The New York Giants drafted Cam Brown in this year’s sixth round, but time will only tell in regards to what his first season will entail.
The final pair of this year’s draft rounds encompassed a plethora of linebackers to choose from, and the New York Giants took advantage. From the sixth round’s commencement to the seventh round’s conclusion, Big Blue selected a total of four linebackers, the first of which was Penn State’s Cam Brown (round six, pick No. 183).
He’ll certainly be a depth piece for right now; Blake Martinez and David Mayo will potentially start with Ryan Connelly not too far behind the latter of the two. But Brown could still very well be in the mix for playing time, as he seemingly possesses more talent than fellow rookie linebackers T.J. Brunson and Tae Crowder.
The training camp and preseason periods still need to come and go before we can really witness how much playing time Brown earns in the regular season. But until then, let’s look at three possible scenarios for the young linebacker when it comes to how his rookie campaign will fare.
The initial scenario we’ll discuss sees Brown as a primary special teams weapon. Considering he’s a sixth-round first-year player, this scenario seems the most probable.
Brown may not be talented or experienced enough to start right away. Nonetheless, he possesses proper tackling fundamentals and could portray this strength on special teams in hopes of impressing the coaching staff. Not to mention, this would be something that catches Joe Judge‘s eye, and you know for a fact the current head coach and former special teams coordinator will focus some of his attention on this facet of the game.
If Judge likes what he sees, don’t be surprised if Brown’s defensive rep total suddenly undergoes a surge.
The second scenario has newly hired defensive coordinator Patrick Graham plugging Brown in on passing downs.
We know Big Blue doesn’t exactly employ a star pass rusher. Markus Golden (who should be with the Giants in 2020 if he doesn’t sign elsewhere by the start of training camp) is productive, but nowhere near a star. With that said, the Giants will likely go with a “pass rush by committee” approach and use guys like Golden, Lorenzo Carter, Kyler Fackrell, Oshane Ximines, and rookie Carter Coughlin.
But why not add Brown to the mix as well?
Over the last two years, Brown racked up a combined four sacks and 12 tackles for loss for the Nittany Lions, proving he carries the ability to reach the backfield and make a difference. In the upcoming pair of videos, he shows off these strengths by pressuring the opposing quarterback into throwing the ball away.
And even if the Giants don’t want to send Brown on the blitz, they could disguise it and actually have him drop back into coverage. The 6-foot-5 linebacker notched 10 pass breakups combined over his final two years at Penn State.
Regardless of what the Giants decide to do with Brown on passing situations, they need all the help they can get in both the pass-rushing and pass-defending departments. Cam could certainly provide assistance in either area.
And finally, New York may also use the 22-year-old rookie as an extra body in short-yardage situations.
During his days in Happy Valley, Brown succeeded in the run-stopping department, portraying strength, aggression, and as previously mentioned, an effective technique when wrapping up and bringing down the ball carrier.
The Giants could use someone who possesses these qualities on the goal line or just on general short-yardage plays.
Brown recorded 72 total tackles (29 solo) throughout his 2019 senior campaign and additionally 63 total tackles (41 solo) the season prior.
A goal line defense that includes him, Martinez (who’s a tackling machine and recorded 155 combined in 2019), Mayo (who finished second on the team last year with 82 combined tackles), Dexter Lawrence, Dalvin Tomlinson, and Leonard Williams could definitely become successful.
There’s no doubt in my mind the Giants will find some sort of spot for Brown this upcoming year, considering the young player possesses the trait that Judge loves to see: versatility. Don’t be surprised if a special teams role is primarily in his short-term future though. Without an in-person rookie camp, minicamp, or OTAs this offseason amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Brown may need more time to get accustomed to the league.
But once he does, the Giants will surely have a number of ways to truly utilize him.