On Friday, the New York Giants made a big-time trade. The Giants traded edge defender Olivier Vernon to the Browns in exchange for guard Kevin Zeitler. The trade was a win-win for both teams.
The Giants made a major upgrade on their offensive line in this trade. However, the trade also left another giant hole in Big Blue’s defense. Many fans and analysts have been predicting who they think the Giants will sign or draft in order to replace Olivier Vernon.
The Giants will likely sign someone, but there is a talented, young player already on the Giants that most people seem to be forgetting about. In the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft, the Giants selected Lorenzo Carter.
Why Lorenzo Carter Might Breakout In 2019
Lorenzo Carter was a mid-round steal for the Giants in last year’s draft. He was tremendously talented, but he was also a raw prospect that needed time to develop. With his rookie season under his belt, Carter is primed to breakout in his sophomore season.
In his rookie season, Lorenzo showed a lot of potential. His play was limited because the Giants had Vernon, but in 2019, Carter should see more playing time. Carter only started in 2 games in 2018, but he played in 15.
Through those 15 games, Carter totaled 43 tackles and 7 tackles for loss. Carter was also good rushing the passer with 4 sacks and 10 quarterback hits. Considering his minimal playing time, Lorenzo Carter was highly efficient.
According to Pro Football Focus, Lorenzo Carter finished with an overall grade of 65.8. This grade ranked Carter as the 58th edge defender in the NFL, which is not bad for a rookie. On top of that, Carter’s grade was top 5 at his position amongst all rookies in 2018. Carter has the potential to surpass first and second round players with an expanded role in 2019.
Check out some Lorenzo Carter highlights below:
6. ED Lorenzo Carter
The athletic ED out of UGA has shown to be versatile defender in his rookie year. He's currently 1 of 2 rookie EDs to have at least 21 pressures, 5 run stops & a Coverage Grade over 80.0 (min 30 cov. snaps). The other is Harold Landry.#GiantsPride pic.twitter.com/ifI46GhEF7
— Matt Stopsky (@MStopsky) December 21, 2018
Athletic is an understatement when discussing Lorenzo Carter. He is a super-freak. At last year’s NFL Combine, Carter ran a speedy 4.50 forty-yard dash. That was the second fastest time out of all edge defenders in last year’s draft class.
Fans should not forget about Lorenzo Carter when discussing the Giants’ options on defense. Carter was one of the most hyped mid-round rookies heading into the 2018 season. He deserves even more hype in 2019.
After showing promise in 2018, Carter will have more opportunities in 2019. If he is able to capitalize on these opportunities, Carter will secure the starting edge job for the Giants. Carter, with a bit more consistency, could progress into an elite speed rusher.