The New York Giants defense is littered with a slew of young, talented playmakers. Guys like 2nd-round steal Xavier McKinney, 2019 1st-rounder Dexter Lawrence and rising sophomore Ryan Connelly quickly come to mind as players expected to man major roles on Big Blue’s defense in 2020.
Speaking of Connelly, his former high school teammate and Giants’ late-round selection from this past April, Carter Coughlin, may quickly join him among New York’s group of intriguing defenders.
Can Carter Coughlin Carve Out a Big Role in 2020?
Normally, a 7th-round pick is most worried about just making it past roster cuts, let alone stepping into a significant role in his first NFL season.
However, in Coughlin’s case, his high-end athletic traits may be too appealing for the Giants to just let him roam the sidelines during his inaugural NFL campaign. Which explains why Giants.com’s John Schmeelk zeroed in on Coughlin as a rookie who may carve out a big role on defense in 2020.
There is a lot to like about Carter Coughlin out of Minnesota. He was a team captain, has an effervescent personality, and scored well in many of the workout metrics at the NFL Combine. His 9.8 RAS (relative athletic score) puts him into the 98th percentile of athletes at linebacker. His speed and jumping scores were impressive.
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What Position Will Coughlin Play With Giants?
Coughlin is what many NFL Draft experts would deem a tweener. This is namely the reason why, despite registering 22.5 sacks over his final three collegiate seasons, he fell all the way to the final round of the NFL Draft. This also presents a major question mark of where Coughlin will play with the Giants, as well as a potential hiccup in him garnering significant snaps during his rookie season, as noted by Schmeelk.
There are things he will have to overcome. He played as an edge rusher in college, but at 6-3 and 236 pounds, he does not fit the profile of someone who plays consistently on the line of scrimmage in the NFL. What will his role be? Can he serve as an effective situational pass rusher? Or can he hone his coverage and space skills to the point where he can play off-ball inside linebacker?
In an abbreviated offseason, making those kinds of big changes will be difficult for a rookie, but Coughlin seems to have the work ethic and attitude to make it happen.
Coughlin’s athletic abilities would point to him being able to transition to an off-ball linebacker. However, with Blake Martinez, Ryan Connelly and David Mayo at the position, the best place Coughlin could make a difference on New York’s defense is playing on the edge.
While he may be a bit undersized for an every-down edge-defender, his frame is not vastly different than Los Angeles Chargers’ Melvin Ingram (6-foot-2-inches, 246-pounds).
Now, am I saying he’s the next Ingram? Absolutely not. Yet it does show that a player with Coughlin’s body type can be productive in this league.