While most attention has been paid this offseason to the offensive line and linebacking corps, the New York Giants have quietly been amassing a number of fairly similar defensive linemen.
Already on the roster are Kerry Wynn and Romeo Okwara, while former Cardinals Kareem Martin (listed as a defensive end and outside linebacker), and Josh Mauro were signed in free agency. It seems that there is a certain type of player James Bettcher was looking for when assembling the shopping list for his new defense.
It’s possible that that player might not yet be on the roster and the Giants could still turn to the draft. With that in mind, it makes sense to look at similar prospects. In this case, USC’s Rasheem Green is very similar in size and played in a similar defense in college.
Could the athletic Green be the missing piece on the Giants’ defensive line?
- Good frame and length for the position.
- Explosive power and a good all-around athlete.
- Generally plays with good strength and leverage.
- Scheme versatile. Can play in a 3-4 or 4-3 defense.
- Can be disruptive in the run and pass games.
- Good agility for stunts and twists.
- Slightly under-weight for a classic defensive tackle.
- Limited to 1-gapping defenses
- Needs to work on developing a reliable counter move.
- Can get hung up on blocks, not shedding them until too late.
- Can lose track of the ball behind the line of scrimmage.
What They’re Saying
”I wanted him to go back to school because he probably would have been a top-10 pick next year. He’s not strong enough to handle NFL guys yet so this year may be a redshirt year for him. He’s got some serious juice though. He’s going to be a dude when it all comes together.” -- AFC team regional scout
Does He Fit The Giants?
Green isn’t yet a finished product, but his tools could make an impact as a rookie, and his upside is impressive with a bit of coaching.
A bit too stocky, with not enough bend, to be an every-down defensive end in a 4-3 defense, he is a natural fit as an athletic 5-technique (defensive end) in a 1-gap 3-4 defense, with the ability to play 3-technique defensive tackle on nickel downs. In, what we expect to be, the Giants’ base defense, Green would play a role similar to that of Justin Smith on the San Francisco 49ers, JJ Watt on the Houston Texans, or Calais Campbell when he was a Cardinal.
Green still has to grow as a player, particularly in using his hands to separate from blockers in a timely fashion. However, his natural athleticism is evident in his play, and when he keeps his pads down, he is able to overwhelm single blocker with power.
Green fits well with the type of players the Giants have already been collecting, so he would likely fit in their defense. The bigger question is one of value and availability. Green’s athleticism will get him picked fairly early, and his position -- a 1-gapping 5-technique with the ability to stay on the field in nickel situations -- is a rising commodity in the NFL as hybrid defenses become more popular.
If the Giants want to draft Green, they might have to use their second round pick on him, and he might not even last that long.