The New York Giants have been busy this off-season trying to bolster several positions, notably the wide receiver corps. However, their run defense is one spot that needed essential resource allocation, and general manager Joe Schoen did just that.
Last year, the Giants allowed 144.2 yards per game on the ground, good for 27th in the league. Obviously, that was a metric that needed to be improved upon, and after several injuries, the Giants consistently got worse in that specific category. Dexter Lawrence managed to maintain his health the entire year, but Leonard Williams missed a sizable chunk of games for the first time in his career.
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The Giants needed to add a strong interior presence:
Finding a legit interior run stopper was essential, which is where Rakeem Nunez-Roches enters the fold. The former Tampa Bay Buccaneer is 29 years old, standing at 6’2″ and 307 pounds. He signed a three-year, $12 million deal with the Giants, posting 33 combined tackles with 2.0 sacks and five tackles for loss across 17 games played in 2022.
In fact, he only missed 5.4% of his tackles. He was a consistently solid run defender in the trenches, which is extremely valuable for the Giants. They also signed Bobby Okereke to a four-year, $40 million deal to feature as the team’s top linebacker, providing critical support behind the defensive line.
Another thing to note about Rakeem is that he is a tremendous locker-room presence and plays with intensity. As a former sixth-round pick, he’s played in over 100 games as a professional and even played a part in Tampa Bay’s Super Bowl run several years ago.
The veteran interior defensive lineman is a team player and fits the Giants’ newfound culture like a puzzle piece. Head coach Brian Daboll will love his company and what he brings to the defense: ferocity in the trenches and a great personality to boot.