Excerpt: "The New York Giants defense faces a major question mark at the middle linebacker position that must be addressed before the start of next season. Starter Chase Blackburn is an unrestricted free agent this offseason, and General Manager Jerry Reese must decide whether to resign him or look at other options for a middle linebacker whether it comes from a player already on their roster, free agency or the draft.
Despite being touted as on of the teams' deepest units, last season's linebacker squad anchored a Giants defense that ranked 31st allowing 6,134 yards. The defense also ranked 28th in the passing game (254.3 yards per game), and 25th against the run (129.1 yards per game). The team may suffer the same results again unless some type of upgrade is made.
Blackburn, who will be 30-years-old before the start of next season, was the starter in 23 of the last 25 games. Though Blackburn gave the Giants some consistency at the position with 98 tackles, it didn't seem he was able to make the key play when the team needed it like he was able to the season before. The player with most experience after him on the Giants roster is undrafted free agent Mark Herzlich. The Giants made it clear he was being groomed to be their future at linebacker, but in his limited opportunities, Herzlich's performance left something to be desired.
The Giants have several other youngsters who they could fill in at middle linebacker in Jacquian Williams and Spencer Paysinger. Williams, a second-year player drafted out of South Florida by the Giants, showed promise at times but battled injuries all season. The Giants also sent a fifth-round pick to the Cincinnati Bengals for Keith Rivers who also has issues staying healthy. The other option currently on the roster is Michael Boley, who saw his playing time inexplicably diminish." Read more...