Giants 2016 Draft Preview: ILB Prospects
By Michael Stewart
Continuing with the ILB prospects in the 2016 draft; the Giants could be searching for one to replace the retired Jon Beason. GM Jerry Reese has a history of not having a desire to draft an ILB early in the draft (if any at all). With that being said; my final 4 prospects are projected to somewhere between the 4th to 6th round in the draft. Despite their late round projections; make no mistake that any of the 4 mentioned below could emerge as the Giants new MLB within the next 2 years.
Antonio Morrison (ILB) Florida 6’1/232:
Projected as a 4th round pick/Many have referred to Morrison as the most intense player at the college level. Well built body with a high football IQ to match. Morrison reads the play well and attacks his target; rarely missing a tackle. Great work ethics and doesn’t need to be motivated either in practice or on game day. Various injuries (knee 2013) Torn ligaments (knee 2015) to go along with two altercations (punching a bouncer in 2013) and resisting a arrest also in 2013 could be the main reason why Morrison is not projected in the top 2 rounds.
Nick Virgil (ILB) Utah State 6’2/230:
Projected as a 5th round pick/Nose for the ball with impressive body control to avoid blockers at the point of attack. Virgil may not jump out at you on film, but the kid makes plays either down field or as a pass rusher. Virgil even served as a RB at times for Utah State with 4 TD’s to his college resume. Virgil will need to develop more strength moving forward to succeed in the NFL.
Blake Martinez (ILB) Standord 6’2/239:
Projected as a late 5th to early 6th round pick/Martinez attacks the line of scrimmage without hesitation. Displays good balance and is reliable open field tackler. Martinez has long arms and strong hands which he uses effectively. Downfall for Martinez is his lack of speed at the NFL level; which could affect his ability to pass rush well and cover TE downfield.
Josh Forrest (ILB) Kentucky 6’3/255:
Projected as a 6th round pick/Began his college career at Kentucky as a WR then transitioned over to LB/SS at the end of his freshman season. Very athletic with an impressive burst of speed either as a run defender or a pass rusher. Forrest is the type of prospects that many teams like to covert in the later rounds with his immense potential. Forrest is raw and will need a team to be patience with him as he develops into a very useful ILB at the NFL level.
Final Thoughts: Jerry Reese as always could surprise and not draft an ILB at all in the draft; and decide to either look at Free Agency or maybe like what the team already has in house with Jasper Brinkley, Uani Unga or maybe moving Devon Kennard in the middle. Regardless; the Giants need to strengthen the defensive side of the ball; whether it is through the draft or free agency or perhaps both.