The New York Giants no longer have room for failure, as the past three years have been disappointing and resulted in a revolving door of head coaches. Since hiring Joe Judge, the team seems to be on a better path, but only the regular season will give us legitimate answers.
This off-season has already been different, as the NFL draft seemed influenced by Judge. He also utilized the rare free agent tender to retain Markus Golden potentially. These small but robust moves can be the difference between success and failure in specific units.
However, the defense still requires plenty of attention and refinement. Judge will be more of a walk around head coach monitoring every unit, leaving his coordinators to do their jobs. New defensive coordinator Patrick Graham will have a lot on his plate in year one. Installing a new defense with many different sets and tendencies can be problematic.
Nonetheless, the defense has several talented players that will hopefully develop an identity moving forward.
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Let’s take a look at the three most important New York Giants defenders:
1.) Dexter Lawrence
Lawrence earns the number one spot simply based on his youth and potential. During his rookie season, the former Clemson stand-out posted 38 combined tackles, nine quarterback hits, and 2.5 sacks over 16 games. His numbers were more efficient than Leonard Williams’, who is currently asking for $18-20 million per season.
Considering Dexter is still on his rookie contract, he represents additional value in the monetary category. His production and statistical efficiency should see an improvement with one year of experience under his belt. He is a building block and staple on defense and will be utilized as such for the foreseeable future.
Several weeks ago, an anonymous general manager and AFC scout told Matt Lombardo of NJ.com that Dexter ranks atop the players on the Giants’ defense.
“It has to be Dexter Lawrence or James Bradberry at this point. Lawrence is a legitimate run-stuffer up the middle, and Bradberry is a dominant cornerback with good size and ball-skills,” the GM said.
“I believe it will eventually be Andrew Thomas, but I can’t give him that title just yet. My choice is Dexter Lawrence. He’s just such a factor in the running game and now has been showing emerging pass-rush ability,” he said.