Can Cam Brown force his way into a regular role on the New York Giants’ defense, or will the second-year outside linebacker be left on the sidelines after an offseason influx of talent at the position?
Let’s take a closer look as we continue profiling the 90 players the Giants will bring to training camp this summer.
Contract: Year 2 of $4.394M rookie contract | Guaranteed at signing: $198.364 | 2021 cap hit: $829,591
Career to date
A sixth-round pick (183rd overall) out of Penn State a year ago, Brown’s length (95th percentile) and athleticism (83rd percentile broad jump, 69th percentile vertical jump) intrigued the Giants.
Brown put that to use becoming a critical special teams player for the Giants. He played 311 special teams snaps, second on the team only to Nate Ebner (326). Brown (79.6 Pro Football Focus grade) was the Giants’ highest-graded regular special teams player. He and Ebner had seven special teams tackles, tied for second on the team behind Elijhaa Penny with eight. Brown was a key figure on most of the special teams units, and was even used as an oversized punt gunner on six occasions. Brown made a game-saving tackle on a punt return in the final minute last season against the Cincinnati Bengals.
An off-ball linebacker at Penn State, the Giants tried to convert Brown to an edge defender. That met with mixed success. Brown played double-digit defensive snaps in four of the final six games, but really had little impact. He ended up with seven pressures, three quarterback hits and no sacks in 70 pass rush snaps.
There is no doubt Brown will be a valuable Giant — his special teams prowess guarantees that. If the Giants are fully healthy, though, it seems unlikely he will see more than spot duty on defense. Lorenzo Carter and Oshane Ximines are back in the mix after season-ending injuries. Veteran edge defender Ryan Anderson was signed as a free agent. Pass-rushing edge defenders Azeez Ojulari (Round 2) and Elerson Smith (Round 4) were added in the draft.
Unless Brown takes a dramatic step forward, which would of course be welcomed, it’s hard to see him playing a high number of defensive snaps.