New York Giants: Dalvin Tomlinson A Long-Term Building Block

The New York Giants have quickly built one of the best young defensive lines in the NFL recently. Since taking over as general manager in 2018, Dave Gettleman has invested the following into the defensive line: 2018 third-round pick, 2018 seventh-round pick, 2019 first-round pick, 2019 seventh-round pick, 2020 third-round pick, 2021 fifth-round pick, $16.1 million franchise tag.

Interestingly enough, one of the best players on the Giants’ defensive line was not a Dave Gettleman acquisition. Jerry Reese’s 2017 second-round draft pick, Dalvin Tomlinson, has been the most consistent and reliable defender on the Giants over the past few years. Soon enough, the young defensive lineman will be due for a new contract.

What Might Tomlinson’s Contract Look Like?

The interior defensive lineman position is growing particularly expensive. Aaron Donald, the league’s best at the position, signed a record-breaking contract worth $22 million on average annually in 2018. Now, Chris Jones of the Kansas City Chiefs is searching for a contract north of $20 million and could find himself on the trade block because of it. With this considered, Dalvin Tomlinson’s contract could be north of $10 million per year. However, there is reason to believe he is fully worth that contract value.

Dalvin Tomlinson Stats and Highlights

Dalvin Tomlinson is as consistent as a defensive lineman can be. In 2019, Dalvin only missed 3 tackles, a missed tackle rate of only 5.8%. In 2018 he was even more consistent, missing just one tackle (1.7%). Tomlinson has played and started in all 16 games in each of his three NFL seasons.

The 2019 season was the best of Dalvin Tomlinson’s young career. In 2019, Dalvin recorded 49 combined tackles, a career-high 7 tackles for loss, and a career-high 3.5 sacks, 13 pressures, and 7 quarterback hits.

2020 could be an even better season for Tomlinson. Tomlinson compared the Giants’ new defensive scheme to the scheme he used at Alabama in college:

“The technique kind of reminds me of my Alabama days. You can only pick up so much on virtual meetings and things like that so I feel like I’ve picked up the playbook pretty well over the virtual meetings,” Tomlinson said to Sirius XM NFL Radio.

Tomlinson has tried his best to learn the Giants’ playbook remotely, however, the COVID-19 pandemic has made that increasingly difficult for the Giants. The Gmen have a new head coach and new schemes to learn on both sides of the ball. If Dalvin Tomlinson is able to learn the new scheme by the start of the season, he could break out for another career-year.

New York Giants: New System Reminds Dalvin Tomlinson Of Alabama Days

New York Giants, Dalvin Tomlinson

There’s a lot that the New York Giants could learn from the Alabama Crimson Tide. As the Giants declined through the second half of the 2010s to enter the new decade in a rebuilding phase, Alabama has been one of the most dominant college programs in the country during the same span. Alabama is known for winning not because of a few exceptional players, but because of reliable systems. And coaches who know those systems have been hired many times by other schools looking to replicate the same success.

The Giants did that, in a way, when they hired Joe Judge. While Judge was with the Patriots when he was hired by the Giants, he also has past experience as a special teams assistant at Alabama from 2009 to 2011. It’s likely that the Giants considered that when they made the hire, and it looks like that decision might already be paying off.

According to Dalvin Tomlinson, the new defense headed by coordinator Patrick Graham reminds him of his days at Alabama.

“The technique kind of reminds me of my Alabama days. You can only pick up so much on virtual meetings and things like that so I feel like I’ve picked up the playbook pretty well over the virtual meetings,” Tomlinson said to Sirius XM NFL Radio.

But Tomlinson is still feeling the effects of the virtual offseason just like anyone else. “The experience of just being on the football field and going through drills and things like that can’t really be replaced. Just going against another person on the field every day makes you a whole better player.”

“Your technique has to be precise. If you take one wrong step, it could be a bad play and bad down for you and the whole defense. So working on and critiquing your technique day in and day out is pretty crucial. You have to drill it in day in and day out even when you’re not even practicing,” Tomlinson continued further, referring to playing on the defensive line.

