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Do the Giants already have a Stud LB on their roster?

Sometimes looking back at the past can help predict the future. Obviously it is not a gurantee of furture success, but I think it can be sometimes reliable. Last year I wrote an article titled Do the Giants Already Have a Number 1 WR on Their Roster?  In which I predicted that based on my limited research that it should be expected stastically that the Giants already have a #1 WR on their roster based on how many draft picks they used on WR in the first three rounds of the draft.

I said that based on what the stats showed:

There is about 12 percent of players who are studs. 12 percent of  WR players who are not studs but are number one WR’s. There’s about another 21 percent who are serviceable players- 5 percent of players are derailed by injuries/off-field problems.

Essentially 25 percent of WR drafted in the first three rounds are #1 WR, about 45 percent of WR drafted in the first three round are serviceable N.F.L. players and about 50 percent are busts.

But that was dealing with players who were drafted in the first three rounds?

What about at the LB and what about drafted in rounds 4-6 (which all of the Giants linebackers  whom are vying for the MLB were drafted in).

Again let’s take a look at the numbers. It is often said that it is not until the third year of an N.F.L. career that players can showcase whether or not they are going to be N.F.L. players.

So let’s eliminate players from 2009, 2008, and 2007.

We will use a four year period: the years of 2006, 2005, 2004, and 2003. 

Now, obviously these are limited statistics and would require much higher level of analysis to get an acceptable useable statistic, but it’ll be interesting to see.

4th Round


101st overall Darnell Bing Oakland Raiders

111 Leon Williams Cleveland Browns

116 Stephen Tulloch Tennessee Titans 121 tackles 2 sacks last year

120 Jamar Williams Chicago Bears  (43 tackles last season)


125 Braddy Poppinga Green Bay Packers


97 Reggie Torbor NY Giants (was  DE Giants played him at LB)

98 Shaun Phillips San Diego Chargers

101 Demorrio Williams Atlanta Falcons (2 seasons with over a 115 tackles)

107 Kendyll Pope Indinapolis Colts

116 Nike Koutovides Seattle Seahawks

127 Richard Seigler San Francisco 49ers

130 Brandon Chillar Rams (solid unspectacular player)


103 Bradie James Dallas Cowboys

112 Matt Wilhelm

135 Solomon bates Seattle Seahawks

5th Round


137 Terna Nande  Tennessee Titans

142 Brandon Johnson

151 Tim Dobbins San Diego Chargeres

157 A.J. Nicholson Cinncinnait Bengals

160 Brent Hawkins Jacksonville Jaguars

168 Omar Gaither Philadelphia Eagles


138 Boomer Gingsby Kansas City Cheifs

139 David McMillian Cleveland Browns

149 Adam Sweard Carolina Panthers

154 Robert McCune Washington Redskins

160 Michael Boley Atlanta Falcons

166 Rian Wallace Pittsburgh Steelers

170 Ryan Calridge New England Patriots

173 Tyuan Hagler Indianpolis Colts



140 Alex Ball Detroit Lions

153 Rodercik Greene Baltimore Ravens

155 Rod Davis Minnesota Vikings

165 Rob Reynolds Tennessee Titans


136 Khalid Abudullah Cincinnati Bengals

144 James Davis Detroit Lions

162 Keyon Whiteside Indinapolis Colts

166 Hunter Hillenmeyer Green Bay Packers (90 tackles 2.5 sacks 4 FF) 

6th Round 


178 Keith Ellison Buffalo Bills

191 Jeremy Mincey New England Patriots


176 Nick Speegle Cleveland Browns

183 Jared Newberry Washinton Redskins

194 Pat Thomas Jacksonville Jaguars

206 Jonathan Goodard Detroit Lions

212 Ryan Riddle Oakland Raiders (one pick before QB Derek Anderson FYI)


182 Cody Spencer Oakland Raiders

196 Sean Tufts Carolina Panthers

200 Charlie Anderson Houston Texans


181 Corey Jenkins Miami Dolphins

190 Michael Nattiel Minnesota Vikings

191  Joe Odom Chicago Bears

Now let’s look at the Giants linebacker draft picks (other than Clint Sintim) currently on their roster and which round they were drafted in.

2010: Phillip Dillard 4th Round

Adrian Tracy 6th Round

Micah Johnson undrafted

Lee Campbell undrafted

2009: Kenny Ingram Undrafted

2008 Bryan Kehl 4th Round

Jonathan Goff 5th Round

2007 Zak DeOssie 4th Round

2006 Gerris Wilkinson 3rd round

Chase Blackburn undrafted

Michael Boley 2005 5th round

What does this small study show?

There were 15 linebackers drafted in the fourth round during this four year time period.

