Do the Giants have one of the best defensive lines in the NFL?

Dexter Lawrence, Leonard Williams, Giants, NYG
Danielle Parhizkaran/ / USA TODAY NETWORK

The New York Giants are building a formidable defensive front after struggling immensely to stop the run in 2022. This offseason, Big Blue made several improvements to the defensive line, acquiring new talents to take the unit to the next level. As the regular season approaches, the Giants may have one of the best defensive lines in the NFL in 2023.

Bolstering the run defense

In 2022, New York possessed one of the worst run defenses in the NFL. They surrendered an average of 144.2 rushing yards per game, ranking 27th in the NFL. Their inability to defend the rushing attack could largely be attributed to a lack of depth up front.

Dexter Lawrence and Leonard Williams are two of the best defensive linemen in the NFL. Lawrence and Williams combine to create one of the best defensive line duos in the league, ranking first on Pro Football Focus’ list.

But outside of Lawrence and Williams, New York had a massive hole at its third starting defensive lineman position. To address this weakness, the Giants signed veteran linemen A’Shawn Robinson and Rakeem “Nacho” Nunez-Roches.

Robinson, a proven veteran and Super Bowl champion, is bringing seven seasons of NFL experience to the Giants. He totaled 109 combined tackles across the past two seasons with the Los Angeles Rams and will likely be New York’s third starter on the interior. Nacho totaled a career-high 33 combined tackles and five tackles for loss in 2022 and will rotate in as a run-stuffing lineman.

The Giants’ pass rush could be scary in 2023

Along with Lawrence and Williams, the Giants have another dynamic duo in their defensive front. New York has two edge rushers, Kayvon Thibodeaux and Azeez Ojulari, both of whom look primed for breakout 2023 campaigns.

Thibodeaux is embarking on a “Kobe Year” to ascend his game in his second NFL season. As a rookie in 2022, the fifth-overall pick totaled 40 pressures and four sacks, proving to be a disruptive force on Big Blue’s defense.

Ojulari missed time with injuries last season but was an incredibly productive pass-rusher when he was on the field. He racked up 5.5 sacks and three forced fumbles in only seven games (five starts). If Ojulari maintains his health in 2023, he could become a premier pass-rusher for the Giants.

With Thibodeaux and Ojulari on the edge and Lawrence and Williams on the interior, Big Blue has built a menacing front-four pass-rushers. If everyone stays healthy and the Giants’ young players take a step forward, New York will have one of the NFL’s best defensive lines in 2023.

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