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Giants’ 90-man roster: What are Giants getting in DL Freedom Akinmoladun?

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The former Nebraska Cornhusker never matched an impressive freshman season

NCAA Football: Maryland at Nebraska
Freedom Akinmoladun makes a tackle in a 2016 game.
Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

Continuing their search for undrafted gems, the New York Giants this week signed former Nebraska defensive lineman Freedom Akinmoladun after he impressed during a rookie mini-camp tryout.

What are the Giants getting in Akinmoladun, aside from a guy with a great first name and an impossibly difficult last name to both say and spell?

It appears they are getting a player with tools and athleticism, but one who perhaps did not reach his potential with the Cornhuskers.

Here is a quick scouting report from the folks at SB Nation’s Nebraska website, Corn Nation:

“Untapped potential. Showed great explosion as a pass rusher as a redshirt freshman in 2015 before the previous strength staff had him bulk up and he lost his explosion. Hampered by an ankle injury and playing for three defensive line coaches and three DCs

“Can he make the roster.... ?

“That’s a damned good question. Nebraska football was completely lost under coach Mike Riley, and those guys didn’t get a lot of development, as was pointed out.

“If he has time to stick around, maybe on a practice squad, perhaps. There was a lot of hope for Freedom (not even a pun intended) when he was young, and then everything turned to crap. The defense went straight to hell under [former defensive coordinator] Bob Diaco.”

Let’s take a closer look at Akinmoladun as we continue profiling the 90 players the Giants will bring to training camp later this summer.

The basics

Height: 6-foot-4
Weight: 295
Position: DL
Experience: 0

How he got here

Akinmoladun was a four-year starter at Nebraska. His best season was his freshman year when he compiled 4.5 sacks and 7.0 tackles for loss. Over the next three seasons, he had just 6.5 sacks and 9.0 tackles for loss combined.

Here is a little bit more about how his Cornhusker career went:

Akinmoladun was recruited under Bo Pelini as a tight end. He spent his redshirt season in 2014 working out at that spot on the scout team. When Mike Riley’s staff took over, he transitioned to defensive end.

In Mark Banker’s 4-3 defense, he had 4½ sacks and 21 total tackles. As a sophomore in the same defense, he added four more sacks [three, officially] and 32 tackles. He even forced a fumble.

In Bob Diaco’s 3-4 defense a season ago, he was tasked with a more passive role at defensive end. The defensive line hated it and Akinmoladun’s stats tanked: one sack, 24 tackles, two pass deflections.

With the Giants in attendance, Akinmoladun tested well at the Nebraska Pro Day. The Giants brought him to the rookie mini-camp as a tryout player, liked what they saw and added him to the roster.

2019 outlook

Akinmoladun faces a steep climb to make the roster.

B.J. Hill, Dalvin Tomlinson, first-round pick Dexter Lawrence, seventh-round pick Chris Slayton, last year’s fifth-round pick R.J. McIntosh and free-agent signee Olsen Pierre would all appear to be ahead of Akinmoladun. The Giants also re-signed veteran nose tackle John Jenkins.

Perhaps what the Giants see is a player with intriguing who could benefit from a year on an NFL practice squad with some quality coaching.