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Giants 90-Man Roster: Is B.J. Goodson Ready To Man The Middle?

Giants appear to be giving second-year man the opportunity

NFL: Preseason-New York Giants at Buffalo Bills
B.J. Goodson during a 2016 preseason game.
Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Linebacker B.J. Goodson was drafted by the New York Giants in the fourth round of the 2016 NFL Draft in the hopes that he could become their middle linebacker of the future.

That future could be now, as Goodson has been working with the first team throughout the spring. The Giants did not re-sign last year’s starter, Kelvin Sheppard, and appear to be hoping the 24-year-old Goodson is ready for the job following a season-long apprenticeship.

Let’s take a closer look at Goodson, who spoke to the media on Friday at OTAs, as we continue our player-by-player profiles of the Giants 90-man roster.

2016 Season In Review

The 2016 was a learning one for Goodson. He played only 13 snaps while Kelvin Sheppard manned the middle on run downs and Keenan Robinson played in passing situations.

“Last year, I was taking things a day at a time, preparing like a starter,” Goodson said Friday. “Day in and day out, trying to get better one percent at a time, a day at a time. Keeping my head down and staying grounded.”

2017 Season Outlook

Defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins, who signed with the Indianapolis Colts via free agency, and Sheppard, are the only starters not returning to the Giants’ defense this season.

It might be considered a daunting task for a 24-year-old with 13 career starts to step into the lineup and call defensive signals for an experienced, veteran group. Goodson doesn’t seem overwhelmed by the task.

“I've gotten very comfortable with calling the defense. My teammates do a great job of rallying around me and just getting everyone lined up, I'm kind of having fun taking charge of it,” he said. “A big help to that is actually getting to know those guys off of the field. It translated on to the field. Getting to know those guys and getting more comfortable around those guys.”

Goodson, of course, has a veteran group of linebackers to learn from, and says “Those guys definitely teach you how to be a pro.”

The second-year man from Clemson also has the benefit this spring of learning from Antonio Pierce. The former Giants linebacker is now a coaching intern with the team.

“He's always dropping advice and knowledge on me. He drops a lot of knowledge on me. So it isn’t one particular thing that I could tell you that he does, but he's always telling me whether it's formation recognition or any little thing,” Goodson said. “The details, he's always on me about the details, but he does a great job of helping me and really appreciate it.

“I definitely try to pick his brain, and he's a big help.”

If Goodson shows the ability to play the position and quarterback the defense anywhere close to the way Pierce did, the Giants will have really found themselves something.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: If you are keeping track, yes, I skipped out of alphabetical order in these profiles by doing this one. That one will happen on occasion as we wind our way through all 90 profiles.]

B.j.Goodson speaks to media Friday at Giants OTA. More from Goodson on our website.

Posted by Big Blue View on Saturday, June 3, 2017