Tomlinson is projected to be the starter at nose tackle by ESPN, which puts plenty of pressure on him to improve his technique in the way that he spoke about. Training camp is the first chance we’ll get to see Tomlinson and the others back in action on the field, and if everything goes to plan, that will be as soon as late July.

Why The New York Giants Should Extend Dalvin Tomlinson

New York Giants, Dalvin Tomlinson

The New York Giants are building one of the best defensive lines in the NFL. Dave Gettleman has invested plenty of assets into the front line of defense since taking over as general manager in 2018. Gettleman has invested the following into the defensive line: 2018 third-round pick, 2018 seventh-round pick, 2019 first-round pick, 2019 seventh-round pick, 2020 third-round pick, 2021 fifth-round pick, $16.1 million franchise tag.

Granted, this investment has paid off. The Giants have an excellent defensive line and it is the strongest unit on the roster. Interestingly, though, the one defensive lineman that Gettleman did not acquire himself is actually the best on the team: 2017 second-round pick Dalvin Tomlinson.

Dalvin Tomlinson Stats and Highlights

In 2019, third-year defensive lineman Dalvin Tomlinson had a career-year. Tomlinson saw his stats double upon the arrival of defensive end Leonard Williams. In 2019, Dalvin recorded 49 combined tackles, a career-high 7 tackles for loss, and a career-high 3.5 sacks, 13 pressures, and 7 quarterback hits.

Dalvin Tomlinson has not recorded a single penalty in his entire career. He is a disciplined, reliable defender that makes life difficult for opposing linemen and running backs. Another testament to Tomlinson’s reliability is his missed tackle rate. Dalvin only missed 3 tackles in 2019, a missed tackle rate of only 5.8%. In 2018 he was even more consistent, missing just one tackle (1.7%). On top of that, Tomlinson has never missed a game in his career.

Dalvin Tomlinson’s Contract

Entering his fourth season, the Giants will soon need to make a decision regarding Dalvin Tomlinson’s contract. He was a second-round pick so they do not have a fifth-year option on his contract. The Giants will need to decide whether or not to extend Tomlinson after the 2020 season.

Dalvin Tomlinson has been the most consistent and efficient defender on the Giants for the past three years. He absolutely deserves a contract extension and the Giants cannot afford to let him walk. The Giants might have depth on the defensive line, but Tomlinson is arguably their best defender. At only 26 years-old, Dalvin is someone the Giants should lock in for the long haul.

Should the New York Giants extend interior defensive lineman Dalvin Tomlinson?

New York Giants, Dalvin Tomlinson

Should the New York Giants extend Dalvin Tomlinson beyond 2020?

The New York Giants will have a few decisions to make next off-season, including the extension or release of interior defensive lineman Dalvin Tomlinson. Tomlinson is on the final year of his rookie contract, and after posting favorable numbers in 2019, general manager Dave Gettleman, if he is still around, will have to make a tough choice.

While I don’t think Tomlinson will be astronomically expensive, he could earn a nice three-year contract making $8 million per season. In 2019, he had his best campaign, posting 49 combined tackles, nine quarterback hits, seven tackles for loss, and 3.5 sacks.

They say the best ability is availability, and Tomlinson has yet to miss a game at the NFL level. His health and consistency remain a significant factor behind his success and development. However, the addition of Leonard Williams significantly impacted his performance. He nearly doubled his production during the second half of the season last year after Williams was traded for.

“I love Leonard, he is a great guy,’’ defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson said, per the New York Post. “I feel like we clicked off the field for the most part because we both love animated video games. We became instant best friends, I guess you could say. I love playing beside him, he is a great guy. He brings great energy. We have great chemistry. I’m looking forward to playing with him this upcoming season.’’

The influence of the former Jets allowed Tomlinson to more than double his sack totals last year and begin to unlock some of his hidden talents. At just 26-years-old, Tomlinson has plenty of time to continue improving, and if the New York Giants retain Williams on a long-term deal, I believe Tomlinson deserves the same. Nonetheless, they could elect to let him walk in free agency if they offer Williams an extension, as the Giants will be looking to spread out their money and maximize each position with more cap-space likely becoming available.

