When the New York Giants signed Tomon Fox as an undrafted free agent, they took a chance on a player who arguably should have been a late-round draft pick just based on his college stat line.
Does that mean Fox has a realistic shot at making the team? Let’s discuss that and more as we continue our player-by-player profiles of New York’s 90-man roster.
By the numbers
Contract: One-year, $965,000 | 2022 cap hit: $965,000
Career to date
Fox’s claim to fame is the 30 sacks he recorded while at the University of North Carolina — third all-time and nine more than Lawrence Taylor had at the same school (though Taylor had less time).
That record, as well as a chance meeting in UNC’s weight room, led to an acquaintanceship between Fox and Taylor. Last month, Taylor told the New York Post that “I know he’s hard core and not being drafted will make him work harder. He is a solid player from what I’ve seen!”
Fox’s best season came last year as a graduate student, when he ranked fifth in the ACC with 8.5 sacks. However, he never caught on nationally and was not invited to the NFL Combine.
Fox’s former defensive coordinator, Jay Bateman, believes he has what it takes to succeed at the next level.
“I don’t know if I’ve coached a guy that I respect more than [Fox],”Bateman told Tar Heel Illustrated in November. “He shows up every day to work, works really hard, plays really hard. He’s everything you want in a player. He’s just a tremendous young man.”
As of now, Fox lacks the instincts and tackling form to fully capitalize on his impressive size and athleticism. He was frequently left fazed by quicker offensive linemen or wide receivers while in college.
Dane Brugler of The Athletic had Fox ranked as the No. 67 linebacker in the class. For comparison, the top undrafted free agents were ranked around No. 40.
Regardless of his undrafted status, the reality is that Fox was a four-year starter at one of the nation’s top football programs. He spent six years total at UNC because of changes to eligibility rules during the pandemic. Fox knows what it’s like to be in big moments, and it’s very possible he has the tools to succeed at the NFL level.
While it’s odd to say that a rookie free agent is one of the more experienced players on the roster, that’s the situation New York’s pass rush finds itself in. The group lacks depth and is incredibly young. That may give Fox a chance to make the roster.