic about what he might bring to the Giants.

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