Of those 15 8 of these players are solid productive N.F.L. players (the ones who were highlighted in color)

Of the 8 there are three players who are good N.F.L. players. As in players that are good starting N.F.L. players. These three players are all capable of producing over a 100 tackles in a season.

Another player, Shaun Phillips could be considered premere player at his position. Shaun Phillips is one of the better linebackers in the league (albeit for a 3-4 defense).

Althogh, like Stephen Tulloch most of these players either took a few years to produce at the high level, or have had uneven success. Good one year down another.

In the 5th round there were a total of 22 LB drafted, of those 22 six players are solid N.F.L. players.

None of these players made Immediate impact, and none are preimere n.f.l. players, although Boley has shown some serious flahses and could be considered premire coverage linebacker.

In the 6th round there have been 13 LB drafted, of these 1 linebacker is a starting linebacker in the N.F.L

From the sixth round there is only one starter: Keith Ellison. But he starts for the Bills and he only starts because the Bills have been devastated by injuries the past few seasons.

All in all between rounds 4-6 between the years of 2003 and 2006 there were 40 linebackers drafted. Of these 40 linebackers 15 of the 45 are N.F.L. caliber players.

There are about 7 of those players who you would consider every year starters, and there is only one player who is a preimere player in the N.F.L. and that is Shuan Phillips.

Also, not suprisingly that after the fourth round the percentages of finding a good linebacker dips dramatically.

Let’s take a look at the Giants roster as it stands now.

The Giants have three linebackers drafted in the 4th round (DeOssie, Kehl, Dillard)

The Giants have four linebackers entering camp who were undrafted

The Giants have two linebackers (Boley Goff) who were drafted in the 5th round

The Giants have one linebacker drafted in the 6th round (Adrian Tracy) and one linebacker drafted in the 3rd round (Gerris Wilkinson).

The Giants have a total of 7 linebackers who were drafted from rounds 4-6 (well 6 Wilkinson was drafted in the third round).  If we can assume one out of three linebackers will be solid N.F.L players and one of those players is Michael Boley then it’s possible that there is one more out of this bunch who can play at a quality level in the N.F.L. This is without adding in Chase Blackburn and the rest of the undrafted players in the mix.

Based on this study the most likely contender would be from the players drafted in the fourth round: DeOssie, Kehl, and Dillard.

It would seem that Dillard would be the best of the bunch here because we haven’t seen enough from Kehl or DeOssie yet. But on top of this most of the fourth round or later players who are now productive were not productive out of the gate.

So if we move on to another candidate away fro Phillips on that assumption we’d probably arrive at Goff.

Maybe Goff will be the starting Middle linebacker for the NY Giants.


This is a very limited study, but it does give insight into what are commonly held beliefs about the draft. First, players drafted later than the first two or three rounds are usually projects who won’t contribute in the first year, if they ever contribute. Secondly I’ve always contended that linebackers are easier to find later in the draft than OL, WR, QB, or quality DL. And I think this shows this to be true too. Very few players after the fourth round contribue anything, but more than half of the linebackers in the fourth round in this study have shown they can play in the N.F.L. and be starters when called upon. That’s impressive.

As far as the Giants are concerned last year I came away excited about the prospects of the Wide Receivers of the Giants. There was loads of talent on the team at WR and I was certain that at LEAST one player would have a good year, and I was right.

This study does not inspire the same enthusasim. I do feel more hopeful that Phillip Dillard will eventually start in the N.F.L. but I think it would be a lot to ask for him to come in and start and be good this year, which means we might be looking at a Jonathan Goff/Michael Boley combination in the middle.

Hopefully, Goff is up for the task.

Although, I do not believe the MLB position is vital to the success of good N.F.L. teams, having a good middle linebacker never hurt.

This study also shows that the Giants are relying heavily on Clint Sintim’s contributions at Strong side linebacker, if he were to get hurt I’m not sure what the Giants would be expecting on the strong side.

I think the group highlighted above can make a solid, unspectacular contribution from the MLB, but if they have to fill two of the three LB positions it might be a tough sell to the fans and it might be a year of very poor linebacker play.

Let’s hope for the best.

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10 Responses to “Do the Giants already have a Stud LB on their roster?”

  1. Shai says:


    Solid article, but let me ask: Should it not factor in the fact that we already know that 4-5 of our LBs are not starting-quality? Kehl, DeOssie, Wilkinson, and Blackburn are, from we have seen and safely assume, are not starting-quality.

