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Jerry Reese at Vanderbilt Pro Day - LB Zach Cunningham

EddieNYG : 3/16/2017 3:18 pm
Quote:
New York Giants general manager Jerry Reese was at Vanderbilt on Thursday for the SEC school’s pro day, a school official told ESPN. Vanderbilt just so happens to have a linebacker who is projected to be selected in the middle or toward the end of the first round of the NFL draft, which is where the Giants pick.

Reese was on hand checking out all the Vanderbilt pro prospects (see below), but linebacker Zach Cunningham is the most notable, especially because the Giants select 23rd overall in the first round and they have a need at linebacker.
Reese only gets out to a few pro days each year. So anytime he’s spotted on a college campus checking out prospects with his own eyes, it is notable.

In 2014, Reese was seen at LSU and Alabama’s pro days. The Giants selected LSU wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. in the first round that year.

In 2015, Reese was seen at Miami, LSU and Alabama’s pro days. The Giants selected Miami offensive tackle Ereck Flowers in the first round and traded up for Alabama safety Landon Collins in the second round that year.

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RE: Is this the pick  
Rjanyg : 3/16/2017 4:39 pm : link
In comment 13395540 shelovesnycsports said:
Quote:
or the smoke screen. when was the last time the Giants picked a LB in the first round?


1984 ( 33 years )but who's counting.
Cunningham  
Peppers : 3/16/2017 4:40 pm : link
Would be a big upgrade at WLB or MLB. Cunningham has the speed and instincts to make a ton of plays. Reminds me a lot Bobby Wagner when he came out. He's a perfect fit for our defense.
Vandy prospects  
hazydave : 3/16/2017 4:50 pm : link
Reese may have also been checking out offensive lineman, Will Holden. A possibility for the 3rd or 4th round?
RE: The least physical LB I have ever seen, but makes a ton of tackles...  
The_Boss : 3/16/2017 5:02 pm : link
In comment 13395528 yatqb said:
Quote:
of course he has to wrestle these guys to the ground. Clearly not a thumper, but very athletic.


Wasn't the same said last year of Floyd?
RE: Vandy prospects  
AcidTest : 3/16/2017 5:02 pm : link
In comment 13395569 hazydave said:
Quote:
Reese may have also been checking out offensive lineman, Will Holden. A possibility for the 3rd or 4th round?


Definitely. Very underrated prospect IMO.
Keep in mind  
ryanmkeane : 3/16/2017 5:03 pm : link
Reese and co want clean prospects who are football players in round 1. Cunningham fits that mold.
RE: The least physical LB I have ever seen, but makes a ton of tackles...  
Rflairr : 3/16/2017 5:05 pm : link
In comment 13395528 yatqb said:
Quote:
of course he has to wrestle these guys to the ground. Clearly not a thumper, but very athletic.


Look at his instincts though. Reads plays and attacks. We haven't had that since Pierce.
Here's CBS Sports scouting breakdown:  
ryanmkeane : 3/16/2017 5:08 pm : link
STRENGTHS: Cunningham sports a long-levered frame with broad shoulders, a tapered middle and plenty of room for additional muscle mass without significantly impacting his impressive quickness, agility and speed. He attacks oncoming blockers with an aggressive and powerful initial punch, quickly disengaging on his way to the ball. Unlike most linebackers with his length, Cunningham shows good recognition and body control to slip cut blocks, as well, sprawling to maintain his balance and rarely losing sight of the ball. Cunningham is able to convert speed to power as a tackler, showing no hesitancy in the hole against big (or small) runners and ripping at the ball, when possible. Cunningham's future in the NFL could be on the outside as he possesses the range and body control to excel in space. He changes direction well for a man of his size, showing light feet and loose hips. He possesses the range to beat backs to the edge, as well as exciting closing speed while in pursuit and coverage. Cunningham shows good awareness of passing lanes, as well as the body control and long arms to contort in space to knock down throws.
WEAKNESSES: While Cunningham's size, athleticism and awareness are certainly appealing, there is room for improvement, including in the most important area for any linebacker -- tackling. In part because of Cunningham's relatively lanky frame, his pad level is often higher while tackling then preferred. Cunningham often wrestles runners to the ground with his upper-body strength rather than consistently driving them back through his hips. This can leave Cunningham a little off-balance at the point of attack, leading to his catching runners and pulling them down (after surrendering another yard after contact) or, occasionally, missing them altogether. Cunningham could also improve as a pass rusher, too often relying on a quick hand slap, bull rush or his speed (rather than refined technique) to defeat blocks.

