Pat Leonard of the Daily News reports Giants linebacker Jarrad Davis underwent an undisclosed surgery and is expected to miss significant time. While Davis isn’t the biggest name even on that side of the ball and is only signed to a cheap, one-year contract, this could be a notable blow.
Davis impressed in three games last year (including both playoff games) after the Giants signed him off the Lions’ practice squad. His efforts led to the team retaining him and he was one of the favorites to earn a starting job alongside free-agent signee Bobby Okereke.
But with this injury, it looks like Darrian Beavers could get his second chance after all.
The 2022 sixth-rounder out of Cincinnati put together a highly promising rookie summer that ended with a season-ending ACL tear in preseason Week 2. And while he was always going to compete for one of the 2023 starting inside backer jobs in Wink Martindale’s defense, there was also always going to be a long road ahead.
Beavers impressed last year before going down, sure. But it was Davis and fellow 2022 draftee Micah McFadden who had more recent playing experience in this specific defense. And it was Davis who was called upon to start each of the playoff games just six months ago.
Beavers was never a surefire thing to even make the roster, let alone earn a starting job. He has just limited NFL preseason action to put to tape. But with this injury to Davis, Beavers may not only earn a roster spot but assume the middle linebacking job alongside the weakside backer Okereke — a potential big turn of events after a lost 2022 campaign.
Will Beavers actually win the job?
If he impresses enough during camp and preseason, I think he has the inside track in spite of McFadden’s superior experience. This regime drafted McFadden in last year’s fifth round but seemed to lose trust in him down the stretch.
After seeing an expanded role during the middle of the year, McFadden earned less than half the defensive reps in four of the final five regular-season games. The Giants then made him inactive for either playoff game, favoring the likes of Davis, Jaylon Smith, and a hybrid safety-linebacker in Landon Collins.
Unless McFadden shows significant improvement this summer, Beavers should have a decent chance to win the job. The Giants will probably sign additional depth as well though. While Cam Brown and Carter Coughlin are also on the roster, they’re mainly special teamers.
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