It is no secret the New York Giants are re-tooling for the 2022 season, given their two first-round picks and nine overall draft selections. With new management looking to rebuild the roster and set a foundation, there will be plenty of new faces after the draft.
However, there are a few young guys currently on the roster who could end up becoming legitimate impact players.
Two Giants defenders who could break out in 2022:
1.) Aaron Robinson
When the Giants drafted Aaron Robinson in the third round last year, nobody exactly knew what they were getting in the former UCF defensive back. However, Robinson was known for his physicality and aggressive style, which fits Wink Martindale’s defensive scheme to perfection.
Apparently, the Philadelphia Eagles were eyeing Robinson before the Giants leapfrogged them to make the selection. Last year, Robinson gave up 153 yards and one touchdown over 268 total snaps. His coverage grades were mostly solid, but he had a few hiccups trying to battle receivers downfield.
Nonetheless, Robinson learned plenty about positioning and using his body for leverage. Given he missed a good portion of the season due to injury, his upside was undoubtedly on display.
The 2nd year corner has a good head on his shoulders, focusing on learning and getting better each and every day:
“I feel like putting myself in a position with my coaches and — putting myself in a position to learn the material and, you know, like I just mentioned, trying to take everything the best way that I can and apply it to my game.”
Robinson spent time with Gabe Davis at UCF, mentioning how they would battle it out during practice. Davis was drafted by Joe Schoen and Brandon Bean’s Buffalo Bills in the 4th round two years ago, so there’s a connection (small but relevant).
“Definitely had some battles with Gabe. Pretty much just great work everywhere with those guys.”
If Robinson can unlock his aggressive style and dominate in man coverage, he could end up being a starter for the Giants moving forward. If Big Blue decides to trade James Bradberry to clear $11.7 million in cap space, Robinson could be thrust into a potential starting role, at the very least competing for snaps.
2.) Azeez Ojulari
One of the Giants’ most exciting young prospects is Azeez Ojulari, who tallied 8.0 sacks, 13 quarterback hits, and 49 combined tackles last season. He also picked up two passes defended, one forced fumble, and a tackles for loss.
Oddly, the Giants managed to snag Ojulari with the 50th overall pick last year after concerns regarding his knee began to bubble. However, it seems to have been all smoke given his solid production at just 21 years old.
Ojulari enjoyed his best performance of the season against the Carolina Panthers in Week 7 last year, posting eight tackles, three sacks, and four QB hurries. He was dominant against the Panthers, a game the Giants managed to win, holding their opponents to three points.
With a year of experience under his belt and a bit more functional strength, Ojulari should be not only a force rushing the passer but also sealing the edge in the run game. His development is key to the defense’s success. If the Giants manage to draft another high-end pass rusher to pair with him on the opposite side, they will be looking at an extremely exciting situation in the trenches.