Giants Showing Interest in Ex-Pro Bowl Steelers Linebacker

Joe Schobert

Getty Joe Schobert makes a tackle while playing for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The New York Giants are on the lookout for linebacker talent on the free-agent agent market as the team announced the practice squad signing of Jaylon Smith, which prompted the release of KC McDermott.

New York also tried out 11 players on Tuesday, which includes Smith.

According to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, the Giants worked out long snappers Kameron Canaday, Mitchell Fraboni and Steve Wirtel, offensive tackle Justin Skule, linebackers Jermaine Carter, Sam Kamara, Marquel Lee and Joe Schobert, defensive back Michael Griffin and defensive end Jeremiah Ledbetter. The Giants also worked out Smith, who ended up signing with the team.

Of the 11 players that worked out for New York, four of them were linebackers. Out of the four linebackers that participated in a tryout, Schobert is the most noteworthy.

Schobert’s Resume

Schobert is a six-year veteran and has played for three teams since being a 4th-round pick of the Cleveland Browns in the 2016 Draft (No. 99 overall). In 2021, he starred for the Pittsburgh Steelers, appearing in 16 games and posting 112 tackles and an interception — his fifth consecutive season with at least 100 tackles. The year prior, he played with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

He had a Pro Bowl season in 2017, posting a career-high 144 total tackles. The Wisconsin product failed to record a sack in 2021 after nabbing at least one sack in the previous five years. Last season, Schobert allowed 380 yards in coverage across 39 receptions and a touchdown while giving up a 68.4% reception rate.

The 27-year-old worked out for the Saints in June and the Broncos in July before signing a contract with Denver in mid-August, only to get cut a week later.

In 93 regular-season games, Schobert has recorded 661 tackles (406 solo), with 23 tackles for loss, 11 sacks, 26 quarterback hits, 10 interceptions, 10 forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries, according to Pro Football Reference.

Giants LBs Could Use Reinforcements

The Giants are 2-0 and have only given up 36 points in those games. While the team’s linebackers haven’t hurt the team, the group also isn’t the team’s strength.

New York decided to release two-year started Blake Martinez before the season, which left uncertainty in the position group under new defensive coordinator Don Martindale. Tae Crowder is the team’s top off-ball linebacker and has just nine tackles in the first two games. Unproven defenders Austin Calitro and rookie Micah McFadden are also on the linebacker depth chart.

It’s no surprise the Giants are looking at the market for options two weeks into the season. Martindale moved free safety Xavier McKinney into the box against the Carolina Panther in the team’s Week 2 win.

With question marks at the linebacker position, Smith, who’s on the Giants practice squad, has starting experience and could be a player to keep an eye on moving forward.

Giant Given Week 2 Award

Giants kicker Graham Gano was given the NFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors for his Week 2 performance in Sunday’s victory over the Carolina Panthers.

Gano converted four field goals of 36, 33, 51 and 56 yards, the 56-yarder being the game-decider. His 56-yard field goal is also tied for the second longest on record in Giants franchise history with Ali Haji-Sheikh, who nailed a 56-yarder twice in 1983.

The 35-year-old veteran is entering his third season with New York. This is the fourth time in his career that Gano has won the Player of the Week award, and the second time in two years he’s won it as a Giant.

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