The New York Giants are setting their sights on a robust defensive overhaul for the 2023 season, having allocated ample draft resources, especially toward refining the cornerback position.
The Giants Rely Heavily on Dexter Lawrence and Leonard Williams
At the core of the Giants’ defense is their formidable defensive line, headlined by the dynamic duo of Dexter Lawrence and Leonard Williams. This pair not only stands out in the team but also exhibits potential to rank among the NFL’s elite. Echoing this sentiment, ESPN’s analysis places them as the top combination as the new season dawns.
Mike Clay from ESPN notes, “Leonard Williams is a certified superstar and Dexter Lawrence II was arguably better in 2022 (only Chris Jones had a higher PFF grade). Rakeem Nunez-Roches and underrated A’Shawn Robinson were solid offseason additions and will play sizable roles.”
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Lawrence’s Ascent to Stardom
Referring to Williams as a ‘superstar’ might be a stretch for some, but Lawrence is undeniably on a trajectory toward that status. Fresh off a significant contract extension, the 25-year-old’s stats from the previous season are impressive: 70 pressures, 53 tackles, a mere 9.8% missed tackle rate, 42 stops, and a commendable nine sacks, especially for someone in the defensive tackle position.
In comparison to his 2021 season, Dexter’s recent performances shine brighter, with his pressure figures nearly doubling. To maximize Lawrence’s potential and ensure he remains fresh, the Giants have bolstered their interior support, a strategy aimed at reducing fatigue and ensuring peak performance throughout the season.
Williams’ Battle with Injuries
While Lawrence soared, Williams faced challenges in the 2022 season, particularly with injuries. Typically known for his durability, he recorded 723 total snaps, the fewest in his professional journey. His contribution included 42 pressures, 36 tackles, 26 stops, and an 11.5% missed tackle rate.
Despite a promising start to the 2022 season, injuries haunted Williams. After sidelining for Weeks 3–5, he contended with multiple injuries, including a troubling MCL injury followed by a neck issue that rendered tackling excruciating.
The prospect of both Lawrence and Williams operating at full health presents a tantalizing potential for the Giants’ defense in the forthcoming season.