IN OUR VIEW: Cunningham looks more like an outside linebacker for a 4-3 alignment than a traditional inside linebacker for a 3-4 scheme. He isn't always the cleanest tackler but as his statistics suggest, he certainly gets the job done. The time spent inside has honed Cunningham's instincts and ability to fight through blocks, though he remains at his best on the chase.

COMPARES TO: Derrick Johnson, Kansas City Chiefs: It is hard not to remember a young Johnson at Texas when watching Cunningham, who possesses a similar rangy frame, speed and nose for the ball. Like the Chiefs' 12-year veteran, Cunningham possesses Pro Bowl potential with the skill-set to translate into the 4-3 or 3-4 alignment.
I'd rather have a LB that is fast  
Reb8thVA : 3/16/2017 5:10 pm : link
and makes plays. If that is Cunningham so be it. The Giants have usually made physicality one of their key selectors in evaluating LBs. It hasn't served them well.
Please no  
WillVAB : 3/16/2017 5:24 pm : link
Don't want a guy at 23 who has to be coached up on tackling.
RE: Please no  
ryanmkeane : 3/16/2017 5:32 pm : link
In comment 13395616 WillVAB said:
Quote:
Don't want a guy at 23 who has to be coached up on tackling.

He had 125 tackles this past season.
RE: RE: Please no  
WillVAB : 3/16/2017 5:45 pm : link
In comment 13395622 ryanmkeane said:
Quote:
In comment 13395616 WillVAB said:


Quote:


Don't want a guy at 23 who has to be coached up on tackling.


He had 125 tackles this past season.


And? Watch him tackle. He's gonna struggle at the next level and I don't want any part of that at 23.
I'll never understand why  
jayg5 : 3/16/2017 5:49 pm : link
You draft a LB that doesn't rush the passer unless he's an absolute stud, can't miss prospect.
I'm round 1  
jayg5 : 3/16/2017 5:50 pm : link
...
Damn Iphone  
jayg5 : 3/16/2017 5:51 pm : link
In round 1, sorry
The minute Cunningham stepped  
Big Rick in FL : 3/16/2017 5:54 pm : link
Into the facility he'd be the best LB the Giants have had since Pierce. He's a stud who can do it all. He can go sideline to sideline. He can rush the passer. He can cover. He's a beast. Reminds of Jamie Collins.

In 32 career games with little to no talent around him he has 256 tackles, 36 TFL, 6 sacks, 13 pass break ups, 7 fumble recoveries & 6 forced fumbles. He would be nasty with our DL in front of him.

At 6'3 240 he ran a 4.67. He's got 34 3/8 inch arms. He did 15 reps of 225 which is good for a guy with his arm length. He had a 35 inch vertical. 10'3 broad jump. He had a 7.03 three cone & 4.29 20 yard shuttle.
RE: I'll never understand why  
Big Rick in FL : 3/16/2017 5:57 pm : link
In comment 13395630 jayg5 said:
Quote:
You draft a LB that doesn't rush the passer unless he's an absolute stud, can't miss prospect.


