Giants’ defensive line could be elite in 2024 according to PFF

New York Giants linebacker Kayvon Thibodeaux (5) celebrates a sack with the defense in the first half at MetLife Stadium
Danielle Parhizkaran/ / USA TODAY NETWORK

The New York Giants made a splash on defense this offseason, trading for star pass-rusher Brian Burns. The addition of Burns into the lineup could give New York a stellar defensive front this season. In a recent article listing one positive takeaway from free agency for each NFL team, Pro Football Focus declared that the Giants could have an elite defensive line this season.

PFF believes the Giants could have an elite defensive line in 2024

Burns will join the lineup and combine with DT Dexter Lawrence and EDGE Kayvon Thibodeaux to form a fearsome pass-rushing trio on Big Blue’s defensive line. PFF believes that trio could give the Giants an elite unit this season:

“Dexter Lawrence is one of the best players in football, and Kayvon Thibodeaux has a ton of talent,” PFF’s Dalton Wasserman wrote. “The Giants still needed a bookend to alleviate the onus on him to be the premier pass rusher, though.

“The team subsequently took a massive swing on Brian Burns. At his peak, Burns is a durable, elite pass rusher capable of taking over games. He just needs to play at that level more consistently to justify his massive new contract. One thing working in his favor is new defensive coordinator Shane Bowen’s scheme, which should allow Burns to play more often from a three-point stance as opposed to being an outside linebacker.”

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How the Giants’ personnel will benefit from their new defensive system

New defensive coordinator Shane Bowen was hired following the tumultuous resignation of Wink Martindale. The scheme is expected to undergo significant changes with general manager Joe Schoen sharing that he expects his team to play “a little bit less man coverage.”

The formation of the defense should also change. During his time with the Tennessee Titans, Bowen ran a hybrid, multiple-front defense that often played with four down linemen, rather than the typical three down that Martindale deployed. However, Bowen’s defense, as a hybrid, often switches between both a 3-4 and a 4-3, while relying heavily on nickel and dime personnel packages.

These changes should benefit the Giants’ top pass-rushers. Blitzing less and rushing just four should create more one-on-one opportunities for Thibodeaux, Burns, and Lawrence. This new defensive system will allow these top defensive linemen to maximize their pass-rushing abilities and play off of one another, hopefully leading to increased pressure on the quarterback.

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