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Giants’ 90-man roster: What role could LB Darrian Beavers play?

Could sixth-round pick be more than a special teams player in 2022?

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NFL: MAR 04 Scouting Combine
Darrian Beavers
Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Darrian Beavers, selected No. 182 overall in Round 6, was one of two linebackers added in the 2022 NFL Draft by the New York Giants. Let’s see where he fits as we continue profiling the 90 players the Giants will bring to training camp this summer.

By the numbers

Height: 6-foot-4
Weight: 237
Age: 22
Position: Linebacker
Experience: Rookie
Contract: Four years, $3.903 million (when signed) | 2021 cap hit: $705,000

Career to date

The Giants used their final selection in the 2022 NFL Draft, No. 182 overall, on the Cincinnati linebacker.

In his draft guide, Dane Brugler of The Athletic said this about Beavers’ collegiate career:

After two seasons at UConn as a linebacker and defensive end, Beavers elected to transfer and was recruited by Power 5 programs like Minnesota and UCLA. However, he was admittedly “homesick” and transferred to his hometown Cincinnati where he was granted a waiver to play immediately. He took advantage of the NCAA extra year of eligibility and returned for his fifth season in 2021.

Tack Tack Tack Tack Tack Def Def Def Def Def Fumb Fumb
Year School Conf Class Pos G Solo Ast Tot Loss Sk Int Yds Avg TD PD FR FF
2017 Connecticut American FR LB 8 9 6 15 3.0 3.0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2018 Connecticut American SO LB 10 15 8 23 4.5 4.0 0 0 0 2 0 0
*2019 Cincinnati American JR LB 14 21 15 36 1.5 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0
*2020 Cincinnati American SR LB 10 38 20 58 7.5 2.5 2 8 4.0 0 2 0 1
*2021 Cincinnati American SR LB 14 46 52 98 11.0 4.0 1 0 0.0 0 1 2 2
Career Overall 129 101 230 27.5 13.5 3 8 2.7 0 5 2 3
Connecticut 24 14 38 7.5 7.0 0 0 0 2 0 0
Cincinnati 105 87 192 20.0 6.5 3 8 2.7 0 3 2 3

Beavers became a key part of the Cincinnati defense as the Bearcats went 13-1 and reached the College Football Playoff.

Brugler wrote:

A three-year starter at Cincinnati, Beavers played weakside linebacker in defensive coordinator Mike Tressel’s 3-3-5 base scheme. Not many athletes spend time at safety, linebacker, and defensive end over their college careers, but that functional experience helped morph him into a do-everything backer who is coming off a career-year in 2021. Beavers is a big, physical defender with NFL-ready discipline and diagnose skills that will endear him to coaches. Although he has versatile experience, the term “Jack of all trades, master of none” comes to mind while watching his hybrid skill set. Overall, Beavers doesn’t have elite anticipation to mask his average body twitch and range, but he moves well for his size with the instincts and tackling skills suited for in-the-box work. He projects best as an inside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme with some value outside as an edge rusher as well.

2022 outlook

GM Joe Schoen summarized Beavers this way after his selection in the draft:

“ ... versatile piece, he played inside and he played outside. I was at his pro day. He did some stuff as an outside rusher and that looks like something that may be part of the package. Like his versatility to be inside, outside, and play on special teams.”

In assessing the selection of Beavers, Pro Football Focus wrote:

A strongside linebacker who can take on blocks at the next level, Beavers makes up for his lack of athleticism with impressive instincts and tackling skills. A likely two-down player, Beavers will have to contribute on special teams to make his mark in the NFL.

The NFL is a sub-package league. While Beavers does not appear to be a three-down player who should be trusted in man-to-man coverage against running backs and tight ends, his run defense, experience on the edge, and pass-rush potential could help him work his way into a situation role on defense. Especially since beyond Blake Martinez there are no sure things in the Giants’ linebacking corps.