New York Giants Draft: OLB prospects

Historically, Jerry Reese has never drafted a LBer in the 1st round as the Giants GM. So I will not expect him to do so in the 2016 draft. In fact, the earliest drafted LBer by Reese was in the 2009 draft of Clint Sintim out of Virginia. Although Sintim was listed as a OLB coming out of the draft, he mostly played from a 3 point stance in a 3-4 defensive scheme in college, so should that really count? I will assume that Reese will stay true and refrain from drafting a LBer in the 1st two rounds and focus on OLB who could be available starting from the 3rd round through the 5th round. Below will be four of 8 OLB that could be on the Giants wish list.

Deion Jones (OLB) LSU 6’1/219: Projected 3rd round/Undersized, but plays larger than that.  Jones has instinctive ability and the range to be a 3 down OLB at the NFL level.  Jones can carry 235lbs on his frame without losing his speed and quickness. Jones would be an excellent mid round selection for the Giants to strengthen their LBer corp.

Jordan Jenkins (OLB) Georgia 6’3/257: 3rd round projection/ a hybrid edge rusher, Jenkins played in both a two- and three-point stance in Georgia’s base 3-4 scheme and was listed as a linebacker at the Senior Bowl. He is an athletic mover who can get up field quickly with burst, using his heavy hands to extend and beat up blockers with his limbs. Jenkins is best attacking the pocket, but at linebacker, his change of direction skills and awareness will be challenged in space. Not regarded as a pure pass rusher, Jenkins skill set is more balanced as he is not dominant in one area, but steady in many.

Karmalei Correa (OLB) Boise State 6’3/245: Late 3rd to early 4th round pick/While a bit undersized to remain as a full-time 4-3 defensive end, Correa could intrigue teams looking for a versatile edge defender, as he possesses an explosive burst to rush the quarterback as well as the flexibility and awareness to handle coverage duties. A terrific athlete expected to impress in workouts, Correa could transition well from a DE in college to an OLB in the NFL. Once again, another mid round pick that could pay dividends down the road.

Eric Striker (OLB) Oklahoma 5’11/228: Under sized OLB who excels in open space. Played in a 3-4 scheme at Oklahoma and could have difficulties playing in a 4-3 defense; which the New York Giants use. However; could be worth the gamble as a mid round selection as he reminds a lot of people of Jesse Armstead.  Striker excelled in open space; which utilized his athletic ability and speed to make plays.

Final Thoughts: Again, I only focused on the top 4 OLB who are projected as mid round prospects based on the history of Jerry Reese and OLB in the draft. Perhaps Reese surprises us and selects a OLB within the 1st two rounds. If so, players like Myles Jack, Darren Lee, Jaylon Smith, Joshua Perry, Leonard Floyd, Su’a Cravens or Kyler Fackrell could be available. Next article with feature the next 4 OLB prospects in the mid rounds.

By Michael Stewart | Featured Columnist