The Giants have yet to land Williams on a multi-year deal as he currently stands to make $16.1 million on the franchise tag, a high number based on his production in recent years. Gettleman sees the value of his play and chemistry with his surrounding defensive linemen.

Why The New York Giants’ Defensive Line Is The Strongest Position Group On The Roster

The New York Giants‘ defense is loaded with young talent. New York has invested a lot of draft capital over the past two years to improve its defense. They have found talent in the secondary and linebacker corps, but they have found more talent on the defensive line than anywhere else. The Giants have quickly turned their defensive line into the team’s strongest unit, thanks to some hefty investments that have loaded their roster with young, talented players.

Hefty Investments

Since 2018, Dave Gettleman has invested 2018 third-round pick, 2018 seventh-round pick, 2019 first-round pick, 2019 seventh-round pick, 2020 third-round pick, 2021 fifth-round pick, and $16.1 million franchise tag into the Giants’ defensive line. Additionally, former general manager Jerry Reese spent a second-round pick on the defensive line in 2017. All of these investments have allowed the Giants to build an excellent group of defensive linemen.

Loads Of Youthful Talent

The oldest player in the group is Dalvin Tomlinson, and calling him old is wildly inaccurate. Tomlinson will be only 26 years old when the season starts. The next oldest player is Leonard Williams, who will also be 26 years old when the season starts. Dexter Lawrence is entering his second season at 22 years old. All three of these players are 26 years old or younger and highly efficient at their positions.

Dalvin Tomlinson had a breakout season in 2019. He racked up a career-high 3.5 sacks to go along with 49 combined tackles, 7 tackles for loss, 1 forced fumble, and 13 pressures. Dalvin is primarily a run-stuffer but he showed great improvement as a pass-rusher last season.

Leonard Williams arrived and made a significant impact in 2019. Nearly every other player on the defensive line saw their efficiency increase due to Williams absorbing double teams. To read more about the improved play of the Giants’ defensive lineman after Williams arrived, click here.

Dexter Lawrence showed tons of promise as a rookie in 2019. The hog molly out of Clemson totaled 38 combined tackles and 2.5 sacks, and 15 pressures as a rookie. He was even the highest-graded rookie at his position according to Pro Football Focus.

Behind these top-three talents, the Giants have tons of depth on their defensive line. BJ Hill was a solid starter as a rookie in 2018, prior to Leonard Williams’s arrival. RJ McIntosh showed flashes and Chris Slayton was recently elevated off the practice squad. New York has no shortage of defensive line talent heading into the 2020 season.

Giants’ Dalvin Tomlinson on Familiar Turf With New Coaching Staff

New York Giants, Dalvin Tomlinson

There was some speculation on whether the New York Giants would seek to extend the rookie contract of defensive lineman Dalvin Tomlinson, who is entering the final year of that deal this season.

The 55th overall selection out of Alabama in the 2017 NFL Draft has been a key contributor for two coaching staffs in his short NFL career and with a new staff coming in, his future in Blue likely hinges on his performance in 2020.

Or maybe not. Tomlinson has some hooks on the Giants’ incoming staff in head coach Joe Judge and defensive coordinator Patrick Graham. Judge actually recruited Tomlinson when he was an assistant under Nick Saban at Alabama. He is optimistic that the trio will hit it off from the start.

“Coach Judge is a great guy. I remember when I was getting recruited by Alabama, that was when I met him for the first time,” Tomlinson told reporters on a conference call this week. “It’s just crazy how small the world is. He’s a great guy and so is the whole coaching staff. Every day you come in the locker room, just make sure you are ready to work every day. Bring your A game and make sure everyone around you is ready to work. That’s all you can do, come to work and do your best.”

Graham was the Giants’ defensive line coach under Ben McAdoo when Tomlinson was a rookie. He is very familiar with Graham and his tactics and knows what will be expected of him this season.

