The New York Giants’ defense needs the best version of Lorenzo Carter in 2020. Over the past two seasons, Carter has been nothing more than an average player. The Giants will need him to start at OLB if Markus Golden goes elsewhere. Through his first two seasons, the Giants have not seen the full potential of Carter, but a new defensive scheme could benefit him, and the new additions to the defense could play a big factor as well.
Lorenzo’s 2019 season stats may seem very average, but there are several areas he needs to improve. In 2019, Carter played in 15 games and started in 12. Also, had one forced fumble, 13 quarterback hits, and 25 solo tackles. I think the solo tackle number needs to be a lot higher. In the NFL, an OLB is responsible for containing the edge and not letting running backs bounce outside the tackles.
Needs to improve his pass coverage
The Giants’ defense has struggled in the passing game over the past three seasons. Especially linebackers in general, Lorenzo Carter, was not used a lot in pass defense, but when targeted, he struggled. In 2019, Carter was targeted five times and allowed three completions for 35 yards. Now, I know it may not seem like a lot, but this is a 60% completion percentage allowed when targeted. Overall, Carter did improve from 2018, but he needs to be better if Markus Golden is no longer a Giant.
An improved secondary
This offseason, the Giants made it a focal point to fix the secondary. With the additions of Xavier McKinney, James Bradberry, and Darnay Holmes, I see the Giants having a top-20 defense in the NFL. There is a lot of young talent on defense; this is a significant factor when it comes to the development of chemistry and coalition. These three guys will be huge in the secondary for Lorenzo Carter, they will allow Carter to focus on rushing the passer and making tackles in the backfield. There will be times where Carter gets stuck in coverage, but the secondary will be behind him to bail him out if anything goes wrong. This year’s secondary is a lot more promising than 2019’s; a healthy Jabrill Peppers looking to shock the world, and McKinney, who is going to put on a show.
Increase snap count
At the end of the day, the only way Lorenzo will get better is by being on the field more. Last season, Carter played in 723 defensive snaps (65%). I want to see Carter on the field for 85% of defensive snaps. Not only will the reps help improve his game, but this will also build his confidence. I think that’s the biggest problem, Carter being confident in the defensive scheme. Hopefully, the new defensive scheme with coach Graham will fit Carter’s playstyle better. Joe Judge is all about making players’ skill set match what his plans are.