Giants Hosting Former Pro Bowl Linebacker: Report

Deion Jones

Getty Images Could linebacker Deion Jones find a new home in New York?

More linebacking help could be on its way to East Rutherford. 

The New York Giants hosted linebacker Deion Jones for a free agent visit on April 3 and 4, according to NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport. The 28-year-old Jones played for the Cleveland Browns last season after his first six seasons with the Atlanta Falcons. 

Jones has an opportunity to extend an up-and-down career in New York. 

He shined as a rookie out of LSU in 2016, scoring two of his five career defensive touchdowns. In 2017 — the Falcons’ latest Super Bowl season — he tallied 137 total tackles en route to a Pro Bowl nod. 

Jones’ career his a snag in Cleveland, though. Pro Football Focus handed him a 48.3 overall grade for his performance over 11 games. He notched only 44 tackles, the lowest mark of his career.

New York could provide Jones a spot to bounce back. Big Blue is still shopping at linebacker, despite adding Bobby Okereke on a four-year, $40 million deal earlier this offseason. And Jones’ speed and coverage ability make him a fit in defensive coordinator Wink Martindale’s subpackage-heavy scheme. 

It wouldn’t hurt to take a flier on a former star — especially after a season in which the Giants signed and started players like Jarrad Davis, Landon Collins, and Jaylon Smith off the street. 

Bobby Okereke ‘Set To Become A Star’ For Giants

Okereke is ready to become a franchise centerpiece in New York. 

So says Bleacher Report’s Gary Davenport, who named the Giants’ new linebacker as one of eight defenders added in free agency who are poised for 2023 stardom. 

“Last year with the Indianapolis Colts, the 26-year-old piled up a career-high 151 tackles and nearly posted 100 solo (tackles),” Davenport wrote. “It marked the second season in a row in which Okereke topped 130 total stops.”

Davenport added: “There’s quite a bit of difference between playing in the shadow of Shaquille Leonard in a small market like Indianapolis and being the No. 1 off-ball linebacker for a team in one of the largest media markets in the world. And the four-year veteran said he’s looking forward to showcasing what he can do.”

Martindale must be looking forward to it as well.

He joined the Ravens as a linebackers coach in 2012 — the final year of Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Lewis’ career. He also coached up linebackers like C.J. Mosley, Matt Judon, and Za’Darius Smith in the years before he became defensive coordinator in New York.

He must like what he saw from Okereke in Week 17, when the Stanford product tallied 17 tackles and a forced fumble at MetLife Stadium against the Giants. 

“Everything just kind of came together that game, honestly,” Okereke told the team’s official website. “Obviously, I kind of knew how well the Giants were playing at that time in the year. Playing against Saquon (Barkley) and Daniel Jones, I knew the challenge I had. Had a really good week of preparation and coming into the game, just the feel and the atmosphere in the stadium – now it’s a blessing that I get to be a part of it.”

Freaky Delaware Prospect Buchanan To Attend Giants Local Pro Day

Big Blue’s looking at the upcoming NFL draft to round out its linebacking corps, too. 

Delaware linebacker Johnny Buchanan will attend the Giants’ local pro day, according to The Draft Network’s Ryan Fowler. The Brick, N.J. native led the FCS with 150 tackles last season before wowing scouts with his Pro Day numbers. 

Buchanan had five games with at least 15 tackles for the Blue Hens last season. The 6-foot, 230-pound prospect also added 1.5 sacks, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery.

New York currently owns four picks in the final two rounds of the draft, making Buchanan a potential draft gem for general manager Joe Schoen to uncover.

Buchanan certainly sounds like someone who’d understand the “Giants Way” right away, too.

“The team that signs me will be getting a player that lives football 24/7,” he told NFL Draft Diamonds in October 2022. “They will be getting someone that prepares like a true professional and always works hard… I am someone that will always be a great locker room guy and always represent my team in a positive way. I also bring the ability to lead a group of men and help build/uphold the standard of an organization.”

Read More