Giants’ draft haul of linebackers now must find their place in defense

In the final 72 selections of the NFL draft, the Giants did something quite unusual. They selected four linebackers (and one cornerback) to close out their 10-player haul. It was such a flurry that it was difficult to distinguish which linebacker played where and who did what well.

The Giants aren’t expecting miracles here. They got Cam Brown from Penn State in the sixth round and in the seventh round took three more linebackers: Carter Coughlin (Minnesota), TJ Brunson (South Carolina) and Tae Crowder (Georgia). If all of them stick around, either on the roster or the practice squad, it will be quite an upset.

They are not all the same.

Brown has the longest wingspan to bat passes out of the air. Coughlin is the most accomplished pass-rusher. Brunson is smaller, faster and thus has sideline-to-sideline potential. Crowder is bigger, a hard hitter but, as a converted running back, not quite as instinctive.

They all came off the board about where they were expected to — late in the draft, or else priority undrafted free agents. The only one who lasted longer than anticipated was Brown.

“Sixth round, that’s a freaking steal,’’ Dan Shonka, general manager and national scout for Ourlads Scouting Services, told The Post.

“I don’t mind if people may have overlooked me, that’s fine,’’ Brown said. “I made my way to the NFL and I’m ready to show what I can do there.’’

Brunson, a two-time team captain at South Carolina, was the first recruit for Will Muschamp after he took over as Gamecocks head coach in 2016.

“It was big to know that someone, especially a coach like that in the SEC, felt like I was important enough to go out and get to help start a team for his inaugural season,’’ Brunson said. “That’s going down in history, we’re his first class.’’

His role on defense?

“I think I was the guy that just went out there to bring energy and to play fast,’’ said Brunson, who lined up at all three linebacker spots and even as a safety. “”Wherever they need me to play, I feel like I’m comfortable and I’m able to do it.’’

Brown was recruited at Penn State by Sean Spencer, who now is the Giants’ defensive line coach, giving the rookie a strong connection, in addition to former college teammates Saquon Barkley and Grant Haley in the building — whenever the players get into the building. Brown needs to bulk up from his 233 pounds and will be used in space, mainly because of his 6-foot-5 frame and extended wingspan.

“Honestly, it helps getting in windows,’’ Brown said. “When you’re 6-5 on the second level, and the quarterback is trying to throw a dig, it’s kind of hard when you’ve got to clear about 7 to 8 feet of height and length in arms. It’s kind of, for me, it’s been getting into windows, it helps with the range. Even when you’re diving through tackles, that length allows you to get a little bit further than most.’’

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The Giants waited until pick No. 218 to find a player with pass-rush prowess on his résumé. Coughlin finished third in Gophers history with 22.5 sacks, using get-off and energy to drop opposing quarterbacks. Doing it at the next level will be the challenge.

“He’s a guy that gives us more speed on the edge,’’ Giants coach Joe Judge said. “He brings some length with him. He plays with a high motor and a lot of aggressiveness. He was productive in Minnesota’s scheme and with the way we are going to play guys on the edge in different packages, he’s someone with a lot of value.’’

Coughlin was featured in what the Gophers call the “rush’’ position.

“It’s kind of a hybrid outside linebacker mixed with defensive end,’’ Coughlin said. “It allowed me to drop into coverage, it allowed me to get after the quarterback, play off tight ends and play near the line of scrimmage. It really allowed me to play a bunch of different aspects of what an outside linebacker could look like or even a defensive end. I loved the rush position.’’

Crowder looks like a weakside linebacker and that is where he will line up, initially. Like all the other players taken on the back end of the draft, his ticket to the roster could be via special teams.

“He doesn’t have super instincts but he can really run and he’ll blow you up,’’ Shonka said. “When he sees it, he can get to it.’’

Four rookie linebackers, all different, all drafted late, looking to make their way.

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