The New York Giants need an influx of talent at the tackle position in the upcoming NFL Draft, but general manager Dave Gettleman is a firm believer in taking the best player available, which ultimately could be star defender Isaiah Simmons at 4th overall.
Simmons is one of the more polarizing prospects entering the draft. In essence, his ability to line up as a traditional linebacker in off-ball coverage and against the run is exciting for a defense that hasn’t had a diverse linebacker in years. Simmons represents an overhaul of a dead philosophy, forgoing investing a top pick in a linebacker who can solidify the middle of the defense.
However, Simmons represents much more than just a linebacker. His lankiness and speed allow him to defend in coverage against slot vertical receivers who are trying to beat the defense deep. Currently, the Giants have Julian Love and Grant Haley as suitable slot options, but Simmons could slide into that role as well. It’s not often you find a linebacker who can also play mid-high safety and slot cornerback.
Are the New York Giants setting their defense up for Isaiah Simmons?
One telling signing this offseason was Blake Martinez, who led the NFL at the linebacker position with 155 combined tackles. He’s a patient linebacker who cleans up plays well but struggled in coverage significantly at times.
Simmons seems to be the perfect fit alongside Martinez, as he can also play the run well but also shift around and keep the offense guessing. This duo could be unique, which is the only way I can justify signing Martinez. His deal isn’t significant at three-year, $30 million, but there were other options available that might have made more sense. Even pairing Ryan Connelly with Simmons might have been the more efficient move.
However, we can expect Martinez to fill a specific cleanup role. If the Giants do pass on Simmons, it will be interesting to see how the mitigate the lack of a coverage linebacker. Connelly is good but still unproven.
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