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New York Giants: Underdog Pass Rusher of the Year

by Alexander Wilson
Can Markus Golden be a great player for the New York Giants?

The New York Giants didn’t do much to address the defensive line in regard to pass rushers this past offseason. They drafted Dexter Lawrence with the 17th overall pick hoping he can supplement that lack of talent at the position, but the reality is, Lawrence isn’t much of a pass-rush specialist, more a run-stopping cog.

Who else did the New York Giants bring in?

They drafted the first player ever to come out of Old Dominion, Oshane Ximines, and while he’s talented, there’s plenty of room for improvement coming from a bottom-tier school. However, the front-office had him graded as a second-round prospect, a bit high for my likings.

In addition, they have Lorenzo Carter going into his second year as a key outside linebacker in James Bettcher’s 3-4 scheme. They also signed former Arizona Cardinal, Markus Golden, who’s my underdog of the year for the edge-rushers.

Golden is three years removed from a 12.5 sack season (pro football reference). The 6’3″, 260-pound defender is finally at full health and preparing to return to his former self. He only played in 4 games during the 2017 season and 11 in ’18. He has recorded just 2.5 sacks in two seasons, yet I feel he can be an impact player for the Giants this upcoming season.

“I’m hunting,” Golden said with a smile. “I feel good. I feel like myself again.”

Signed to a one-year, $4.75 deal, the Giants invested nicely in the four-year veteran. Bettcher coached Golden is his breakout year two years ago, and they’re hoping to replicate his stellar performance. Not only does Golden have solid attributes and skills, but he’s also a bright light in the locker room and provides a positive atmosphere for his teammates.

Bettcher stated in regard to Golden, “He plays exceptionally hard,” is “relentless.” The Giants are investing not just money, but confidence in the veteran. Trading away Olivier Vernon to the Cleveland Browns opens up a big hole that must be filled by equal talent. At the very least, Golden will be on the field while Vernon would’ve missed 7 games due to injury.

It ultimately comes down to health with Golden to maximize his production. He seems to have shaken off his knee brace and can play at a high level once again, or so we hope.


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