    The title says “stud LB”, but the conclusion you reach is that the Giants should have 2 “quality-level” LBs, one of which is Boley. I think Blackburn is a quality-level LB, but he’s no starter. Those could be our 2 quality-level LBs. The conclusion said only 1 of 45 (Shaun Phillips) is a stud. So 2.2% of the LBs taken in rounds 4-6 is a stud. By that number, chances are we DON’T have a stud LB on our team.

    • DVision says:

      I wouldn’t include Wilkinson in that list. The man hasn’t stayed healthy enough to even see what he’s got. He could be a pleasant surprise if he can stay on the field.

  2. Cactus Jack says:

    Sorry…a good try but your reasoning is illogical. The draft attempts to have a player’s skill level determine his draft position. Your theory attempts to have a player’s draft position determine his skill level.
    The best that can be said for your theory is that because something happened in the past (ie. a successful late round selection) it is likely to happen again. That might be trus if all things were equal, but obviously they are not. There are too many intervening factors (ie.
    who is doing the selection, team needs, different personnel, injuries, the numbers crunch, etc.) to make a fair comparison.
    What is more, the theory is completely useless if you are trying to improve your chances in future draft selections since it depends on hindsight rather than foresight. Sorry…but good try.
    Cactus Jack

    • Cactus Jack you are correct.

      I said at the beginning that the study is limited and that it would take a much more indepth analysis to discover something truly useful for this study.

      There are many many variables that would have to be included like position drafted (I included all linebackers drafted), teams track record of producing quality players, the coaches record of taking a player drafted at a certain round and turning him into a successful player, the schemes that are involved with the players being drafted.

      It would also have to include things like number of years the other linebackers on the roster had already been starting so we could gauge how many of these players were being relied on.

      This is the furthest thing from a comprhensive study and I’m not pretending it is all inclusive.

      I’m just gauging.

      How often in a short period of time have linebackers been drafted from the fourth round and on to become successful. A lot of fans on Giants forums argue that you can’t find good linebackers after the `1st two rounds thats a premise I disagree with.

      I just thought it’d be an interesting little study, but if I was actually in charge of the Giants or had to gamble on this study I would not consider it statistically relevant enough to use this as a basis for anything.

  3. andrew ilnicki says:

    can i just ask this question — was Antonio Pierce a stud LB in 2007, 2008, or 2009? no… and the Giants LBs were not extraordinary by any means — more like status quo tacklers that were able to minimize mistakes down the final stretch.

    if you need stats to prove it… according to PFF – pierce was a straight liability even in the playoffs and superbowl where the defense completely tightened up. he a good game against dallas, and also green bay in the playoffs and that one tackle he made through the double team will not be forgotten. but not the superbowl…. the patriots exposed the middle with moss and welker’s crossing routes and that is something that philly picked up on and has been exploiting ever since 2008 when they figured out that is the main exposure of the Giants underbelly.

    however, the argument should be made that because the Giants run a 4-3 the LBs are not as critical as on other teams who run a 3-4 and absolutely rely on their line backers as the core of the D. instead of a STUD we should just be hoping for a NON-DUD that makes tackles and rarely lets themselves get exposed… Mitchell exemplifies that kind of player. Not great but no major mistakes at all. of course he was not the inside LB — but the physical aspect of the game play were there and he consistently rose to the challenge.

    Pierce’s play calling will be missed, but execution after the snap was lacking and we all know it. Someone like Goff has more athletic ability…. and hopefully over time, with proper coaching he will be able to gain confidence and experience in the captaining abilities of the defense, reading schemes and coordinating audibles — all of the mental work and the chess match with the QB on the other side as it were.

    it will develop — but Goff’s job will be much easier assuming the front 4 does their job more consistently this year.

    im ready for PRESEASON, thats how sad this is right now.

  4. Jeremy says:

    I’m expecting a Goff- Wilkinson tandem at the MLB position. Wilkinson will be our long yardage back-up. And Goff & dillard are facing off for our 1st string. Ultimatly Goff will beat out Dillard but not by much.

  5. Jesse Cassel says:

    You got to be kidding me, Wilkinson, the guy couldn’t stay healthy any other season so what makes you think he will this year. If he does what makes you think he will be anywhere near the point where he could be suitable for a tandem position at middle linebacker. If he plays it will basically be a rookie year for him because he hasn’t had a full year yet so I expect him to do nothing more then warm the bench and get in on some plays when where either winning big or losing big. I have no faith in him and see no reason why anyone should. Wilkinson was a major bust, its time every one got over that and stop trying to make him a suitable candidate for the MLB job.

  6. Shai says:

    Speaking of being exposed over the middle, i watched the nfl replay of our WIN vs dallas last year in week 13. Have we been able to stop Witten in the past 5 years?

  7. Dave says:

    love these stat based articles, keep up the good work guys

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