He can rush the passer though. He wasn't asked to do it much last year as they wanted him to drop back more, but prior to that he had 6 sacks in 19 career games. Gotta remember that just because he isn't asked to do it in college doesn't mean he can't.
Somehow BBI  
ryanmkeane : 3/16/2017 6:06 pm : link
will find a way to discredit the most productive defensive player in the SEC...somehow.
Ryanmkeane  
Big Rick in FL : 3/16/2017 6:17 pm : link
He's certainly not my first choice at 23, but he'd be a great addition and would really thrive with guys like Snacks, JPP, OV, Collins, Jackrabbit & DRC around him. He was awesome for Vandy and teams entire gameplan was to stay away from him because Vandy sucks. IMO he's a far better player than Leonard Floyd who we almost took at 10 last year. I think he could be a Pro Bowl LB. Like I said in a thread a few months ago he reminds me of the 49ers Julian Peterson. He's a legit 3 down LB that can do it all.
Let's remember:  
George : 3/16/2017 6:30 pm : link
The Giants interviewed Cunningham at the Combine. He's obviously a top contender for their #1, and now they're going there to Vandy just to do their due diligence. I've always wanted to use "they're," "there," and "their" in one sentence, and now I have.



Ry  
jayg5 : 3/16/2017 6:54 pm : link
I can't/won't speak for everyone, but I am not trying to discredit Cunningham. I think he's a damn good linebacker. My only point is I am not a big fan of taking a LB who isn't known for his pass rush ability in the 1st round. Giants had a top 10 defense with Kennard, Robinson, and Casillias. Don't feel this defense needs to take a LB round 1.
Has Reese  
Jay in Toronto : 3/16/2017 6:57 pm : link
been at any other Pro days this year?
I am not a fan of Cunningham in the first.  
robbieballs2003 : 3/16/2017 7:00 pm : link
Tackles is not a good stat to judge a player. He doesn't square guys up and is more often than not grabbing and ripping players to the ground. If we go LB in the first I would much rather have the Florida kid.
RE: Ry  
est1986 : 3/16/2017 7:03 pm : link
In comment 13395683 jayg5 said:
Quote:
I can't/won't speak for everyone, but I am not trying to discredit Cunningham. I think he's a damn good linebacker. My only point is I am not a big fan of taking a LB who isn't known for his pass rush ability in the 1st round. Giants had a top 10 defense with Kennard, Robinson, and Casillias. Don't feel this defense needs to take a LB round 1.


They had a top 10 defense with Kennard, Robinson and Casillias.. But still, its clearly the weak link of the defense, has been for far too long. We won a SB with Chase fucking Blackburn starting MLB does that mean we dont need a MLB??
RE: Has Reese  
est1986 : 3/16/2017 7:05 pm : link
In comment 13395685 Jay in Toronto said:
Quote:
been at any other Pro days this year?


No. Unless it went unreported but I doubt that is the case. Reese cant hide at a pro day.
RE: The minute Cunningham stepped  
AcidTest : 3/16/2017 7:05 pm : link
In comment 13395633 Big Rick in FL said:
Quote:
Into the facility he'd be the best LB the Giants have had since Pierce. He's a stud who can do it all. He can go sideline to sideline. He can rush the passer. He can cover. He's a beast. Reminds of Jamie Collins.

In 32 career games with little to no talent around him he has 256 tackles, 36 TFL, 6 sacks, 13 pass break ups, 7 fumble recoveries & 6 forced fumbles. He would be nasty with our DL in front of him.

At 6'3 240 he ran a 4.67. He's got 34 3/8 inch arms. He did 15 reps of 225 which is good for a guy with his arm length. He had a 35 inch vertical. 10'3 broad jump. He had a 7.03 three cone & 4.29 20 yard shuttle.


A+ post. Everybody bitching about Cunningham shouldn't be heard if we continue to get killed down the seam yet again by TEs because we have no LBs who can cover.
I agree with robbie. I wouldn't hate the pick,  
Ira : 3/16/2017 7:15 pm : link
but I hope we could do better in the first round.
Est  
jayg5 : 3/16/2017 7:18 pm : link
Yes, it means we don't need to draft a LB in round 1.
RE: Ry  
ryanmkeane : 3/16/2017 7:20 pm : link
In comment 13395683 jayg5 said:
Quote:
I can't/won't speak for everyone, but I am not trying to discredit Cunningham. I think he's a damn good linebacker. My only point is I am not a big fan of taking a LB who isn't known for his pass rush ability in the 1st round. Giants had a top 10 defense with Kennard, Robinson, and Casillias. Don't feel this defense needs to take a LB round 1.

