Prior to the start of the 2013 season, the New York Giants were not sure what to expect out of their linebacking corps. It was clearly not going to be an elite unit, but New York was hoping that a few of their younger players would continue to evolve into better players.
They were wrong.
In the offseason, the Giants decided to part ways with fan-favorite Chase Blackburn, who ended up signing with the Carolina Panthers. When Dan Connor injured himself in the season opener, New York was in a serious hole. Mark Herzlich was clearly not ready for an extended role, as he proved to be a liability against the pass. Keith Rivers, Spencer Paysinger and Jacquian Williams also lacked the skills to be serious impact players along the defense.
The Giants could not play out the rest of the season with the group they had. To the credit of the front office, New York went out and traded for Jon Beason, who came to the Giants in exchange for a late-round draft pick. Although Carolina didn’t really have any use for Beason, the trade turned out to be a steal for New York.
Beason was drafted in the first round of the 2007 draft, out of the University of Miami. He spent six full seasons in Carolina, where he was a three-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro. However, injuries kept him on the sideline in 2010 and 2011, and when he returned he lost his starting spot to Luke Kuechly, who has since taken the NFL by storm. This season, Beason lost his starting spot yet again, this time to (you guessed it) Chase Blackburn.
When Beason got to New York, he looked reinvigorated and his impact was felt immediately. He recorded 12 tackles in his first game as a Giant, and had 17 tackles in another game later in the season. He finished the year with 93 tackles while with the Giants, which included just 12 games. Beason was just five tackles away from leading the team. He was also a perfect fit in the locker room, as teammates raved about his leadership skills on and off the field.
Beason has already said that he would “love” to play in New York again next season and recent reports indicate that the Giants are going to do their best to bring him back. New York hasn’t used early draft picks on linebackers in recent years, which means they better reel in Beason. He attacks ball carriers like no other linebacker on the Giants and shows shades of Antonio Pierce, who was the Giants’ last great linebacker.