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Calvin Munson trying to hang onto role as backup linebacker

Munson has limitations, but plays hard and has special teams value

NFL: New York Giants at Arizona Cardinals
Calvin Munson
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants appear to have two quality starting inside linebackers in Alec Ogletree and B.J. Goodson. Who will be the backups, though?

Calvin Munson was one of the team’s reserve linebackers a season ago. Let’s look at Munson as we continue our player-by-player profiles of the 90-man roster the Giants will bring to training camp.

The basics

Height: 6-feet
Weight: 241
Position: Inside linebacker
Experience: 1

2017 season in review

Made the roster as an undrafted free agent, riding an impressive preseason (15 tackles, second on the team) to a roster spot when veteran Mark Herzlich was placed on IR with a stinger. Expected to primarily be a special teams contributor, he played 388 defensive snaps (35.2 percent) and finished the season with 55 tackles (35 solo) and 2 sacks.

Munson finished the season with a 38.3 Pro Football Focus grade, in the “poor” category. Here are his overall numbers:

Overall grade: 38.3 (77th out of 86 LBs)
Run grade: 39.1 (84th)
Coverage grade: 42.2 (not qualified for rank due to lack of snaps)

A couple of other notes from PFF:

  • Led Giants LBs with 19 Defensive Stops
  • Allowed opponents to catch 88.9 percent of targets, fourth-worst among qualified LBs

None of that, to be honest, is pretty.

2018 outlook

Pre-2017 NFL Draft scouting reports credited Munson with being an aggressive, downhill downhill player, but indicated that lack of range and speed would be his undoing as a linebacker at the NFL level. Those things seemed to play out accurately last season.

Could that be different in a 3-4 alignment, where at least against the run inside linebackers may theoretically have less ground to cover?

Munson, Herzlich and Thurston Armbrister are the only real inside linebackers competing for reserve spots behind Alec Ogletree and B.J. Goodson. Special teams, where Munson made 5 tackles in 2017, could help him stick around again.