Fair enough...that is a good point. The defense was nearly the best in the NFL without a very good WILL. However, I don't think draft picks in the 1st round should be based on what other players did or how the defense (or offense for that matter) was ranked the season prior. I think you'll get into trouble if you're just trying to fill a hole year over year. The goal is to find dynamic playmakers in the first round.

For example, there's a really good chance we take a great CB in the first round if one slips. We have 3 really good CBs on the roster already. Would anyone throw the remote if we took Marlon Humphrey at 23? I think not. Roster turnover is different year to year. Ya never know who goes down with an injury, etc. Cunningham would be adding to the playmaker mix on D...something we have been lacking for a long time and only recently have been re stocking our roster with them. And also, it's not like we have any linebackers that are true difference makers on the roster right now. Our backers couldn't tackle and couldn't cover against Green Bay and they toasted them.

Don't get me wrong, I'd love a guy like Lamp or another OL in the mix at 23....but. If they have a similar grade to 10 other lineman, odds are Reese will not reach for one there. Like last year, when everyone was screaming to take OL, all he did was draft 5 guys who at this point are going to be big contributors to the team. Possibly 5 starters. He didn't reach for OL when it wasn't there, he took players of value and look what happened...
Ry  
jayg5 : 3/16/2017 7:30 pm : link
That's fine. But the defense was what it was bc the Giants place a lot more value in dline and corners. We all know that. Again, I think Cunningham is a very good football player. But LB, In my opinion just doesn't hold enough value to draft in round 1 unless you can rush the passer. Like Big Rick said though, just because he wasn't asked to doesn't mean he can't.
On the brightside,  
Taggart : 3/16/2017 7:32 pm : link
with his tackling technique you wouldnt need to worry about him missing playing time due to concussions or neck burners.
RE: Ry  
ryanmkeane : 3/16/2017 7:43 pm : link
In comment 13395711 jayg5 said:
Quote:
That's fine. But the defense was what it was bc the Giants place a lot more value in dline and corners. We all know that. Again, I think Cunningham is a very good football player. But LB, In my opinion just doesn't hold enough value to draft in round 1 unless you can rush the passer. Like Big Rick said though, just because he wasn't asked to doesn't mean he can't.

Agreed...that's fair. If he's the guy, at least it appears he flashes all over the field.
Reese has  
XBRONX : 3/16/2017 7:43 pm : link
been such a great judge at LB position. Many posters on here knew Kelvin Sheppard was really bad. He should have talked to the Dolphins. I know in free agency there is limited money but thats not an excuse to sign someone who stinks.
Have to consider  
ryanmkeane : 3/16/2017 7:51 pm : link
the bust factor with round 1 picks as well. Make sure they are as clean as possible. Not a single bad thing to say about Cunningham's background or love for football.
RE: Reese has  
Rory : 3/16/2017 7:52 pm : link
In comment 13395725 XBRONX said:
Quote:
been such a great judge at LB position. Many posters on here knew Kelvin Sheppard was really bad. He should have talked to the Dolphins. I know in free agency there is limited money but thats not an excuse to sign someone who stinks.


Sheppard was brought to stop the run up the middle.

Pretty sure that worked, its called role players
...  
annexOPR : 3/16/2017 7:54 pm : link
#1 defense in the NFL if the Giants can add talent like this to the LB corp. DL/Secondary are already top notch .. would be nice have ZC flying around being this DL
Also...  
ryanmkeane : 3/16/2017 7:54 pm : link
yes, pro prospects have to be judged on potential and not necessarily production...it's half and half. That being said, there's something to be said for someone who is just constantly around the ball and making plays. I couldn't believe Collins was slipping in the 2015 draft...he was in on basically every tackle during your weekly Alabama game. Cunningham averaged about 10 tackles a game. That has to count for a lot.
Everyone  
WillVAB : 3/16/2017 7:55 pm : link
Should just search the last Cunningham thread with his "highlight" reel in the thread. Dude just isn't physical and will struggle tackling NFL caliber RBs.

