The New York Giants addressed the defensive line sparingly during the free agency period this offseason, but they didn’t waste any time once the 2018 NFL draft came around.
The Giants already boast one of the league’s best defensive tackles in Damon Harrison and a promising sophomore in Dalvin Tomlinson. Both will play a tremendous role in the defense moving forward in 2018.
But the priority will be keeping them fresh and healthy down the stretch, which is where the draft picks come into play.
General manager Dave Gettleman elected to take Miami DT B.J. Hill and NC States’ R.J. McIntosh with their respective third and fifth-round picks. Both are serviceable defensive lineman with high ceilings.
How will Harrison reach his full potential in James Bettcher’s defense?
As we know, Bettcher brings over a 3-4 defense from the Arizona Cardinals, or at least a hybrid version. Harrison will play an integral role in his scheme, primarily lined up opposite the opposing center in a 2-gap formation. The 2-gap will allow the Giants to plug the holes with their linebackers but also play the pass appropriately and utilize their interior lineman to shift the offensive line.
For example, picture the line looking like this:
Harrison would be lined up across from the center with Olivier Vernon and Josh Mauro on either side. The two middle linebackers (Alec Ogletree and B.J. Goodson) would be centered behind Harrison. The idea is that the down defensive lineman will be responsible for the two-gaps on either side of the center and opposing tackles. The middle linebackers will spy on the running back and shoot the gap if it’s a running play. The outside linebackers (Kareem Martin and Lorenzo Carter) will be lined up on the outside to force the run towards the inside where the inside linebackers can clean up.
The New York Giants have a new crop of rookies and a ton of talent on both sides of the ball. You won’t want to miss out on any breaking news stories, updates, or every-day activities! Sign up for FREE to receive premium content delivered straight to your email.
The 1-gap scheme:
The Giants will utilize the 1-gap technique primarily on first-downs, as you can assume a running play will ensue.
But what is the 1-gap scheme?
If you take a look at this snapshot, you will see that each defender is designated one gap, whereas in the 2-gap the defensive lineman are assigned to cover two gaps, which allows the linebackers to stay back and spy on the quarterback.
If we picture the Giants lined up in this scheme, you will see every defender attack their assigned gap immediately after the snap. This is more or less an all-out blitz. It’s heavily used on expected running plays and designed mismatches in coverage. We should expect to see this formation against run-heavy teams.