Giants Team Defense – Linebackers

The Giants have a history of great linebackers. Bill Parcells’ linebacker corp of the ’80s is ranked by nflnetwork as one of the top ten of all time. It was composed of Lawrence Taylor, Harry Carson, Gary Reasons and Carl Banks.  Taylor was the number two pick in the ’81 draft and Banks was the number three pick in the ’84 draft. Reasons and Carson were fourth round picks. All four picks were made within a nine year period. In the last nine drafts the Giants picked four linebackers at round 5, 4 and two at 6.

Markus Golden

Markus Golden is ninth in the league in pressures with 35. He is the leader on the Giants in sacks with 8.5 which is 19th in the league. Golden leads all Giants in quarterback knockdowns with 10 which is 12th in the league. He leads all Giants in quarterback hurries with 13 which is tie for 13th in the league. In coverage he has been targeted twice allowing one reception for six yards and only two yards after the catch.

David Mayo

Going into week 13 David Mayo was the 17th highest graded linebacker for the season by Pro Football Focus. Mayo is an athletic linebacker. At his 2015 Pro Day he met inside linebacker targets in six of his eight events. In the Patriot game Mayo recorded eight solo tackles and a quarterback hit.  David Mayo made the NFL a goal of his in the 4th grade. After getting zero division I offers out of high school he enrolled in Santa Monica Junior College, which had a reputation of sending players on to FBS programs. For a semester when he was attending the junior college, Mayo lived in a 10 x 15 uninsulated shed in a woman’s backyard in Southern California. He later transferred to Texas State and was drafted in the fifth round by the Panthers. In four years on the Panthers he started 4 games. This his first year on the Giants Mayo has started 10 games.

Alec  Ogletree

Alec Ogletree‘s 86.4% completion percentage on 44 passing targets is 261st out of 268 players with 20+ passing targets. His 5.39 yards after the catch per reception is 197th among the 268 players. He is the third most targeted Giant following Janoris Jenkins and DeAndre Baker. His 4.09 solo tackles per game is third most on the Giants and highest among Giant linebackers by 1.32 solo tackles/game.

Four of the top five rated inside linebackers by Pro Football Focus have a 12% team market share of solo tackles. Ogletree has an 8.5% team market share.  The last time the Giants had a linebacker with 11% or better solo tackle team market share was in 2006 when Antonio Pierce had 107 solo tackles for 12.5%.  Peirce was signed as an free agent with the Giants in 2005. Pierce had signed as an undrafted free agent by the Redskins following the 2001 NFL draft.

Lorenzo Carter

Lorenzo Carter is one of 18 players since 2006 that in their first 27 career games had five passes defended, fifteen quarterback hits, fifty solo tackles and seven sacks. Carter and Sam Hubbard are the only players this year to achieve this. Of the 18 the Giants have the most players with three who are Lorenzo Carter, Jason Pierre-Paul and Mathias Kiwanuka. Carter accomplished this playing in only 40% and 66% of the defensive snaps over his two season career.

Oshane Ximines

In his rookie season of 2019 Oshane Ximines is eighth  among 75 rookie defensive linemen and linebackers in sacks with four. He has accomplished this on just 45% of the defensive snaps.

Looking Forward

The linebacker position has become even more important  these days with the proliferation of screen passes, run-pass-options, increased use of tight ends, increased use of slot receivers and rushing quarterbacks. They must be able to stop the run and drop back into pass coverage. The outside linebackers must also be adept at rushing the quarterback. They need speed, a high football IQ, good vision, lateral speed and strong hips for change of direction.

Draft Prospects For Linebacker. All five prospects have had a 12% or better solo tackle team market share  some season in their college career. That percentage is indicative of future All-Pro or Pro-Bowl level play. Projected draft rounds are from CBS Sports 7 round mock draft.

Isaiah Simmons, Clemson – Simmons won the 2019 Butkus Award given to the nation’s top linebacker (Proj Rd 1)

Kenneth Murray, Oklahoma – In 2018 tie for second in the nation in total tackles with 155. (Proj Rd 1)

Troy Dye, Oregon – One of only three players that over the last five seasons had two seasons of 100+ tackles, 60+ solo tackles, 4+ passes defended and an interception. (Proj Rd 2)

Paddy Fisher, Northwestern – Tie for first among FBS active career leaders in forced fumbles with ten. (Proj Rd 4)

Markus Bailey, Purdue – Third in the FBS active career leaders in solo tackles per game with 5.09. (Proj Rd 5)

Draft Prospects for Outside Linebackers/Edge Rushers. All listed prospects meet target team market share indicative of All-Pro to Pro-Bowl players. For edge defenders those are 6.3% solo tackles, 25% sacks and 15,3% tackles for loss. The only exception is Basham who missed only on solo tackles recording a 4.9%.

Chase Young , Ohio State – Winner of 2019 Chuck Bednarik Award, Ted Hendricks Award and Bronko Nagurski Award.  2019 Big Ten Defensive Player of Year. One of four finalists for the Heisman Trophy. (Proj Rd 1)

Curtis Weaver, Boise State – 2019 Mountain West Conference Defensive Player of the Year.  Second among FBS active career leaders in Sacks per game (0.85) and fourth in Tackles For Loss per game (1.16) (Proj Rd 2)

Carlos Basham Jr. Wake Forest – 2019 All-ACC First Team. In the ACC is second in Tackles For Loss and third in Sacks and Forced Fumbles. (Proj Rd 2)

Kenny Willekes, Michigan State – 2018 Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year. One of only nine players over the last five seasons to have 90 solo tackles, 45 tackles for loss and 20 sacks. In that group of nine Willekes had the third most passes defended with seven. (Proj Rd 3)

Bradlee Anae, Utah – 2019 All Pac-12  First Team. Anae was a two time First Team selection. One of nine players in the NCAA that in 2019 have 25 solo tackles, 13 tackles for loss and 12 sacks.(Proj Rd 3)

Enjoy the Giants vs Miami Game! Hopefully the Giants get a win and break the losing streak! Go Giants! Go Eli!

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