3. Cincinatti LB Ivan Pace Jr.
If it wasn’t for Ivan Pace Jr.’s small stature (6-0, 235 pounds), he would likely be the top linebacker of this year’s draft class, as what he has shown off at Cincinatti has been incredibly impressive. Last season at Cincinatti, Pace racked up 126 combined tackles, 55 pressures, and 12 sacks. These numbers seem impressive enough, but they don’t do Pace’s game enough justice.
When watching Pace’s film, you see just how special of a prospect he is. Not only does Pace possess elite speed to make plays in the backfield, but he can hurt you across the field as well. Alongside this, Pace showed some incredible potential as a pass-rusher.
While Pace could be slightly better in coverage, he was solid enough to where he wasn’t a liability, a trait that recent Giants linebackers have not shared in recent seasons. Pace has good awareness, and technique in coverage, he just needs to improve in man coverage snaps.
Something worth noting about Pace is that he does a rather solid job at getting off of blocks for his size, something other linebackers in this class have really struggled with during their time in college. Pace was a 2022 Butkus Award Finalist and a Unanimous First Team All-American. This kid is a boss on the field and could end up looking good in a Big Blue jersey.