The New York Giants have added even more youth to their ever-intriguing linebacking corps, inking 23-year-old Cale Garrett to a reserve/futures contract. Originally signed by the Tennessee Titans as an undrafted free agent this past offseason, Garrett latched on with the Minnesota Vikings in September. He was ultimately released from the team’s practice squad in late October.
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Garrett Once Joined Fellow Giants LB as PFF All-SEC Selection
A former standout at the University of Missouri, Garrett carved out a sizeable role as a true freshman before becoming a full-time starter as a sophomore. In his second season with Mizzou, Garrett notched an impressive all-around stat line including 99 tackles, three sacks, two more interceptions and one forced fumble. He would go on to improve on those numbers as a junior, as the team captain earned Pro Football Focus All-SEC first-team honors for his stellar play in 2018, recording 105 total tackles.
Heading into his senior year, PFF tabbed Garrett as a preseason All-SEC first-team selection. The second-team selection at linebacker? Former Georgia Bulldog and current Giants starter, Tae Crowder.
Viewed by many as a future All-American, Garrett lived up to the billing early on in his senior campaign, earning SEC Defensive Player of the Week honors in back-to-back weeks (9/23/19 & 10/7/19) and scoring a defensive touchdown in three consecutive games.
Unfortunately, a torn pectoral tendon ended Garrett’s final season at Missouri just five games into 2019. Yet, he still managed to flaunt his diverse skillset, finishing the year as PFF’s highest-graded coverage linebacker.
Over his 41-game college career, the linebacker amassed 291 tackles, 26 tackles for loss, five sacks, six interceptions, two forced fumbles to go along with the three aforementioned defensive scores.
Giants’ Current Linebacker Situation
Garrett will join an intriguing, youthful Giants linebacker group headed by Pro Bowl snub and tackling maven Blake Martinez. The former Green Bay Packer silenced doubters during his inaugural season in East Rutherford, finishing with 151 tackles (third-most in NFL) and showing well in coverage, a skill many cast doubt on when Dave Gettleman handed Martinez a three-year $30 million deal last offseason.
Tae Crowder looks to be the early favorite to start next to Martinez next season. Last year’s Mr. Irrelevant, Crowder flaunted range and explosiveness in his rookie season that has been lacking in the Giants’ defense for what seems like ages. Crowder started six games in 2019 and was the team’s Week 6 hero against Washington, returning a fumble 43 yards for a touchdown, handing Big Blue their first victory of the year.
Beyond Crowder, you also have Carter Coughlin and Cam Brown, both of whom were used extensively on the edge in 2019. Brown, however, has the traits to also moonlight as an off-ball linebacker and possesses arguably the highest ceiling of any Giants linebacker.
Speaking of Brown’s ceiling, Giants special teams coach Thomas McGaughey, gushed over the linebacker’s upside back in October.
He’s a big, strong, physical kid who has a special skillset. I think the more plays he makes, the more confident he’ll get. The game will slow down for him. Once the game starts to slow down for him, it’s already starting to slow down on special teams. Once it starts to slow down on defense, I think the sky is the limit for the kid. The kid has a big upside. He’s a good kid and he works his tail off. I tell him all the time, I think he has $70 million walking around inside of him. It’s up to him to tap it.
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