The New York Giants are building one of the most fearsome front sevens in the league, led by a defensive line that ranks among the NFL’s very best. According to Pro Football Focus’ Zoltán Buday, the Giants’ defensive line ranks ninth in the NFL. Dexter Lawrence and Leonard Williams lead the way as one of the top defensive duos in football.
The Giants’ defensive line ranks 9th in the NFL per PFF
Big Blue’s defensive line ranks inside the top ten entering 2023 following major improvements last season. “No player improved as much as interior defender Dexter Lawrence did in 2022, ending the campaign as the second-highest-graded player at his position (91.6),” Buday writes.
Lawrence set career-highs in sacks (7.5), combined tackles (68), tackles for loss (7), and quarterback hits (28) in 2022, earning himself a spot on the AP All-Pro Second Team. He is joined by the veteran Williams who has consistently been one of the best defensive linemen in the league throughout his career.
Williams ranked 12th in the NFL on PFF’s list of Top 32 Interior Defenders ahead of the 2023 NFL season. Lawrence ranked third following his 70-pressure campaign in 2022.
“Lawrence and Leonard Williams form arguably the best interior defender duo in the NFL,” Buday writes. “This defensive line could enter the next tier if either of their young edge defenders —Kayvon Thibodeaux or Azeez Ojulari — make a leap in 2023.”
Thibodeaux and Ojulari are both breakout candidates for the upcoming 2023 season. In 2022, Thibodeaux posted four sacks as a rookie and routinely came up big in the fourth quarter. Ojulari struggled to stay on the field, but was wildly productive when healthy, recording 5.5 sacks and three forced fumbles in only seven games.
If Thibodeaux and Ojulari take that next step and stay healthy in 2023, the Giants could have one of the best front fours in the league. New York also added depth to their front line, signing veteran free agents A’Shawn Robinson and Rakeem Nunez-Roches on the interior.
Improving against the run will be a priority for New York this season. In 2022, Big Blue allowed an average of 144.2 rushing yards per game (sixth-most in the league). The added depth on the interior should help the Giants improve in this facet, but taking a step forward in the pass-rushing department wouldn’t hurt either.
Defensive coordinator Wink Martindale has plenty of talent to deploy in the trenches. In 2023, the Giants’ defensive line should be one of the best in the NFL.