MINNEAPOLIS, MN - NOVEMBER 09: Carter Coughlin #45 of the Minnesota Golden Gophers celebrates a sack in the. fourth quarter against the Penn State Nittany Lions at TCFBank Stadium on November 9, 2019 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Minnesota Golden Gophers defeated the Penn State Nittany Lions 31-26 to remain undefeated.
(Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images)

The New York Giants drafted an edge rusher a little later than most expected. What will Carter Coughlin ultimately bring to the table?

Ryan Honey

Some thought the New York Giants were going to add an edge rusher in either the second or third round of the NFL Draft after addressing the offensive tackle spot in the first. Names that floated around were Julian Okwara, Zack Baun, A.J. Epenesa, and Curtis Weaver.

But instead, Big Blue didn’t pull the trigger until the seventh round — pick No. 218 to be exact. They ultimately chose Carter Coughlin, a two-time second-team All-Big Ten selection out of the University of Minnesota.

Coughlin may end up fighting for a spot on the roster and, if he makes the team, will likely just be a reserve linebacker initially. But until then, it will be interesting to see what he’ll be able to do during the training camp and preseason periods.

With that said, let’s take a look at some of his collegiate film and get a feel for the type of player the Giants are acquiring.

Film room notes

The first set of clips is from Minnesota’s win over Auburn in the Outback Bowl on New Year’s Day 2020. Coughlin racked up five total tackles (three solo) in the matchup.

On the upcoming play, Coughlin expresses his athleticism as an edge defender by showing he’s able to drop back in coverage off the snap but still come up to make the tackle on Auburn quarterback Bo Nix.

In this next clip, Coughlin doesn’t bring down the opponent but instead exhibits his speed in order to catch up to Nix and run him out of bounds. I guess it’s necessary to mention here that Coughlin ran a 4.57-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Coughlin then puts his tackling abilities and strength on display, ultimately wrapping up Auburn running back Shaun Shivers inside the Minnesota 5-yard line.

And then in this final clip from the Auburn matchup, Coughlin uses his speedy pass-rushing abilities to force Nix out of the pocket and out of bounds for just a short gain on what was a 3rd-and-11 play.

The next set of clips is from Minnesota’s 2019 win over Purdue, a matchup in which Coughlin recorded five combined tackles (all solo) with a pair of pass breakups.

On the following play, Coughlin doesn’t rack up the sack, yet he’s able to use his speed and athleticism to catch up with Purdue quarterback Jack Plummer on what ends up becoming an incomplete pass.

With the league seemingly becoming faster and faster every single year, this speedy playstyle will be nothing but a benefit to the seventh-round selection.

He then shows off his athleticism on these next two plays, quickly reaching the backfield before jumping up and batting down a Plummer pass in both.

Giants head coach Joe Judge preaches versatility, as it will give the team flexibility in a number of different scenarios. Coughlin portrays exactly that in the upcoming clip. He actually lines up far off the line of scrimmage in more of a prevent look on 3rd-and-13 before dropping back in deep coverage.

And then finally, check out this great tackle by Coughlin, as he initially drops off before coming up to meet the running back near the line of scrimmage. He then wraps up and drives his feet until the opponent hits the turf.

Conclusion

Coughlin carries that versatility that should help him out tremendously at the next level. Yet, there are definitely things he’ll still need to work on, such as the angles he takes on certain tackle attempts.

He’d initially be a depth piece within a position group that includes Lorenzo Carter and the newly acquired Kyler Fackrell. Depth is crucial at this spot, especially with Markus Golden’s Giants future still in doubt.

If he does make the roster and impresses the coaching staff, don’t be surprised if he climbs up the depth chart. Both Carter and Fackrell have had consistency-related issues in the past. Carter has racked up just 8.5 sacks in his still-young career (two years, 30 games) and only notched .5 more sacks in 2019 than he did in 2018. Fackrell, on the other hand, recorded 10.5 sacks and 12 tackles for loss in 2018 but just one sack and two tackles for loss last year while in Green Bay.

Coughlin needs to utilize that versatility and athleticism effectively. If he does, there’s a chance the coaches, more specifically defensive coordinator Patrick Graham and outside linebackers coach Bret Bielema, keep their eyes on him moving forward.

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