Giants 2016 Draft Preview: Will Reese draft a linebacker with the 10th pick
By Michael Stewart
The New York Giants haven’t drafted a Linebacker since 1984 (Carl Banks), so why would this year be any different! Well, there’s three reasons; Myles Jack (UCLA), Darron Lee (Ohio State) and Leonard Floyd (Georgia).
All three Linebackers could be available when the Giants select at No. 10 and Jerry Reese finally might be tempted to draft a Linebacker in the 1st round. The Giants defense ranked near the bottom in 2015 and despite the re-signing of Jason Pierre-Paul, (MLB) Jasper Brinkley, the additions of (DE) Oliver Vernon, (CB) Janoris Jenkins, (MLB) Keenan Robinson and (DT) Damon Harrison; the Giants are far from done addressing the defensive side of the ball.
Reese needs to give Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo weapons and thus far; he has done that but not a linebacker.
Myles Jack (UCLA) 6’1/245: Arguably the best Linebacker in the draft and most likely will be selected within the 1st 5 picks of the draft. However; history has seen many top 5 prospects slip and maybe this will be the case with Jack.
If so, GM Reese will have to select this playmaking Linebacker with the 10th overall pick and give the Giants a player who will be a force in the NFL. Jack has all the bells and whistles NFL teams covet and if not for a knee injury (Torn Meniscus last September); Jack might be mentioned as the 1st overall pick in the draft.
His pure athleticism stands out during the game and could be the second coming of Lawrence Taylor. Jack has the agility and speed to be a 3 down Linebacker, as he is effective against the run and pass. His style of play is perfectly suited for a 4-3 defensive scheme (which the Giants employ) and versatility on the field will make any team drafting him better. Many mock drafts have Jack going to the Cowboys with the 4th overall pick, or to the Eagles at No. 8. Odds are very high that Jack’s name is called before the Giants select; Reese can only hope for a miracle.
Darron Lee (Ohio State) 6’1/232: Lee has the least amount of experience than the other two at Linebacker; as he has only two full seasons. Lee is an explosive tackler and plays at only one speed on the field. Reads plays well and fills the holes quickly to make the play. Lee is equally successful in rushing the quarterback, stopping the run or in pass coverage. His durability is a major plus and his long arms is a trait that GM Jerry Reese coverts. Lee’s endless motor and mind-set is a perfect fit at the NFL level. GM Jerry Reese might be tempted if Lee is available at No. 10.
Leonard Floyd (Georgia) 6’6/248: Floyd is the most intriguing Linebacker projected to go in the 1st round. The rangy backer can play equally well from a 2-point stance or a 3-point stance in the NFL. Many scouts believe that would ever draft’s this hybrid LB/DE will be utilized in that fashion. Floyd can lineup at all three Linebacker spots on the field and also as DE along the line and cause problems against opposing teams.
At 6’6, Floyd could easily add 15 to 20 pounds to his frame and still maintain his speed and quickness. Floyd has possesses extremely strong hands; which he uses effectively and his burst of speed off the edge is very deceptive due to his lanky frame. Only concern for the Giants is that Floyd played mostly in a 3-4 scheme and may not be able to succeed in a 4-3 scheme. The Giants envision Floyd to be a LB/DE at the NFL level that will create mis-matching along the line of scrimmage and a dominate play making machine.
Final Thoughts: The Giants still have many needs to fill despite the recent signings in free agency. With only 6 picks in the draft, Reese really needs to be careful and select wisely. Selecting a linebacker in the 1st round might not be the best move, but it will be very tempting not to pass up on draft day.