Giants still need depth at middle linebacker

This week the New York Giants were able to breathe a sigh of relief when it was reported that Jon Beason would not require surgery on his foot and could be ready to go by the middle of training camp. Even with the good news on the injury front, it may be a sign that the Giants should look to add more depth at the linebacker position.

It looked like New York Giants middle linebacker Jon Beason was headed to the surgery room yet again, this time for a broken foot. Earlier this week though, Beason got some good news from the doctors that he will not need surgery on his foot, and could be ready to be back on the Giants practice field by the middle of training camp. This was great news for Big Blue, which thought it lost Beason for possibly the first quarter or even half of the season, but it does tell the team it may need some more depth at the linebacker position, especially at the inside linebacker spot.

Right now the Giants have only two true players on their roster that can play mike linebacker in Mark Herzlich and free signing agent Jameel McClain. Herzlich has shown, throughout his time with the Giants that he cannot be an every down middle linebacker. He is terrible in pass defense and is only good in running or goal line situation. McClain, on the other hand, can be an every down player at any linebacker position.

During his time with Baltimore, McClain showed he can play the run and pass especially well and can be a good blitzing linebacker up the middle or off the edge. McClain was a great signing for the Giants this past offseason, but their goal was to play McClain at the strong side linebacker spot not in the middle, so the Giants need to plug someone in now at the same spot for right now.

Right now New York only has three other linebackers on the roster in Spencer Paysinger, Jacquian Williams and Devon Kennard. Currently, Paysinger and Williams are battling it out for the weak side linebacker position, but both players are not really an every down linebacker or even great picks for that position. Paysinger is only good against the run and is a liability in the passing game. Williams, because of his speed, is decent in the passing game and can blitz off the edge, but is a below average tackler and is bad at shedding blocks in the run game. Kennard, on the other hand, is one of the Giants fifth round picks in this year's draft out of USC. He has been reported, by Giants coaches, to be too raw and needs time to develop into a starter in the NFL. It's clear that the Giants should add some depth at the linebacker position.

It won't hurt maybe to bring back a player like Michael Boley, who helped the Giants in their run to win the Super Bowl over two years. Boley can be a great fit as a strong side linebacker. When McClain moves back from the middle and when Beason is back healthy, he can be a great backup as well as a possible fit at the weak side linebacker spot. The Giants, though, do have another option on their roster to play at outside linebacker, in their other fifth round pick, Safety Nat Berhe. Berhe, during his time at San Diego State, played linebacker and could be great fit at weak side linebacker during passing downs.

The other option for the Giants is to sign a player who can be a middle linebacker. Yes, I know Beason will be back, probably before the regular season begins, but he is coming off another significant injury. When New York traded for him last season, it got him only for a seventh round pick because the Carolina Panthers thought his career was over because he never came close to being the player he once was after tearing his Achilles in 2011.

So who knows how well Beason will play coming back from this injury. Adding another middle linebacker may not be a bad idea for the Giants. Giving a call to London Fletcher to come out of retirement to play is worth the call. Also signing a middle linebacker like Joe Mays isn't a bad idea either. He can man the middle linebacker position while Beason is out and when Beason comes back he can be a better backup option for the Giants then Herzlich.

At the end of the day, the Giants will make the decisions on what they feel their team needs, but it's pretty evident the Giants need more depth at the linebacker position.


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