New York Giants: 2 defensive players have breakout potential in 2020

Alexander Wilson
New York Giants, Dexter Lawrence
Sep 22, 2019; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Giants defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence (97) celebrates after sacking Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (not pictured) during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Taking a look at three defensive players for the New York Giants that could break out in 2020:

The Giants’ defense ranked 30th in points allowed during the 2019 season, allowing an average of 28.19 points per game. In the yards allowed section, they ranked 25th, allowing 377.31 yards per game. Ultimately, the Giants ranked 20th or worse in nearly every category. One of the more problematic statistics was their -17 turnover differential, showing how much they actually lost the football on offense and forced their defense out onto the field.

Increasing their time of possession to allow the offense more opportunity is essential, and that starts with Daniel Jones’ ball security and taking time off the clock with the running game. However, the defense must step up significantly moving forward, and these three players could make a significant difference in 2020.

1.) Dexter Lawrence

The former Clemson standout had a solid rookie season, playing in all 16 games and logging 63% of all defensive snaps. He recorded 38 combine tackles, 2.5 sacks, and nine quarterback hits. His 11.6 missed tackle rate was a bit too high, but for a rookie, Lawrence played admirably.

A year of experience under his belt should promote further development, and gaining Leonard Williams on the line should also help his productivity increase. The Giants expect Lawrence to be a big run stopper and also put pressure on opposing quarterbacks, given the 3-4 base scheme.

2.) Oshane Ximines

Ximines is one of my favorite players going into year two for the Giants, and his 4.5 sacks on just 45% of defensive stats make him a prime breakout candidate. He missed zero tackles last season as a rookie and got after the quarterback well, knocking down the quarterback three times and collecting 12 pressures.

The big storyline is the Giants might have a weak pass rush next season, but I believe Oshane can be a significant factor for them. Considering Graham’s desire to utilize linebackers and safeties in a schemed pass rush, this unit could be vastly underrated.