Well, that was quick.
Signed to the practice squad earlier in the week, the New York Giants have announced they are elevating linebacker Benardrick McKinney to their game-day roster. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the plan is that McKinney will play on Sunday vs. the Carolina Panthers.
Joining McKinney on the active roster are wideout David Sills and defensive tackle David Moa. The latter was activated from the practice squad, while Sills has been signed as a free agent from the practice squad.
Tae Crowder Could Be Late Scratch
Linebacker Tae Crowder was a late add to the team’s Week 7 injury report on Saturday. The defensive starter is now listed as questionable due to a thigh injury. Crowder has donned the green dot for the Giants’ defense, manning the defensive play-calling duties in the wake of Blake Martinez’s season-ending knee injury.
Crowder ranks second on the team with 45 tackles and has logged 100% of the team’s defensive snaps over the past three weeks. Yet, while potentially losing Crowder’s services would be a major blow based on limited personnel and compiling injuries, the Georgia product has been a massive liability in pass coverage this season and his play against the run hasn’t been much better. Through six games, Crowder has earned a mere 33.5 overall grade per Pro Football Focus (79th out of 83 eligible linebackers) while allowing a 76.2% completion percentage to opposing quarterbacks.
As things currently sit, McKinney is likely head-and-shoulders above the slew of underwhelming inside backers the Giants have at their disposal. With that said, it’s unlikely the former Houston Texans standout dominates snaps in his first game action of the season. Expect a heavy workload for Reggie Ragland, who has started each of the past three games next to Crowder. Converted outside linebacker Carter Coughlin and the recently activated Cam Brown could also factor into the mix.
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What the Giants Are Getting in McKinney
The Giants have made plenty of win-now moves for a team that continues to flounder in the NFL cellars. The addition of McKinney is not one of those moves. Taking a low-risk flyer on a former Pro Bowler (2018) and second-team All-Pro (2016) selection is the type of suave move that has readily eluded the Giants in recent memory.
Checking in at 6-foot-4-inches and 257-pounds, McKinney is a bruiser who’s done the majority of his damage in run defense over his six-year career. Yet, he’s also flashed as pass-rushing presence at times thanks in large part to his length. In 80 regular-season games (77 starts), the former second-round pick has compiled 525 tackles (312 solo) and 11.5 sacks.
The 28-year-old inked a massive five-year, $50 million extension with Houston in 2018. He registered back-to-back 100-plus tackle campaigns from 2018 through 2019. However, a shoulder injury limited him to just four games in 2020. This offseason he was dealt to the Miami Dolphins alongside a 2021 seventh-round pick in exchange for pass-rusher Shaq Lawson and a 2021 sixth-rounder. However, the ‘Phins released McKinney on August 31st prior to the start of the regular season.
Is McKinney still the Pro Bowl-caliber talent he was during his Houston days? Miami certainly didn’t think so. However, for a Giants defense in desperate need of playmakers at the linebacker position, it’s worth taking the time to come to their own conclusion.
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