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Ryan Connelly: What role will he play for Giants in 2020?

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Connelly could be a starting inside linebacker, if he is fully recovered from knee surgery

New York Giants v Cincinnati Bengals
Ryan Connelly
Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

What is Ryan Connelly? Is he the stud linebacker New York Giants fans have waited seemingly forever for? Is he a flash in the pan who had a couple of good games in 2019, but who won’t amount to much after an unfortunate injury?

Let’s take a closer look.

The basics

Height: 6-foot-2
Weight: 242
Age: 24
Position: Linebacker
Experience: 1
Contract status: Year 2 of four-year, $2.854 million rookie contract

How he got here

The Giants drafted Connelly in the fifth round a year ago and it was obvious from the time then-defensive coordinator James Bettcher took rookie camp film of Connelly and showed it to veteran players that the rookie would not stay chained to the bench for long.

His time as a reserve lasted one whole regular-season week. He replaced Tae Davis, who was eventually cut, in the starting lineup Week 2. He played well enough for a couple of weeks that Giants’ fans starving for a quality linebacker to call their own got excited. Then, in Week 4, Connelly’s season ended with a torn right ACL.

2020 outlook

I would pencil in Connelly as a starter next to Blake Martinez. I would, though, make sure my pencil had a decent eraser. We just don’t know how well Connelly’s recovery from knee surgery has gone, nor do we really have the first clue how defensive coordinator Patrick Graham plans to employ linebackers.

I remain optimistic about Connelly’s future. He could be the best linebacker the Giants have drafted in a while. I just think everyone needs to be cautious because there are so many unknowns heading into 2020.