The New York Giants are slowly but surely rebuilding their defense. They addressed two major positions of need in free agency, spending big at linebacker and cornerback. But there is still room for improvement in the linebacker corps.
The Giants might add to their linebacker room in the 2020 NFL Draft. Isaiah Simmons is a popular selection for the Giants in mock drafts. However, New York does have another linebacker on the roster that will be thrown into the mix. After missing most of the season with a torn ACL in 2019, Ryan Connelly will return in 2020. But what will his role be, coming off of a season-injury?
An Impressive Start To His Career
The New York Giants drafted inside linebacker Ryan Connelly in the fifth round of the 2019 NFL Draft. The rookie out of Wisconsin wasted no time impressing coaches and fans, playing his way into the starting lineup in Week 2.
Ryan Connelly played in four games and started three games in 2019. The rookie totaled 10 combined tackles, including 2 tackles for loss and 1 sack. On top of that, he flashed his potential in coverage, coming away with 2 interceptions and allowing only 4 receptions on 7 targets (57.1% completion) for a minimal 19 yards (4.8 yards per completion). His coverage skills could complete the Giants’ defense after they signed two run-defending inside linebackers this offseason.
A lot of Giants fans have set the bar pretty high for Ryan Connelly heading into his second season. This is unreasonable. Fans will need to temper their expectations as Connelly will basically be playing in his second rookie season. It might be a while before Ryan sees the field.
Ryan Connelly’s current injury status is unknown. His progression has not been reported on in quite some time so he cannot be penned into the starting lineup at this point. Hopefully, Connelly is healing and on track to be ready for the season, but torn ACL’s are no joke and take a long time to recover from. It is possible that Ryan Connelly will not be ready for the start of the 2020 season.
But if Ryan Connelly is ready for the 2020 season, its hard to determine what his role will be. Obviously, Blake Martinez was paid to be the Giants’ starting inside linebacker. Behind him, though, the Giants have David Mayo who started 13 games in 2019. If the Giants do decide to draft Isaiah Simmons next month, that addition would push Connelly even further down the depth chart.
Surely, after an impressive first four games of his rookie season, Ryan Connelly will get an opportunity to see the field next season. But his role will likely be limited since he is essentially still a rookie coming off of a gruesome knee injury.
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