“He’s a great coach, super high energy,’ said Tomlinson. “He coaches you to the fullest because he wants the full potential brought out of you. Back then, the way he coached the D-line, you could just tell he was going to be a D-coordinator soon.”

Tomlinson will be coached by former Penn State defensive front coach Sean Spencer, who is well-respected in coaching circles.

“Super high energy guy,’ said Tomlinson. “He always has energy no matter what time of the day it is. I’m looking forward to doing some of his drills when we get back to practice.”

Second-round picks don’t get the benefit of a fifth-year option like first round selections do. In many cases, they have to go into their fourth seasons, regardless of their achievements, with their career status uncertain.

Tomlinson is not looking past this season, further exemplifying his commitment to team over personal issues. That will go a long way with Judge, who has stressed that these are type of players he is seeking to build around. The fact that Tomlinson has dressed -and started – all 48 games since becoming a Giant in 2017 should only add to his value.

“Pretty much we have been taking every day one day at a time because of the pandemic,” he said. “I’m not really focused on the contract because all I can do is try to get better and be as much prepared as I can for when we get back to training camp and get back to the facility as early as possible. I have been focusing on getting better and improving with my teammates as much as possible, that’s my biggest goal right now.”

New York Giants’ Leonard Williams was dominant in one specific category during 2019 season

New York Giants, Leonard Williams

There is no question that the New York Giants will feature Leonard Williams on their defensive line during the 2020 season. General manager Dave Gettleman tapped Williams with the franchise tag, which will pay him about $16 million this upcoming year.

The Williams debate has been the talk of the town since Gettleman traded a third-round pick for him in 2019. While his influence doesn’t come in the form of sacks, he made the players around him better.

Specifically, Dalvin Tomlinson saw his numbers double when Williams joined Big Blue in week eight of the 2019 regular season. The former Jet also saw his numbers increase, mainly his quarterback hits, which saw an increase of six from 5 to 11 in nearly the same percentage of defensive snaps with the Giants. In fact, he actually played more defensive snaps with the Jets (by 1%) through the first seven weeks compared to the Giants in the final eight. That is quite impressive from a production standpoint.

However, when evaluating Williams, you shouldn’t look at his sack numbers, but rather his pressure rate. His 11.3 pressure rate in 2019, ranked 13th among interior defensive lineman, according to Pro Football Focus. He lead all interior lineman with 19 pressures, which was five more than the 2nd ranked player.

The debate isn’t whether Williams is productive, though, it’s his contract that spurs the most negativity. It seems people understand what he brings to the defense, but not the price tag that accompanies it. Paying out $16 million for a defensive tackle is often not the best allocation of resources. Nonetheless, the New York Giants still have time to extend him on a multi-year deal that pays him less per season.

The Giants need Williams to play at a high-level this upcoming season, as his influence on Tomlinson and Dexter Lawrence is significant.

“He brings experience and a great work ethic to our group because he makes you want to outwork him in practice every day, where he goes harder than anyone,” Lawrence told Pat Ragazzo of Sports Illustrated. “A lot of people don’t understand the value he brings to a defense, but I know firsthand what kind of impact he makes.”

New York Giants: The hidden secrets surrounding Leonard Williams’ influence on defense

New York Giants, Leonard Williams

Taking a look at how Leonard Williams helped the New York Giants‘ defensive line:

When general manager Dave Gettleman traded for Leonard Williams, most believed this was a deal meant to save his job and preserve his image within the NFL. Giving up a third-round pick and more for a defensive lineman who simply couldn’t log a sack looked problematic, but when you deep dive into the analytics, his influence is a bit more significant than you would imagine.

With the Giants in 2019, Williams posted 0.5 sacks, 26 combine tackles, 11 quarterback hits, two tackles for loss, and one forced fumble. On average, he played about the same percentage of snaps with both the Giants and Jets, but his numbers with Big Blue far out-gained his production with the Jets. He was able to get into the offensive backfield more frequently, seeing an increase of six quarterback hits after the trade, and he logged more tackles for a loss (0 to 2).