Most would love the pick until Zeke rips off huge gains twice a year off broken arm tackles from this guy.
Will...  
ryanmkeane : 3/16/2017 7:56 pm : link
most scouting reports actually praise his physicality. Are you basing this off his weight? Plenty of pro bowl LBs play around 235-240.
RE: Will...  
WillVAB : 3/16/2017 8:36 pm : link
In comment 13395747 ryanmkeane said:
Quote:
most scouting reports actually praise his physicality. Are you basing this off his weight? Plenty of pro bowl LBs play around 235-240.


Just my opinion off of watching his tackling technique. He's a drag down arm tackler. I don't think that translates well at the next level, and particularly not well in our division where we face a smash mouth running team twice a year.

If we're going LB I'd rather go Reddick or Davis. Both are athletic, physical, down hill monsters who knock guys around.
Rory  
XBRONX : 3/16/2017 8:41 pm : link
we must have watched different games. Sheppard flat out stunk against the run.
The DL made everybody behind them look good  
Ten Ton Hammer : 3/16/2017 8:49 pm : link
And Collins is like having another middle linebacker on the field anyway.
This may be Reese working on a contingency plan  
Rjanyg : 3/16/2017 9:20 pm : link
If Howard, Njoku and Reddick are gone? Cunningham looks the part but is behind these 3 IMO.
Sorry but  
Carl in CT : 3/16/2017 9:22 pm : link
15 reps is not good for an LB.
I like Davis a ton  
ryanmkeane : 3/16/2017 10:34 pm : link
but he kinda seems like a guy that will be hurt a lot.
I expect that if we take him Reese and Spags have a good idea  
yatqb : 3/16/2017 10:34 pm : link
of how he'll fit on the defense. He's likely to take over Robinson's role in passing situations, and play WILL otherwise. I'd prefer a more physical player, but that athleticism might make him a great addition to the team.

I remember how down I and others were on Collins for his coverage deficits; well, he certainly got coached up AND changed his body in the last offseason. Perhaps Cunningham could too.

On a positive note, he seems the exact opposite of a guy like Sintim, who just never achieved anything with us.
I like Reddick better  
blueblood : 3/16/2017 10:50 pm : link
Cunningham does seem to have a nose for the ball. Not a fan of the tackling style..
I'm just ready for an All-Pro linebacker  
SHO'NUFF : 3/17/2017 12:44 am : link
and if Reese thinks this is the guy, so be it...Hell, I'll settle for Pro-Bowler.
Lance Zierlein says:  
Klaatu : 3/17/2017 8:31 am : link
Quote:
SOURCES TELL US "He needs to be uncovered so he can fly around and just go get the ball. He didn't have much help over there and he took it upon himself to make as many plays as possible. I love that mindset." AFC East regional scout.

NFL COMPARISON Alec Ogletree.

BOTTOM LINE Cunningham's missed tackles and lack of desired play strength could bother teams, but his consistent production is hard to ignore. Cunningham is a rangy, three-down linebacker who has a nose for the ball and special teams value. His downhill approach is made for attacking 4-3 defenses and Cunningham could become a good, early starter as a run-and-chase weak-side linebacker.


I'll just say the same thing about Cunningham that I said about Leonard Floyd. If the Giants buck a 30+ year trend of not drafting Linebackers in the 1st Round and call his name when they're up, he'd better be the Second Coming of Carl Banks.

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I wouldn't make too much out of Reese being seen  
Jersey55 : 3/18/2017 10:51 am : link
at Vanderbilt pro day, especially the part about his possible interest in Cunningham,everybody knows Reese doesn't think LBers are worth a high pick in the draft
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