The New York Giants‘ defense has undergone numerous changes this offseason. They have seen two star defenders leave, Landon Collins and Olivier Vernon, opening big holes in both the secondary and the front seven.
But the Giants have also made plenty of acquisitions to try to patch these holes. They revamped their secondary in the 2019 NFL Draft and also added a stud rookie defensive lineman to their already solid young core.
This raises an interesting question for the 2019 NFL season. Which unit will perform better? The secondary or the defensive line?
Why The Secondary Might Perform Better
The New York Giants‘ secondary has been one of the league’s worst over the past two years. In 2017, the Giants’ secondary allowed 252.4 passing yards per game (ranked 31st in the NFL). In 2018, the Giants’ secondary allowed 252.8 passing yards (ranked 23rd in the NFL), showing minimal to no improvement.
Fortunately, Big Blue has made some major changes to help improve the backend of the defense. New York drafted three defensive backs in the 2019 NFL Draft (four if counting Sam Beal). These young cornerbacks wi
The Giants should have a solid new cornerback duo in Janoris Jenkins and DeAndre Baker. Jenkins has been a solid player with the Giants the past three seasons and Baker is a talented young rookie that New York drafted in the first-round.
But the Giants are not just set on the outside. At slot cornerback, the Giants have bounds of talent. Grant Haley is heading into his second season after a promising rookie season that saw him break up 2 passes and total 33 tackles in only 10 games.
The Giants’ best new defensive addition this offseason was Jabrill Peppers. The Giants acquired Peppers in a trade with Cleveland, and Jabrill should instantly be the Giants’ best defender. Peppers is a playmaker all over a defense, as he has experience playing just about everywhere.
These Jabrill Peppers highlights 🔥 pic.twitter.com/GpXiqKhPyd
— New York Giants (@Giants) March 13, 2019
In 2018, most of Jabrill’s snaps were played at safety (281 snaps), but he played a lot of snaps at linebacker (172 snaps), edge (133 snaps), and slot cornerback (108 snaps), too, according to Pro Football Focus. The Swiss-Army Knife Julius Peppers was able to snag an interception, a sack, and record 79 combined tackles.
The Giants’ new secondary has a lot of young potential. But this unit is not the only piece of the defense with a lot of potential.
Why The Defensive Line Might Peform Better
The New York Giants’ defensive line is vastly underrated as of right now. They have an immensly talented young core that should serve them well for the next decade (if Gettleman manages to keep everyone tigether).
First up on Big Blue’s feroucious defensive line is Dalvin Tomlinson. Tomlinson has been described by Pro Football Focus as one of the NFL’s secret defensive superstars. This is because of Dalvin’s incredibly efficient play throughout his first two professional seasons.
Dalvin Tomlinson had the longest active streak of tackles without a miss with 60. Dalvin has only missed one tackle in his two-year NFL career. Tomlinson has also racked up 24 defensive stops against the run in two years in the NFL. His continued development will make him one of the best defensive linemen in the NFL.
Next up is one of New York’s brightest young stars on defense, B.J. Hill. Hill was a third-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft and he played much better than his draft stock in his rookie season.
Hill proved that he is an excellent interior penetrator in 2018. B.J. set a New York Giants franchise record in 2018. His 5.5 sacks were the most ever by a rookie in Giants history since the sack became an official statistic in 1982. The 5.5 sacks were also the fourth most by a rookie this season.
Last but not least, the Giants’ latest addition to the offensive line, Dexter Lawrence. The Giants drafted Dexter Lawrence with the 17th overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. Lawrence is a young stud with tons of potential who could make an impact instantly.
Dexter Lawrence is known for his incredible work in run-defense, but he is also a criminally underrated interior pass-rusher. In three years at Clemson, Dexter totaled 131 tackles and 18 tackles for loss. But Dexter Lawrence also racked up 33 total pressures in 2018 (T12th in draft class) and he also had the third-highest pass rush productivity percentage in the draft class, applying pressure on 13.8% of his snaps.
NY is making more waves 😬
Giants select Dexter Lawrence No. 17 overall pic.twitter.com/QJPjeJcDw4
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) April 26, 2019
The Giants’ defensive line has the potential to be one of the best young defensive lines in the NFL in 2019. The secondary has a lot of potential, but the talent is not as proven as the defensive line. Personally, I think the defensive line will perform better out of the two units because the secondary has too many young and unproven players. However, both units should surprise and be a lot better than most expect them to be this season.