With the 32nd pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, the New York Giants will have plenty of players to choose from. Giants GM Jerry Reese doesn’t often draft based on immediate needs but instead will take the best player available, especially in the first round. It is difficult to gauge which direction the Giants will go but one of the prospects being mentioned as a possible pick is Nebraska outside linebacker Lavonte David.
David is small for his position at 6-1 and 225-235 lbs. However, he possesses excellent speed and great instincts. He ran a 4.65 40 in the combine but he plays quicker than that, using his instincts to get a jump on the play. His instincts can’t be taught but size can always be added. He should be able to add another ten pounds without a problem.
He is excellent against the running game but lacks the strength to shed offensive linemen to be much of a factor in the pass rush but with his quickness he could be a factor in a blitz package off the edge where he can use his quickness. In the running game he is quick in pursuit but won’t overrun a play and takes excellent angles to close the gap. He is also effective in pass coverage and should be able to stay with most tight ends in coverage, something the Giants sometimes had problems with last season. He can also line up against some receivers and has shown an excellent hip rotation which allows him to stay with receivers.
David is a pure football player. He hits hard and hits often. He is a tackling machine and has an excellent motor. He had 112 tackles last season for Nebraska and added another 11 in the Capitol One Bowl.
David should still be available when the Giants draft at the end of the first round. He would fit into defensive coordinator Perry Fewell’s defense seamlessly. Last the season the Giants sometimes utilized three safeties at once with Kenny Phillips and Antrel Rolle being joined by Deon Grant. David would fit that hybrid position like a glove. The Giants could allow him to play back, ready to drop into coverage or to quickly move up and plug the gap on a running play. He could also be sent on a blitz to harass the quarterback.
Players like David only come along once in a while. He may not set the world on fire but in the Giants defense he could step in as either the weakside linebacker, a hybrid safety/linebacker like Rolle sometimes played last year, or help replace wide receiver Devin Thomas on special teams. The Giants did invest two draft picks on linebackers last season in Greg Jones and Jacquian Williams and signed undrafted free agent Mark Herzlich. However, adding a player like David is too good to pass up. Not taking anything away from the other Giants linebackers but David would immediately step in as the team’s second best linebacker behind Michael Boley whom the Giants would like to move to the inside. To put it simply, if Lavonte David is still on the board when the Giants draft he shouldn’t be afterwards.