As we head into free agency and the draft, every other word out of the mouth of everyone who comments is either LBer or Wide Receiver. Let’s look at the drafting of WRs and LBers in the first two rounds from 1996 on. (Why first two rounds? Because those are the consistent producers who make the impact.)
2- Amani Toomer (1996)
1- Ike Hilliard (1997)
2- Joe Jurevicius (1998)
2- Tim Carter (2002)
2- Sinorice Moss (2006)
2- Steve Smith (2007)
none. zippo. nada. zero.
Six versus zero. Yep.
We have had discussions about the Linebacker trends in the NFL. The change in NFL rules certainly makes passing easier, making WRs more important(?) and LBers less so (as they play more nickel vs 3 receiver sets etc..), but does it mean that LBer is less important? Try telling that to LaMarr Woodley and James Harrison.
Every time we have to worry about Gilbrown, the reason why is that chickenbrown takes no responsibility for winning games. Why does Gilbrown matter in going after LBers? Because the Giants lost their identity as a strong defensive team ages ago. If your team doesn’t have the offensive will to attack, it NEEDS to hold opponents TO NO SCORING AND SHUT’EM DOWN. Ya think that maybe the Giants lost their defensive identity when they stopped drafting LBers? Ya think that maybe we wouldn’t be getting torched on these 3rd and 20’s when we have a FAST and talented LB around who is going to have a nose for the ball and make the play? Spagnuolo outsourced LBer because he had no choice. Wilkinson+Goff+Kehl+Blackburn+Clark = schtickdreck. And Pierce’s overachieving tank (31 this coming October) is running low.
Now I can hear how many of you are saying: but Andy, we had a great defense last year, and that is how we won the Super Bowl. Incorrect. We had a great defensive line that played out of their minds in the Super Bowl, Belichick was outcoached, Spagnuolo used smoke and mirrors, and Tyree caught a pass off his helmet. I still watch as Pierce is trailing Ben Watson in the end zone, gets called for the pass interference, and NE scores. Pierce. Pierce and Barrow. If not for these two free agent pickups we would truly have browned for ~8 years. (..and do not get me started with the miracle of Armstead in the 8th round or else you’re talking a lot longer than that.) This Linebacker neglect is defining the team. It lacks the glue holding the promise of the secondary (Webster!, Phillips, Thomas, Ross?) together with the stars of the DL (Tuck, Umenyiora). ADD YOUNG FAST IMPACT LINEBACKER, STIR AND MIX, LEAVE IN OVEN FOR ONE SEASON, DOMINANT DEFENSE. The Giants have a #1 and two #2’s. Use TWO of those three picks on LBer. And stop worrying about WR because Gilbrown browns and will waste his offense anyway. Defense wins championships. Draft with defense for the first 5 picks, no arguments here.
Kanavis McGhee 1991. Carl Banks 1984. Frightening.