The New York Giants have been craving an off-ball linebacker for years now and general manager Joe Schoen believes he found his answer in free agency this offseason in former Indianapolis Colts inside linebacker Bobby Okereke.
In a new list from Pro Football Focus ranking the league’s off-ball linebackers, Okereke was ranked No. 23 in Tier 5.
This tier highlights talented players, though ones who can be inconsistent.
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Okereke also took a leap in run defense with a career-high 78.5 grade.
Okereke was always a top pass defender and last year he raised his grade against the rush to a career-high 78.5, as PFF noted.
The former Stanford standout, who will turn 27 next month, was 10th in the NFL in total tackles last season (151) along with five passes defensed, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and six tackles for a loss.
The Giants believe Okereke will blossom even further in coordinator Wink Martindale’s scheme.
“I’m going to blitz a lot more, which I’m excited about,” Okereke said earlier this year. “I’ve had a lot of blitz sack-fumbles. I had a really good one, I want to say a year or two ago, against the Titans. I love playing fast, and physical. And I think that’s why Coach Martindale blitzes so much, so players can play free. There’s not a lot of thinking, and that’s what you want to eliminate. You want to eliminate thinking and just have fast decision-making.”
We’d argue tier 5 is a little too low for Okereke.