From Lou Musto of NY Giants Rush…
The New York Giants need an infusion of youth into their pass-rushing unit and they may have it in “Young Osi” Adrian Tracy.
Tracy, a sixth-round pick in the 2010 NFL draft, has been garnering comparisons to former Big Blue defensive end Osi Umenyiora since training camp of last season. With Umenyiora now in Atlanta, many have high hopes that Tracy can step up and fill the void. With Jason Pierre-Paul out for at least the next 12 weeks — and likely more — the Giants will need him to.
Tracy starred at the College of William & Mary, starting 47 games and recording 31 sacks while lining up as a 4-3 defensive end and 3-4 outside linebacker. The 26-year-old has shown glimpses of that pass-rushing potential in minimal playing time, but this summer could be his greatest opportunity to prove himself to date.
Tracy is a dangerously undersized athlete for the defensive end position, weighing in at just 245 pounds. Even Osi, who was one of the slimmer defensive ends in the league, was a thicker 255 pounds. In a league where offensive tackles are upwards of 300 pounds and heavier, such a significant weight disadvantage puts a restraint on Tracy’s potential as anything more than situational defensive lineman. That disadvantage is most evident in run support, where “YOsi” plays like Osi — and that’s not a compliment — getting lost and buried by charging offensive linemen.
Tracy’s speed numbers were mediocre coming out in the 2010 draft, recording a 4.79 in the 40-yard dash. On film, much of the same appears as he displays average speed despite being smaller than most pro defensive ends. He is a surprisingly strong athlete, but depends on that power a bit too heavily to force his way into the backfield. He has a high motor and persists in his pursuit of the ball carrier. In pass coverage, Tracy’s speed should be sufficient enough to keep pace with most tight ends.
Technique is probably the biggest factor that has kept Tracy off the field to date. He lacks the shoulder dip technique prominent among the league’s best pass rushers. He’s too upright in his attack with very little bend to get beneath the offensive lineman’s arms and slip by to get to the quarterback. Instead, he tries to shove his way into the backfield and, more often than not, “Young Osi” finds himself stonewalled at the line of scrimmage.
His best work in pass-rushing situations comes when he uses his agility combined with an arsenal of finesse moves to blow by his blocker and deliver a hit to the quarterback. One of his best traits was something that Umenyiora specialized in for New York: the strip sack.
As aforementioned, Tracy struggles mightily against the run much like his counterpart Umenyiora. Too often he disappears against the run with nothing to offer.
He has good speed and size to play linebacker, but there is little to see of him on film at the position or in pass coverage.
What Tracy lacks physically to be successful in the NFL he makes up for in his mental makeup. The former Tribe standout has spectacular instincts, making all of the proper pre-play reads and reacting accordingly. As a result, he is often around the football, finding the football and using his speed to pursue the ball carrier.
He is credited as a studious overachiever who spends a lot of time in the film room. Despite being an undersized and potentially out of position player, he has made the proper adjustments to adapt to the Giants’ defense and do whatever is asked of him.
Analysis: At the moment, Tracy does not appear to be anything more than a situational pass rusher. He has a knack for getting to the quarterback despite a very limited skill set and the Giants could use all the help they could get in the pass rushing department. His services could also be useful in the Joker role, especially if the G-Men are without JPP for an extended period of time and choose to use Damontre Moore and/or Adewale Ojomo in the rotation along the defensive line.
He is a bit undersized and that is concerning, but Michael Strahan was down near 250 pounds in his last few seasons. Of course, that was Michael Strahan, who was solid as a brick house and knew how to dominant at his position. Tracy is still very much a developmental project.
Tracy is a hard worker. His teammates, coaches and the media all speak very highly of him. If that’s any indication, he will receive plenty of chances to earn his spot on the defense this summer.
You can follow me on Twitter @LouisMusto.