The New York Giants have unquestioned concerns on the edge of their defense. Markus Golden, Big Blue’s leader in sacks from 2019 and the first Giant to record double-digit sacks in a season since 2014, remains unsigned. To fill the void left behind by Golden, New York inked ex-Packers free-agent Kyler Fackrell to a deal, although his meager single sack from last year leaves much to be desired.
There’s also Oshane Ximines, who some believe has the potential to become the “Next King of New York“. However, no matter how you slice it, getting after the quarterback will likely remain somewhat of an issue for a Giants team that has averaged out as the 26th-worst pass-rushing defense in football over the past two seasons. That is, unless they can find sack production from other outlets.
Will the Giants Play Cam Brown on the Edge?
When the Giants drafted Penn State’s Cam Brown in the 6th-round of April’s 2020 NFL Draft many believed the team found themselves a rotational off-ball linebacker with high-end upside as a special teamer.
While that may ultimately be the case, Brown’s freakish measurements point towards him potentially having a vastly greater impact on Big Blue’s defense, most intriguingly, as a pass-rusher. This is a notion that Giants.com’s John Schmeelk recently touched on when dissecting whether Brown could have an “important role” in 2020.
The Giants drafted Cam Brown in the sixth round out of Penn State, where he was primarily a strong side 4-3 linebacker. It is a position that does not necessarily match the scheme most think coordinator Patrick Graham will utilize in his base defense. That doesn’t there won’t be a role for Brown.
Perhaps he can set the edge and be a pass rusher on early downs as a 3-4 outside linebacker. Maybe his length will allow him to be a three down inside linebacker off the ball. Because of his 6-5 size and 34-inch arms, he could develop into a situational pass rusher. I am anxious to see how Graham uses his Brown’s skillset.
Brown will certainly have the chance to play a prominent role on special teams. With his size, length and athleticism, he should make an impact right away.
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A ‘Culture Driver’ With Versatility
Brown manning multiple roles on New York’s defense wouldn’t differ much from his college career at Penn State. Brown played every linebacker position (Mike, Will and Sam) at some point throughout his time with the Nittany Lions. His head coach during that time, James Franklin, accounts Brown’s “smarts” and “unusually long” frame as keys to his versatility.
It’s interesting because the reason coaches like speed and the reason coaches like length is, you know you talk about the football field, the width of it is 53 1/3 (yards), what you try to do is you’re trying to reduce space. You’re trying to take away space, and you can do that with your speed and athleticism, and you can do that with size. When you get a guy that has a little bit of both, then obviously it makes those throwing lanes for the quarterback more difficult.
Whether or not Brown will carve out a role on New York’s defense in 2020 remains to be seen. With that said, his 6-foot-5-inch, 78 7/8-inch wingspan will almost certainly help him get a look as a rotational pass-rusher early on. Until then, chances are Brown will make his presence felt mostly in the Giants’ locker room, as noted by Franklin.
He’s a culture driver. We talk about that all the time. He’s a guy that is going to have meetings with the coaches then be able to take that information down into the locker room. He plays aggressive, he plays violent, he throws his body around. Yeah, I think he’s what coaches are looking for. Everything I know about Coach Judge and everything I know about the organization that he came from, he’s going to align with that. He understands this is about production, it’s about doing your job. It’s not about all the hype, it’s not about the things you say in the media, it’s not about any of those things. It’s about doing your job and being a high-production, low-maintenance guy.