The New York Giants are sticking with a relatively young pass rush unit, even if they do end up retaining Markus Golden for the 2020 season. New head coach Joe Judge and general manager Dave Gettleman used the rare free-agent tender on Golden, which would pay him 110% of his 2019 salary for one year.
However, the core of the outside linebacker unit revolves around Oshane Ximines and even Lorenzo Carter.
Ximines was a third-round pick in 2019, posting 4.5 sacks over just 45% of defensive snaps. As a rookie, he stepped in and made an impact instantaneously, also tallying 12 pressures and 25 combined tackles.
Coming from Old Dominion, Oshane displayed a vast array of pass rush moves that one normally wouldn’t have coming out of a smaller school. He is prepared to increase his production in 2020 and add more diversity to his game.
However, Ximines can only excel if the secondary holds up, and the other pass rushers on the team are able to put pressure on opposing quarterbacks. That is where a player like Carter comes into play, who struggled last season.
Carter is only going into his third season in the NFL, so there’s plenty of untapped potential to be extracted. The Giants also signed Kyler Fackrell, formally of the Green Bay Packers. He last posted a successful season in 2018 (10.5 sacks), when Patrick Graham was his linebackers coach.
The New York Giants are putting their chips on the success of an interesting pass rush grouping:
While this grouping seems like a band of misfit toys, the Giants are building out a defense focusing on the trenches. The interior defensive line consisting of Dalvin Tomlinson, Dexter Lawrence, and Leonard Williams, is meant to disrupt the trenches and put interior pressure on quarterbacks.
Hopefully, their impact will force more turnovers and give the secondary more assistance.
Ximines, though, has the potential to be a staple on the defense moving forward. Posting 4.5 sacks in his rookie season in less than half of defensive snaps is impressive. If he can build on these numbers in Graham’s scheme, his contribution to the team overall will exceed expectations for a third-round selection. Again, he has an imposing number of pass rush moves, and honing down on his fundamentals and strength will put him in a position to succeed.
Graham’s system will include a variety of different blitzing sets — focusing on safeties moving up to show blitz-looks but dropping into coverage. Expect to see a very unpredictable unit that will take time to gel and build chemistry, but the potential of his scheme is sky-high.