Ignoring the LBer Position May Have Finally Caught Up With Reese
By Michael Stewart @golferbad
Currently, the Giants only have B.J Goodson signed beyond this season as projected starters Jonathan Castillas and Devon Kennard will become free agents; along with Keenan Robinson, Mark Herzlich and J.T homas as well. With no other Lbers currently on the roster to replace at least the two starters in Castillas and Kennard, will GM Jerry Reese decide to re-sign them if they have a solid 2017 season? Or will he decide to go in a different direction?
GM Jerry Reese has historically ignored the LBer position during his tenure as the Giants GM as he has had plenty of opportunities to draft a LBer within the 1st three rounds of the draft. By not doing so, it may have finally caught up with him. Reese could have addressed this issue most recently in the 2017 draft as he could have selected Vanderbilt LBer Zach Cunningham in the 2nd round instead of DT Dalvin Tomlinson. The need to replace Jonathan Hankins was an importance for the Giants, however; the depth of the DT position should have been a major consideration for Reese to draft the talented Cunningham who could play all three LBer positions.
It is very unlikely that the Giants re-sign all of their impending FA LBers, however; it’s possible that they will re-sign at least one of them and who that is currently is still unclear. Also, unclear is who would Reese replace them with based on the current FA list for 2018 as notable names such as Thomas Davis and Ahmad Brooks are expecting to demand top dollar and certainly not within the Giants cap. Lower tier OLBS such as Alex Okafor, Barkevious Mingo, Alec Ogletree and Courtney Upshaw could be attainable for the right price, however; would they be an upgrade?
Also, another route of course for Reese to take is through the 2018 draft. Currently, based on the early prospect evaluations there will be depth at the outside linebacker position in the 2018 draft led by Malik Jefferson out of Texas who will most likely go within the top 10. However; after him GM Jerry Reese should be able to find a very capable OLB to start immediately at either side.
It’s way too early to project who that might be, but not too early to suggest that the upcoming draft could finally see GM Jerry Reese drafting a LBer early, perhaps not in the 1st round, but possibly in round 2. As this season unfolds, we should get a clearer picture on what Reese might do in the off season. My guess is that if both Castillas and Kennard play well, Kennard would be the likely candidate to return based purely on his contract value.