However, despite his increase in production, the Giants are scheduled to pay him $16 million for the 2020 campaign. Unless they can extend him and lower his cap hit significantly, they will be overpaying for a player who simply can’t get the quarterback on the ground. Alternatively, you could make the argument that he does his job just fine, drawing double teams regularly and ranking 13th and pressure rate at 11.3%, according to PFF.

From Pro Football Focus:

No player had a bigger deference between his pressure rate rank and sack rate rank than Williams, who split the year between the Giants and the New York Jets prior to his trade. Among 87 interior defenders with 200 or more pass-rushing snaps, Williams ranked 13th in pressure rate at 11.3% but his one sack in 424 pass-rushing snaps put him near the bottom of the list in sack rate. On the other hand, Williams led the position with 19 quarterback hits. A few fractions of a second faster on several of those plays and that sack total looks a whole lot more respectable.

Considering the draft capital that the Giants gave up acquiring Williams, it seems likely that they’ll retain him moving forward. He’s always been a better run defender than a pass-rusher, but he’s certainly better in the passing game than the one sack he was able to produce in 2019. Now the Giants just need to figure out how to balance all the young talent they have at interior defensive line if they re-sign Williams.

When looking at Williams, though, you have to look at the players around him and see how he affected their play as well. Before Williams joined the Giants’ defense, Dalvin Tomlinson was having an OK season. Prior to his week eight arrival, Tomlinson had recorded 0.5 sacks, 17 combine tackles, and 3 QB hits.

After his arrival, Tomlinson posted 32 combine tackles, three sacks, and six quarterback hits. He more than doubled most of his statistical output. This is a significant jump for a player who wasn’t considered to be a foundational piece on the defense. Taking a look over at Dexter Lawrence, who was a rookie in 2019, his stats also saw an improvement.

Before Williams’s arrival, he had posted one sack, 19 combine tackles, and three quarterback hits. After he joined, Lawrence posted 19 combine tackles, 0.5 sacks, and six quarterback hits. His production was about the same, but as a rookie, that is to be expected.

As the chemistry gels between the trio in the trenches, we can expect them to increase their production and offer more value to the defense. Sometimes looking at an individual’s numbers does not tell the full story, and with Leonard Williams, his influence on other players must be considered.

Projecting The New York Giants’ Top Roster Strengths in 2020

New York Giants, Darnay Holmes, Julian Love, Jabrill Peppers, DeAndre Baker, Xavier McKinney, Corey Ballentine

The New York Giants have rebuilt their roster over the past couple of seasons. They found their future franchise quarterback, Daniel Jones, in 2019 and revamped their offensive line in 2020. The future is bright for the New York Giants, but the rebuild is not complete. There are some legitimate strengths on their roster but also some glaring weaknesses. Today, I will break down those strengths heading into 2020, and tomorrow I will be back to breakdown those weaknesses.

Running Back

Saquon Barkley is entering his third season in the NFL. The 23-year-old freak athlete out of Penn State is coming off of a thousand-yard rushing season, despite playing in only 13 games. He led the NFL in scrimmage yards as a rookie with 2028 yards. He is arguably the most talented running back in the league and will be playing in a new, run-heavy offensive scheme in 2020.

The hiring of Jason Garrett should be music to Saquon’s ears. Garrett has led one of the NFL’s best rushing attacks over the past decade in Dallas. Jason Garrett and the Dallas Cowboys ran for 2,153 yards last season on 4.8 yards per attempt with 18 rushing touchdowns. The team has rushed for over 1,900 yards in every season since 2016. In 2015 they were 10 yards short of that mark but were coming off of an explosive 2,354 rushings yards in 2014. Expect to see the New York Giants’ offense feature a heavy dosage of run plays with Saquon Barkley and the solid depth behind him in Dion Lewis.

The Defensive Line

Dave Gettleman has invested plenty of assets into the Giants’ defensive line. Reese invested a 2017 second-round draft pick on Dalvin Tomlinson. Dave Gettleman followed that up in 2018, drafting BJ Hill in the third round and RJ McIntosh in the seventh round.

