The New York Giants were burned by the Chicago Bears in the 2016 NFL Draft. The latter traded up to select New York’s prized linebacker prospect, Leonard Floyd. In 2017, Temple LB Haason Reddick and Pittsburgh DE/LB Ejuan Price could fill the role the Giants had planned for Floyd, though they come in a much smaller package.
Last year, New York had its eyes on a pass rusher that could be moved around the field. He got taken in front of the Giants, leading them to settle for defensive back Eli Apple. They were hoping to use Floyd in a variety of ways, from being a SAM linebacker to being a stand-up defensive end on passing downs. But just because they missed out in last year’s draft doesn’t mean they should give up on acquiring that type of player.
Temple’s Haason Reddick and Pitt’s Ejuan Price can fill that role perfectly. They both have pass-rush experience and can be moved around due to their size. A team could use Reddick in almost any role: inside linebacker, outside linebacker, or even a blitzing backer on third downs. He is great in coverage and is proven at the position.
Price is a better pass rusher than Reddick. He could probably settle into a SAM linebacker role too, though, due to his size and quickness. Both players were defensive ends for their respective schools, while showing versatility. Given that both are under 6’2″ and 250 lbs, versatility is a must.
That size essentially makes them tweeners to NFL scouts. Tweener implies that they are too big for one position, but too small for another. This is generally a bad thing, but in their cases, it is not. Both players have already shown the versatility necessary to move around the field to different positions. This flexibility will be invaluable to the Giants. They may need replacements all along the defensive front seven, as Jason Pierre-Paul, among others, could leave through free agency. If that happens, the team will need a boost to its pass rush.
While it is likely Price will not be selected in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft, he is a viable option in the third-to-fifth round area. Reddick, on the other hand, could be off the board by the end of the first round. In any event, New York will go to various lengths to obtain a player in the Floyd mold who can strengthen its defense even further for the 2017 season.