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Pro Football Focus Reveals Giants' Day 3 Player as Most Likely to Produce in Year 1

Giants rookie linebacker Micah McFadden knows a thing or two about overcoming low expectations, a story he recently shared with Giants Country.

Giants fans might be over the moon when it comes to the team’s Day 1 haul, but as far as Day 2 and Day 3 are concerned, the initial feeling has been lukewarm.

But lest anyone think that general manager Joe Schoen’s first draft is going to eventually disintegrate like the draft classes up to and including the 2018 group, that might not be the case, according to Pro Football Focus’s Anthony Treash, who identified one Giants Day 3 draft pick as being someone who could surprise and produce as Indiana linebacker Micah McFadden.

Wrote Treash of McFadden:

New Giants defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale has a “type” at linebacker — and McFadden fits that type. 

The former Indiana Hoosier landed in a perfect landing spot that will fully utilize his blitzing prowess. Since 2019, no Power Five off-ball linebacker produced a higher pass-rush grade — he racked up 74 pressures and a 25.6% win rate in that span, both of which also led the position.

McFadden is a physical player who can stack and shed with ease, but he is also innate at getting skinny to avoid contact altogether. The cons with his game have to do with limited range, length, and inability to play in space, but he is quick to diagnose and can be a menace in the box. In Martindale's aggressive defense, McFadden could shine in the pass-rush and exceed expectations as a Day 3 rookie.

That’s quite a build-up of expectations for McFadden, chosen with the first of the Giants' three fifth-round draft picks (No. 146 overall) last month and who still has to compete for a now-loaded position that includes veterans Blake Martinez, Tae Crowder, Carter Coughlin, Cam Brown and T.J. Brunson ahead of him.

But for McFadden, swimming upstream and doing so successfully is nothing new. McFadden, who's played football since he was six, was often overlooked by his coaches early on, who turned to others to play ahead of McFadden, who admitted: "I wasn't very good."

Good or not, McFadden stuck with the game because he enjoyed it. "Yeah, I think I just enjoyed running and tackling," McFadden told Giants Country during the rookie minicamp. "It just felt good to be out there and just release my energy on the field, and I guess, get my anger out in a way.

"But as I grew in the sport, I enjoyed playing and enjoyed being with a team, being a part of something, and just working hard at it."

That feeling is why McFadden stuck with the sport instead of becoming discouraged.

"You gotta take everything with a grain of salt and understand your position in things, but at the same time, you gotta work like you are the first draft pick or the best player on the field because that's the only way you're gonna get to that next level," McFadden said.

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That competitive spirit caught the eye of current Indiana head coach Tom Allen, who first saw McFadden, a teammate of Allen's son, play at Plant High School.

So when Allen took the job at Indiana, he recruited McFadden, the Florida Player of the Year as a senior.

Despite being recruited, McFadden still had to show he belonged. Initially, the plan was for him not to play much as a freshman. But through hard work and determination, McFadden made it impossible for his coaches to keep him off the field. In limited snaps over nine games played in 2018, McFadden delivered 20 tackles (14 solos), one tackle for a loss, and one forced fumble.

"Yeah, I knew what I wanted to do, and that was play as a freshman," McFadden said. "And I knew that even if (the coaches) didn't see it at first if I just worked hard and showed that I could learn and just was improving every day, I would earn playing time."

McFadden is taking that same approach with the Giants. Already showing signs of being a vocal leader during the rookie minicamp, the next step for McFadden to fulfill PFF's prediction is to mix in with the veterans and find a way to show the coaching staff that he's getting better every day.

"Yeah, that's one of the things we talk about here is just getting better every day," McFadden said. "The coaches said they'd notice that."

It's not going to happen overnight, but when it comes to having patience, McFadden is more than willing to control what he can control and let the rest happen organically as he faces the challenge of transitioning from college to the NFL.

"It is difficult, but at the same time, I feel like mentally, you need that reset," he said. "And you know, it just pulls a little bit of the hunger out of you, and you want it more when you're in the back of the line instead of the front.

"I think that's good to kind of reset and put other people in front of you and realize where you are on the team," he added. "That'll make you work harder and learn faster as well." 


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