Giants Nab Minnesota LB Carter Coughlin with the First of their Four Seven-round Picks

The Giants add Minnesota EDGE defender Carter Coughlin to the mix.
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The Giants continued to hone in on one of three position units--in this case linebacker (the other two being the offensive line and the defensive backfield) with their selection of Minnesota linebacker Carter Coughlin, a 6-foot-4, 245-pound linebacker.

An outside linebacker, Carter enjoyed a productive career for the Golden Gophers, earning several honors including Academic All-Big Ten (2019, 2018, 2017); All-Big Ten Second Team (2019, 2018); Defensive Trench Award (2019, 2018); Carl Eller Award - Outstanding Defensive Player (2018); and All-Big Ten Honorable Mention (2017).

I wrote for the Gopher Report in 2018, so I covered Coughlin, and he jumped off the film. Coughlin had a very good 2018, where people in the draft community thought he could be a Day 2 selection, but his play fell off in 2019, which is why he probably slid to Day 3.

In 2018, he had 48 tackles, 15 for a loss, and 9.5 sacks. Despite the Golden Gophers having an excellent 2019 campaign, Coughlin only had 49 tackles, 9.5 for a loss, and 4.5 sacks. It wasn’t a huge drop-off, but he never progressed as many believed he would.

Teams schemed to take him away in 2019, which hindered his production. He missed more tackles and didn’t improve his technique, pass-rushing repertoire (which was already advanced), nor did he add strength. Coughlin is a bit of a tweener.

He’s 6-foot-3, 236 pounds, with sub-32” arms. He’s a good athlete, and his testing numbers represent that, but he’s not great holding the point of attack against the run, and he lacks the desired length to be a true three-down pass-rushing threat. 

Coughlin played mostly in a 2-point stance, with some snaps in a 3-point stance as well; he was predominantly the right defensive end for Joe Rossi’s 4-3 / 4-2-5 defense. 

Coughlin has a good first step and effective hand technique. Hands have some pop, and he knows when to employ counter moves up the pass-rushing arc. 

He has solid lateral agility and burst allow him to maneuver well against marginal tackles on an island. His bend is adequate, but it’s not his calling card. I have seen him convert speed to power, which is a good sign for his future development. Plays with a relentless nature and is a great backside defender.

The issues with Coughlin are his frame; he’s skinny and gets bullied against the run. He has to add strength and power to hold up on the edge, or he’ll be a situational pass rusher, at best. 

If Coughlin can add some weight and become stronger, he could be a great find at this point in the draft, especially if he develops like many expected from 2018-2019. Lack of length works against him, but his work ethic and toughness should earn him a roster spot.

Coughlin started 39 of 49 games and was All-Academic Big-10 in 2018 and 2019. He is a smart, hard-working, football player, with experience in a big conference, which checks out when we look at this entire draft by Dave Gettleman. 

Character, culture, and hard workers can assist a new coaching staff, and a good locker room temperament is important. I love the work ethic of the players in this draft. 

Coughlin has a chance to crack the active roster, given the current state of the Giants EDGE position. With the right development, he could become a situational pass rusher in year one, with upside, especially if he adds strength.

Carter comes from a long line of athletes who attended Minnesota. His father, Robert, played football (defense) for the Gophers from 1986-90 and was a two-year letter winner. 

His mom, Jennie (Moe), played tennis for Minnesota from 1989-92 and was a three-time all-conference selection and two-time team MVP. 

His grandfather, Tom Moe, lettered for the Gophers from 1957-59 and later served as interim athletic director for the school for three years (1999-2002). And his uncle, Mike Moe, lettered for the Gophers in the 1980s.