The Giants ranked 22nd in the NFL with 36 sacks in the 2019 season. They hope to improve that total with the signing of outside linebacker Kyler Fackrell. In four seasons with Green Bay, Fackrell recorded 16.5 sacks, including 10.5 in 2018.
Like another new Giant, inside backer Blake Martinez, Fackrell was coached by Giants defensive coordinator Patrick Graham when he was the Packers linebackers coach and run game coordinator in 2018. He played the most snaps of his career that season, 893 total, including 626 on defense. He has also played 782 special teams snaps the last three years.
Even though Fackrell is considered an outside linebacker, he is primarily used as an edge rusher. He is a bigger player at 6-5 and 245 pounds. He ran a 4.72 40-yard dash at the combine with a vertical jump of 34.5 inches and broad jump of 121 inches. He has 33-inch arms and has the athleticism and length teams are looking for in outside rushers.
His primary role was rushing the passer from either a two or three-point stance. In his last three seasons, he has 692 snaps rushing the passer and only 235 in coverage. In 2019, in 16 regular season games, he was only in coverage 82 times, which is about five times a game. When he drops in coverage, it is primarily in short zone near the line of scrimmage.
Fackrell played right outside linebacker on 880 plays in the 3-4 in his last three seasons for the Packers. He also played 481 snaps on the left side, so he should be comfortable playing either for the Giants in 2020.
Even though Fackrell has one outlier sack season in 2018, his other pass rushing peripheral numbers were consistent the past three seasons. Despite going from three sacks in 2017 to 10.5 in 2018 and then to one in 2019, his overall pressure numbers remained similar.
Pro Football Focus tracks quarterback hits and hurries to supplement a player's sack totals in each season. They combine the three numbers to track total pressures created by players. Here are Fackrell's pressure stats in each of the last three seasons:
2019: 7 quarterback hits, 18 hurries, 26 total pressures in 211 pass rush snaps
2018: 1 quarterback hit, 12 hurries, 24 total pressures in 243 pass rush snaps
2017: 3 quarterbacks hits, 21 hurries, 27 total pressures in 238 pass rush snaps
The difference in 2018 was that Fackrell was able to convert some of those quarterback hits and hurries into sacks, often a product of him getting to the quarterback quicker than in 2017 and 2019. He also had fewer pass rushing attempts in 2019 because of the additions of Preston Smith and Za'Darius Smith, who were the Packers starting edge rushers.
When you look at Fackrell's tape, he displays the burst and speed to win outside, which helps set up some of his other moves to get to the quarterback. He gets home in a variety of ways that we will take a look at on the coaches' tape.
On this play against Ravens left tackle Austin Howard, Fackrell shows a speed move to the outside before quickly changing direction to get inside on his way to sacking Joe Flacco.
Fackrell lines up over left tackle again on the next play, and uses a nifty inside spin move to beat Zach Sterup on his way to quickly sacking Dolphins quarterback Brock Osweiler.
Fackrell fits the stereotype of many of the Patriots pass rushers the past few seasons, players who win with length, hand use and power. On this next play, he is lined up on Lions left tackle Taylor Decker. After going around tight end Eric Ebron at the snap, Fackrell quickly gets upfield as Decker kick-slides to block him in space. Fackrell remains aggressive, and uses his length and inside hands to control Decker's chest. He uses his power to push Decker off and create a clear path to sack Matthew Stafford. This is a high level power-rush move.
On this play, Fackrell is lined up over Seahawks left tackle Duane Brown. He gets his hands inside on Brown before using his strength and length to push Brown off him. With Brown pushing his weight forward to anchor and regain leverage, Fackrell uses his grip and power to pull Brown past him and sack the elusive Russell Wilson. This is another high level pass rush move to get to the quarterback.
Fackrell was also used as a stand-up "Joker" style rusher along the line of scrimmage. Here you see his effort and hustle beating three different 49ers blockers in the middle of their line before tracking Jimmy Garoppolo out of the pocket and bringing him down for a sack.
Fackrell also showed the ability to set the edge and stop the run. Here he gets outside of Patriots left tackle Trent Brown and funnels Patriots running back James White inside. He is able to get himself off of Brown's block and tackle White before he can gain any yards.
Fackrell might not be a household name to Giants fans, but he will be by the end of the season if he gets to the quarterback like he did in 2018. He can get home in a variety of ways, and his effort and relentless mentality often puts him around the football. The Giants look for him to flash all those attributes in 2020 playing under Patrick Graham once again.