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Giants Now (3/31): Giants land a tackling machine


Giants land a tackling machine in Blake Martinez

The Giants agreed to a deal with former Packers linebacker Blake Martinez last week. On Monday, the team's newest defensive anchor spoke to Giants reporters for the first time.

"I love making plays," Martinez said. "I love, obviously, hitting people. That's kind of the thing that got me into football. I can just have that aggressive, physical nature and, obviously, you don't get in trouble for. You don't get grounded. Growing up, I was kind of like, 'Oh yeah, this is my game.'"

Martinez truly is a tackling machine. Over the last three seasons, the 6-foot-2 inside linebacker has led the NFL with 443 total tackles (155 in 2019, 144 in 2018 and 2017).

Martinez will be reunited with one of his former position coaches, as defensive coordinator Patrick Graham served as Green Bay's linebackers coach in 2018. The 26-year-old collected a career-high 5.0 sacks and six quarterback hits that season, while matching his career-high of 10 tackles for loss.

"He's probably one of the smartest coaches I've ever been around," Martinez said about his new defensive coordinator. "Just his ability to get you ready within four to five days. Every single week my third year when he was my inside linebacker coach, I went into the games on Sunday feeling like I knew exactly what plays were going to happen and exactly what I had to do within our scheme. It just made each game so easy to play. That was the biggest thing I got from him throughout that year and got me so excited to be able to work with him again, obviously, coming up again this season."

The 2020 Draft Profile series

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell told all 32 teams last week that the 2020 NFL Draft will go on as scheduled from April 23-25. This news means that we are just over three weeks away from the start of the draft. took a look at each of the top 25 players listed in NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah's Top 50 draft prospects. Each profile includes the player's 2019 stats, measurements, collegiate accolades, and player descriptions from several draft experts.

Here is the full 2020 Draft profile series:

Freelund's latest analytics-based mock has Giants bolstering the o-line's Cynthia Freelund released the second edition of her analytics-based 2020 mock draft on Monday. For those of you wondering how this mock draft differs from your typical prediction of the first 32 picks, here is how Freelund describes it:

"Here's how my mock works: I use my draft prospect model to create a numerical value for each player. These ratings can be compared across years. Then I use my NFL production model, which considers the market of free agents at each position, to create a projected win-contribution metric by player, position group and side of the ball. These get added up to forecast win totals for the season. The results quantify strengths and weaknesses of current NFL rosters. My model also factors in as many known elements of coaching philosophies (of the current staffs) as possible, and of the 2020 opponents. Then my model "selects" the draft prospect that would yield the highest win total for each team next season.

Here's the part that's extra: I have projections and results for all teams and the draft prospects they selected over the past 15 seasons. I examine each season's on-field results, objectively analyzing what happened, along with the trends and strategies that led to success or failure. I also ask coaches, front office executives and even players to help me understand why results occurred. These subjective inputs help shape the results, meaning the model gets "smarter" with each passing season."

While the method behind each pick may differ from your usual mock draft, the result, at least for the Giants, largely looks the same. Freelund's model has the Giants selecting Iowa offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs with the fourth overall selection. Freelund notes that the addition of CB James Bradberry helped address one of the team's big needs on defense. In addition, the NFL Network analytics expert writes that "bolstering the O-line very slightly edges out the potential value Isaiah Simmons could bring to the Giants' defense," stating that the signing of LB Blake Martinez also drives more value to increasing the impact of the offensive line in the draft.


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