The New York Giants closed out the 2024 NFL draft by adding a quality, versatile linebacker with significant upside — Darius Muasau.

Although he’s a bit undersized, Muasau is a ferocious player who will play a significant and important role on special teams as he develops.

Here is what several NFL draft experts had to say about Muasau prior to him being selected on Saturday.

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From Lance Zierlein:

Linebacker with muscular build and an unrelenting desire to chase after the football. Muasau plays with a phenomenal motor and has the instincts and recognition to get the jump on blocking schemes. He plays with good initial quickness but lacks extended pursuit speed in space. He will take shots downhill to spoil the action, but teams will have to live with missed tackles and inconsistent leverage in his pursuit. Muasau can handle some basic short-zone coverage but could get in trouble if the coverage expands into larger spaces. He has the potential to make the back end of a roster as a late-round pick or priority free-agent addition.

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From Dane Brugler:

A two-year starter at UCLA, Muasau played Mike linebacker in former defensive coordinator D’Anton Lynn’s 4-2-5 base scheme. After three productive seasons at Hawaii, he led the Bruins in tackles in both of his seasons in Westwood and has an impressive collegiate resume — he played in every game the last five years and compiled 440 tackles and 40.0 tackles for loss. A quick-reacting defender, Muasau has the vision that gives him a head start on the play, which expands his lateral range and helps him make stops near the line of scrimmage. He is aware in short-zone coverage, although he lacks the movement skills to stay connected to backs or tight ends in man coverage. Overall, Muasau might not be elite in any one area, but he is a well-rounded linebacker with the play recognition and tackling skills that will translate to any level. Similar in ways to Sione Takitaki, he projects as an NFL backup who can hold his own when he sees the field.

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From Jared Maslin:

Darius Muasau projects as a backup Mike linebacker who has some scheme versatility but fits best in a 4-3 scheme. He is undersized but has a well-built frame with muscle throughout. His instincts and play recognition are inconsistent as he tends to react quickly, sometimes blowing up plays at the LOS, but other times misreading the play and getting taken out of position. He attacks the line with vigor and pursues the ball all over the field. Muasau struggles consistently wrapping up and has sticky hips that hinder his COD against quicker players. He lacks the traits to be reliable in man coverage, and his zone coverage ability in a short area is sound, but he struggles in a bigger area. On 3rd downs, he may be a blitzer as he has shown an ability to get to the QB, and he should be a contributing special teams player.

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From PFF:

Muasau plays a style of linebacker every defensive coach will love, but he needs to add more strength and must anticipate with more regularity to make up for outlier measurables to be more than a special teamer.

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From Bleacher Report:

Darius Muasau is an instinctual linebacker whose play speed is better than his testing numbers suggest. That’s how he makes plays as a run defender and in coverage, as he’s in the right spot more often than not. He’s also a physical player and was a productive pass-rusher for an off-ball linebacker with 16.5 career sacks in college.

However, it’s unclear how well Muasau’s game will translate to the NFL since he’s on the smaller side and posted underwhelming numbers at the combine. His lack of speed does show up against outside runs, and it could also be an issue in man coverage against faster tight ends and running backs.

The UCLA product is worth the gamble in the later rounds, though. He’ll likely have to make a name for himself on special teams to earn a roster spot, which he did some but not a lot in college.

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