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Will Devante Downs get lost in Giants’ linebacker shuffle?

NFL: NOV 10 Giants at Jets
Devante Downs
Photo by Joshua Sarner/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

With all of the new linebackers the New York Giants added via both the draft and free agency, will there be room for a holdover like DeVante Downs? Let’s take a closer look.

The basics

Height: 6-foot-2
Weight: 252
Age: 24
Position: Linebacker
Experience: 2
Contract: One-year, $570,000 | RFA: 2021

How he got here

Downs was a seventh-round pick by the Minnesota Vikings in 2018. He appeared in 11 games for Minnesota that season and two in 2019 before being cut at the end of September and added by the Giants to their practice squad. Downs ended up active for seven games with the Giants.

In two seasons, he has never played a single snap as a defensive player. He has played 267 total snaps, all on special teams.

2020 outlook

Downs would seem to have a difficult task to make the Giants’ 2020 53-man roster. The Giants have Blake Martinez, Ryan Connelly, David Mayo, sixth-round pick Cam Brown, seventh-round pick T.J. Brunson and second-year player Josiah Tauaefa among options inside.

Coming out of Cal, Downs projected as a better coverage linebacker than run defender. There is, though, nothing to go on to know if he can actually be a useful NFL defender.

A former special teams coach, new Giants head coach Joe Judge will obviously value contributions on special teams. Will ability in that phase of the game, though, be enough to get Downs a roster spot?