The New York Giants once again bypassed the idea of using premium resources on a linebacker in the 2017 NFL Draft. That may not be a real issue in 2017 as the Giants return the key players from last year at the position and have second-year man B.J. Goodson ready to compete for the snaps that went to Kelvin Sheppard last season.
Still, the Giants do have the long-term issue of having only Goodson signed beyond the upcoming season. They are soon going to have decisions to make at the position, and could be facing a revamp of the personnel there.
Could Calvin Munson, an undrafted free agent signed out of San Diego State, be part of that future? Let’s have a closer look.
In his 2017 NFL Draft Guide, Dane Brugler of CBS Sports had Munson rated as a late-round draft candidate:
A three-year starter at San Diego State, Munson started every game at outside linebacker for the Aztecs since the 2014 season, leading the team in tackles as a junior and senior while also performing well in coverage and as a blitzer. He is football smart and understands his surroundings and although he isn’t a top-tier size/speed athlete, Munson diagnoses play speed well and takes the aggressive angles to arrive at the ball with a chance to make a play. He might not be elite in any one area, but Munson was steadily productive in all facets of the game and his trademark toughness will be a natural fit in the NFL – skill-set is there to stick on a roster as a back-up and special teamer.
Lance Zierlein of NFL.com sees limited upside for Munson:
Teams will like his aggressiveness and his ability to stand his ground and bump in the box, but he lacks range as a tackler and can be mismatched in coverage.
Pro Football Focus also pointed out Munson’s limitations:
Munson was a highly productive player in all three phases in college, but considering his speed limitations it’s difficult to see much of what he accomplished at San Diego State translating to the next level. What will translate is his ability to quickly diagnose and attack the run, as he does possess the short area quickness and aggressiveness to avoid blocks at the line of scrimmage without compromising gap integrity. He has the physicality to defeat blockers, but needs to consistently be the aggressor, as he struggle to shed once his man is locked onto him. He is capable of playing in coverage on underneath zones, but once he’s asked to turn and run he quickly loses ground he can’t make up. He can time blitzes well and work off stunts effectively, which led to him posting 24 sacks over the past three seasons at San Diego State. However, until he learns how to use his hands to set up a variety of moves against blockers, he is unlikely to translate his college production in this category to the NFL level. Munson has some viability as a run defender, especially if he can learn how to consistently stack and shed blocks inside, but his lack of straight-line speed could make t tough for him to stick unless he can quickly prove his worth on special teams.
Perhaps Munson can stick on the end of the roster as a special teams contributor, or at least land a spot on the practice squad. A limited player like Mark Herzlich has made a successful career out of being a fill-in linebacker and key special teams player. Can Munson do the same?