The New York Giants’ once dangerous defense is suffering from an apparent lack of teeth in the pass rush department.
Olivier Vernon is (currently) their only proven pass rusher, and while Avery Moss has flashed potential, it seemed as though the better he played, the fewer snaps he got in 2017. Beyond them, the cupboard is pretty bare after the trade of Jason Pierre-Paul.
There is, however, an intriguing prospect right in the Giants’ own backyard. Rutgers’ Kemoko Turay is flying under the radar after injuries limited him in 2015 and 2016, and interfered with his draft process. However, he also brings with him an undeniable athleticism and talent at a position of need for the Giants.
But is that enough to brave the risk?
- Athletic rusher. Good burst off the ball, lateral agility, and speed to close or chase down ball carriers.
- Good size for the position with solid height, thickness, and length.
- Reliable tackler. Wraps up and rarely allows broken tackles.
- Flashes good hand usage. Gets his hands on blockers first and uses them well to disengage to make plays.
- Able to drop into coverage and looks natural doing so.
- Significant injury history. Played just 11 games combined in 2015 and 2016 seasons. Suffered a hamstring injury running the 40 at the NFL Scouting Combine
- Can get swallowed up by offensive linemen if he loses the hand battle.
- Shows some issues bending around the corner. Outside rushes benefit from a wider alignment.
- Relatively new to football. Just one year of varsity football before playing at Rutgers, where he missed time.
What They’re Saying
IN OUR VIEW: Turay leaves Rutgers with “just” 15.5 sacks over his career - nearly half (7.5) of which came during his freshman season back in 2014 - but he possesses a rare combination of length and agility which could make him a monster off the edge in the increasingly pass-happy NFL. Based on his struggles with durability and overall production, Turay should earn middle round consideration, at best. He has the raw talent to be special, however, so don’t be surprised if he is drafted much earlier.
-Rob Rang (NFLDraftScout.com)
Does He Fit The Giants?
Turay isn’t going to be a fit in every defense. He needs to be in a defense that will let him spend most of his time attacking into the backfield. While he is capable of dropping back into a zone coverage, his burst and ability as a pass rusher demand that he play most of his snaps playing down-hill.
As it so happens, the Giants’ defense will likely have a role for just such a player.
With the departure of Jason Pierre-Paul, the Giants are down to just one proven pass rusher in Olivier Vernon, and could use a smaller speed rusher to complement him. His ability to drop into coverage should work well with James Bettcher’s blitz schemes, but his ability to rush the passer is more important -- as is his tackling ability for a team that struggled with broken tackles and “leaky” yardage on the edges in 2017.
More than fit, the bigger issue with Turay is his health, and whether the Giants can risk a player who has such a recent injury history.