New York Giants: What’s Dexter Lawrence’s role on the defense in 2019?

New York Giants defensive lineman, Dexter Lawrence.

The New York Giants drafted a big body in Dexter Lawrence, but what role will he play in the season ahead?

When general manager Dave Gettleman selected Clemson defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence with the 17th overall pick in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft, most were dumb-founded.

After snagging Daniel Jones at No. 6, most were ready to admit Gettleman to an insane asylum. With Montez Sweat on the board, it was an interesting signing, but after further review, it makes sense given the Giants’ defensive scheme.

DC James Bettcher’s 3-4 style of play forced the interior defensive line to do a lot of the heavy lifting, ultimately valuing interior defenders more than outside linebackers. That attests to the lack of resources they allocated toward the position and why letting Olivier Vernon go wasn’t a caution-worthy decision.

Bringing in Lawrence will certainly have an impact in the run game, but how about the pass?

Big Blue is betting on Dexter Lawrence’s pass-rush skills to blossom:

Gettleman is excited about Lawrence, especially because he believes his pass-rush skills are present, despite only earning 1.5 sacks in 2018. However, he did record seven tackles for a loss. At 6-4, 342-pounds, the Clemson product could shed a few pounds in favor of increasing his speed off the line of scrimmage and helping him break into the backfield more efficiently.

“I gave them that perspective, so it’s kinda just up to me,” Lawrence said, according to the New York Post. “Cause I know who I am. I know I can pass rush and get to the quarterback. It’s up to me to prove myself right. And then, I tell the story. I don’t let anyone else tell the story.”

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Lawrence, who recently signed his rookie deal with the Giants, doesn’t pay too much attention to the press — a positive attribute considering the hostility of the New York media. Going about his own business and developing his tangible traits will be the priority in his rookie season.

The Giants do need him to be a force in the middle of the field and pairing up alongside Dalvin Tomlinson and BJ Hill should enable him to reach his potential.

New York Giants: Can RJ McIntosh make an impact in second year?

New York Giants, RJ McIntosh

The New York Giants have begun rebuilding their defensive front with fresh, young talent. Adding first-round talent Dexter Lawrence to the interior of the line should not only help in the run defense but also rushing the passer. The Giants are keen on bringing out the best in Lawrence, especially in regards to his ability to rush the passer.

However, I want to take a look at RJ McIntosh, a player that sat his entire rookie season with a thyroid issue. Last season was essentially a red-shirt year for the defensive lineman, but he’s finally prepared to make an impact.

The former fifth-round pick has earned first-team reps this offseason during OTAs, and coaches have been impressed with his abilities thus far. It will be difficult for him to break into the starting unit with BJ Hill, Dalvin Tomlinson, and now Dexter all vying for starting roles.

Racking up 5.5 sacks and 23 tackles for a loss in his final year of college does show he’s a capable player that can be influential in the trenches. I can see the Giants utilizing him in a rotational role to minimize the fatigue of the starters.

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Shurmur says: “He is caught up. He is doing well. With defensive linemen, we will see more once we can get in more hitting situations. He is moving around well and has gotten much stronger since he has gotten here. He fits well in the defense and looks like he is getting himself right for training camp.”(NJ.com)

Getting back into football shape will be the biggest challenge for McIntosh, as missing an entire season surely stunted his growth. He’s feeling healthy, though, and is ready to take on the challenge.

“I feel great. I feel healthy. I feel like I’m ready,” McIntosh said after the Giants’ mandatory minicamp, via NJ Advance Media. “It was a great day, a lot of competing, a lot of reps.”