In 2019, Dave Gettleman and the Giants went all-in bolstering the defensive line. They spent a first-round pick on Dexter Lawrence, a seventh-round pick in Chris Slayton, then made the controversial trade for Leonard Williams. Trading for Williams cost a 2020 third-round draft pick and a 2021 fifth-round draft pick. Plus, of course, the $16M+ franchise tag.

Altogether, the Giants have invested seven draft picks and around $20M in their defensive line. But this pricey investment has paid off. The Giants have one of the NFL’s best defensive lines with plenty of young talent that will only get better. Heading into 2020, the defensive line is the strongest positional group on the New York Giants’ roster.

The Secondary

Another positional group that the Giants have invested plenty of assets in recently is their secondary. In 2019, the Giants drafted three defensive backs (four if you count Sam Beal, the supplemental draft selection). The Giants traded up into the first round to draft DeAndre Baker, stole Julian love in the fourth round, and picked Corey Ballentine in the sixth round.

The Giants did lose Janoris Jenkins this year, but they quickly replaced him with James Bradberry. The Gmen signed Bradberry to a lucrative three-year, $43M contract. Bradberry will serve as the Giants’ primary cornerback in 2020 and beyond. The team also found two cornerbacks in the 2020 NFL Draft. Darnay Holmes, their fourth-round pick, could be a day-one starter in the slot. Chris Williamson was also a solid pick in the seventh round.

On the back end, the Giants have Jabrill Peppers, the talented safety acquired in the Odell Beckham Jr. trade. Peppers impressed in 2019 but had his season cut short due to injury. The Giants have also paired another young, talented safety with Peppers. Their second-round pick in 2020, Xavier McKinney, is an uber-versatile, instant-impact player. Combine those two talents with Julian Love mixed in and the Giants have a young trio of safeties to build their defense around for years to come.

New York Giants: Dalvin Tomlinson Satisfied With 2020 Coaching Staff

New York Giants, Dalvin Tomlinson

The New York Giants cleaned house and have an all new staff for the 2020 season, and that means they might have a very different looking defense. The addition of head coach Joe Judge and defensive coordinator Patrick Graham could mark big changes for some players at those positions – but one player that’s looking forward to working under the new staff is defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson.

Tomlinson has been one of the most active players for the Giants in the past three years and started all 16 games ever since his rookie year in 2017, for three seasons so far. This season, it looks like the trend will continue – albeit under a new coaching staff which may have different ideas about how the team’s defensive schemes should work.

However, Tomlinson does have reason to be optimistic about the new changes. For one, he has a previous connection with one of the new coaches, defensive line coach Sean Spencer. When Tomlinson was in high school, Spencer was one of the college coaches vying for his commitment.

“The crazy thing is he actually recruited me out of high school when he was at Vanderbilt. I’m excited about him. Great guy, great energy. I got to talk to him before (the shutdown). I’m looking forward to working with him,” Tomlinson said to the New York Daily News.

But the addition isn’t the only one that the defensive tackle is a fan of. Tomlinson also praised defensive coordinator Patrick Graham, who has previous experience with Tomlinson and the organization due to his stint as a defensive line coach with the Giants in 2017. What did Tomlinson have to say about Graham’s skillset?

“He’s gonna critique you, help you grow as a player and as a person off the field, too. He wants the most out of every one of his players. He’s going to push you and get the full potential. He’s great at developing players.”

Additionally, head coach Joe Judge has experience with the same college program that Tomlinson came out of. As a former Alabama assistant, Judge can relate to Tomlinson in working under head coach Nick Saban.

“I could sense his energy already when I first met him before this started. I think everybody who’s had an affiliation with Alabama bonds a little bit. The first thing you say before anything is Roll Tide,” Tomlinson said about Judge.

The transition may be easier or harder on certain players but it looks like Tomlinson won’t have much trouble. Some of the key faces on the staff, after all, aren’t so new to Tomlinson – and that familiarity might just help in adapting to a revised scheme this season.