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New York Giants Off the Clock: Fifth-Round Pick Inside Linebacker Ryan Connelly, Wisconsin
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28 May 2019 02:01 PM EST

-by Daniel Mogollon, Staff Writer; Image: New York Giants fifth-round pick Wisconsin linebacker Ryan Connelly. (Image Source: Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

The New York Giants had 10 picks in the 2019 NFL Draft, including six Day 3 selections. As we take the Giants “Off the Clock,” we’ll breakdown all 10 of their draft picks, continuing with the first of their two fifth-round choices:

Round 5; Pick 5 (143rd Overall): ILB Ryan Connelly, Wisconsin

NY Giants Checklist: Offense | Defense | Daniel Jones | Dexter Lawrence | Deandre Baker | Oshane Ximines | Julian Love |

Measurables: The former Badger is big but not long, if that makes sense. Connelly is tall for a linebacker at 6’ 2 1/8” and has solid bulk at 242 pounds, however his arm length (30 7/8”) and wingspan (75”) are extremely short compared to other prospects at the position. He also has small hands (9 3/8”). At the NFL Scouting Combine, the Big Ten product flashed good athletic ability as he ran a very solid 4.66 40-yard dash, with a 118” broad jump and a 34 ½” vertical jump. His three-cone time (7.09) was average and short shuttle (4.31) slightly below.

Skill Set: During his time in Madison, Connelly showed good burst, as well as excellent instincts and recognition skills. He reads offenses well and plays with awareness. Using that knowledge, the Badger knows how to knife through gaps to get into the backfield, especially against the run. Not overly physical, but capable of taking on blockers when he needs to. At times, he does struggle to get off blocks.  

Value: Most thought Connelly would get drafted, but probably a round or two later than this, so I wouldn’t say the Giants got great value with this selection, but it’s not that much of reach in my opinion.

Need: Inside linebacker was a need. The depth behind starters B.J. Goodson and Alec Ogletree isn’t great. Moreover, both are entering the final year of their contracts with Ogletree probably on the way out. A potential heir apparent would be nice.  

Mogollon’s Pick: I didn’t think Penn State cornerback Amani Oruwariye (No. 146) would still be on the board this deep in the draft. Yes, the Giants have already taken two corners but the depth was that bad going into the draft, why not triple down on the position? The value was too good. GM Dave Gettleman did call a third corner’s name in the sixth round.

Off the Clock (Rd. 1): 1-4, 5-8, 9-14, 15-20, 21-26, 27-32 | Defensive ROY Odds | NY Jets Draft Checklist: Offense | Defense | Off The Clock: Quinnen Williams | Jachai Polite | Chuma Edoga | Trevon Wesco | Blake Cashman | Blessuan Austin | 2020 Draft: No. 1 Pick Odds

Who Else Did They Pass Up? Other inside linebackers who were rated higher than Connelly by many include Alabama’s Mack Wilson (No. 155) and Cameron Smith out of USC (No. 162), while Minnesota’s Blake Cashman (No. 157) offers more athleticism. Connelly’s teammate Andrew Van Ginkel (No. 151) could have given the G-Men another edge rusher as they look to address the pass rush.

The Fit: Looking at Connelly’s tools he could potentially fit at either inside linebacker spot in defensive coordinator James Bettcher’s defense, likely at the MIKE position. He has the size, strength, and willingness to take on blockers. The Wisconsin man might have enough athletic ability to handle WILL duties as well.  

2019 Outlook & Beyond: As a rookie, Connelly will primarily be a special-teams player and probably a good one. Why? He can run, isn’t afraid of contact, and still plays with the passion of a former walk-on. He will compete for a backup role behind Alec Ogletree and B.J. Goodson. What does the future hold? Don’t rule out Connelly potentially competing to start at some point, especially if New York’s defensive front develops as expected. Nonetheless, the G-Men would be happy if the Wisconsin man turns out to be a reliable backup and standout special teamer.

Daniel Mogollon is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America. He is also a voter for the Thorpe and the Rotary Lombardi Award, as well as the Latino Sports MVP Awards. You can reach him via email: danmogollon@gmail.com.

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