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.”

New York Giants: Dexter Lawrence Will Be Dominant Instantly

New York Giants, Dexter Lawrence

The New York Giants drafted interior defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence with the 17th overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. This pick was acquired via trade and it was the Giants’ second pick in the 1st-round. Dexter was the Giants’ first defensive player drafted in 2019, but he was not the last.

Dexter Lawrence will be thrown into the starting mix immediately. He will join the Giants’ young and underrated defensive front that features rising star B.J. Hill and unsung hero Dalvin Tomlinson. The addition of Dexter Lawrence could make this one of the best young defensive fronts in the NFL.

Dominant In Run Defense

Weighing in at a whopping 342 pounds, Dexter Lawrence is the hog-molliest of the hog mollies. He is an absolute brick wall that will swallow running backs whole in the middle of the Giants’ defensive line.

Dexter Lawrence recorded 36 total tackles in 2018 with 7 tackles for loss. Pro Football Focus gave Dexter Lawrence an 87.7 run-defense grade in 2018. He had 25 total defensive stops in 2018 as well.

Lawrence also exhibited elite strength at the 2019 NFL Combine. His 36 bench reps were the most of any defender in the entire draft class. Dexter will be able to use his superior strength to plug holes and push offensive linemen into the backfield to disrupt plays.

Underrated Pass Rusher

Many critics have already written Dexter Lawrence off as a pass-rusher. He has been toted as a two-down rotational run-stuffing nose tackle. However, this is just not true.

Dexter Lawrence is a criminally underrated pass-rusher. This interior defensive lineman was well-adept at getting to the quarterback during his time at Clemson.

According to Pro Football Focus, Dexter Lawrence 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.

Lawrence was phenomenal as a true freshman. He racked up 48 total pressures during that 2016 season. This season demonstrated Dexter’s true potential as a pass-rusher. He is a little heavy, but if he can drop some pounds (which he admitted he needs to), Dexter Lawrence can be a truly exceptional pass-rusher.

New York Giants: Dalvin Tomlinson Is An Unsung Hero On Defense

New York Giants, Dalvin Tomlinson

The New York Giants have a young defense with lots of unproven talent. New York invested heavily in their secondary this offseason, drafting three defensive backs in the 2019 NFL Draft (four if you count Sam Beal). They also traded for the young, multi-skilled safety Jabrill Peppers.

One area of the Giants defense is not as unproven as the secondary. The defensive interior is arguably one of the best young units in the NFL. The Giants have a lot of talent on their defensive line.

B.J. Hill proved himself in his rookie season. Rookie defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence is almost a can’t-miss prospect, as he is destined to be an excellent run defender at the very least, but he will need to prove he can rush the passer as well in the NFL. No one on this defensive line has proven himself quite like Dalvin Tomlinson.

Dalvin Tomlinson Stats And Highlights:

The Giants drafted Dalvin Tomlinson in the 2nd round of the 2017 NFL Draft. Ever since then, he has been a solid, consistent player on the Giants’ defensive line.

Tomlinson has finished with 50 or more tackles in each of his first two seasons. In 2017, Dalvin totaled 50 tackles, and in 2018 he totaled 59. He improved his tackles for loss total to 5 in 2018 after posting only 1 in 2017. Dalvin Tomlinson is not a flashy player, but he gets the job done.

Tomlinson not only gets the job done, but he gets it done at an incredibly consistent level. In 2018, 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. This is an extremely advanced level of consistency for a player entering only his third NFL season.

The Giants traded away Damon Harrison Sr. during the 2018 NFL season. Harrison is arguably the best run-defending nose tackle in the NFL. Many assumed the Giants would severely miss Damon’s impact, but Dalvin Tomlinson made sure that was not the case.

Tomlinson ranked as the 9th best interior defensive lineman in the league according to Pro Football Focus after switching positions to nose tackle midseason. The position change was because of the Damon Harrison trade. Dalvin Tomlinson filled the hole left in the middle extremely well, posting an 83.1 overall PFF grade.

Dalvin has racked up 24 defensive stops against the run in two years in the NFL. He is proving to be a true brick wall in the middle of Big Blue’s defensive line. He has been a great run defender his during his first two seasons in the NFL. There is no reason to believe that will change.

Dalvin Tomlinson will continue to develop and will continue to be one of the best young defensive linemen in the NFL. He might not be flashy enough to receive extra media attention, but he gets the job done consistently. Opposing offenses will have to gameplan around Tomlinson due to his ability to stuff the run.

The New York Giants Have One Of The Best Young Defensive Fronts In The NFL

New York Giants, Dalvin Tomlinson

The New York Giants had one of the worst defenses in the NFL in 2018. For this reason, the Giants totally revamped their defense in the 2019 NFL Draft. The Giants’ secondary is completely different from last season.

No particular defensive position group excelled for the Giants in 2018. But their best group in 2018 was certainly the young group of defensive linemen, and that group has improved in 2019.

Why The Giants’ Defensive Linemen Are Excellent

Dexter Lawrence:

The Giants had three 1st-round picks in the 2019 NFL Draft. Dave Gettleman drafted an interior defensive lineman with his second 1st-round pick, the 17th pick overall. Defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence out of Clemson was the pick, and he is expected to make a huge impact on the Giants defense in 2019 and beyond.

Dexter Lawrence is the absolute hog-molliest football player on the Giants’ defense. Lawrence weighs in at a whopping 342 pounds, filling out his tall 6 feet 4-inch frame. Dexter was possibly the best run defending nose tackle in the 2018 draft class.

In three years at Clemson, Dexter totaled 131 tackles and 18 tackles for loss. Additionally, Dexter is an underrated pass-rusher. According to Pro Football Focus, Dexter Lawrence 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.

B.J. Hill:

The Giants’ 3rd-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, B.J. Hill, was one of the best players on the Giants’ defense last year. Hill has some serious star potential.

B.J. Hill is not merely a run stuffer. 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.

50+ tackles and 5+ sacks put B.J. Hill in elite company. Other notable rookie defensive linemen in NFL history with 50+ tackles and 5+ sacks include J.J. Watt, Ndamukong Suh, Kevin Williams, Justin Smith, Jevon Kearse, Simeon Rice, Charles Haley, and Reggie White.

Dalvin Tomlinson:

Dalvin Tomlinson has been a quietly efficient defensive lineman for the Giants. He is not a flashy player, but he gets the job done. And he gets his job done better than most seem to realize.

Pro Football Focus listed Dalvin Tomlinson as one of the NFL’s secret defensive superstars. Tomlinson ended his 2018 season on an incredibly efficient tackle streak. He had the longest active streak of tackles without a miss with 60. Dalvin has only missed one tackle in his two-year NFL career.

Dalvin clearly learned a lot from former Giants run-stuffing extraordinaire Damon Harrison. He has turned into one of the NFL’s best run-defenders in only two pro seasons. Tomlinson has 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.

New York Giants: How The Defense Could Go From Worst To First In The 2019 NFL Draft

The New York Giants could go after Ed Oliver in the 2019 NFL draft.

In 2018, the New York Giants‘ defense was one of the worst in the NFL. They allowed 25.8 points per game which ranked 23rd in the league. They were poor against both the run and the pass. Against the run, the Giants ranked 20th with 118.6 yards per game. And against the pass, the Giants ranked 23rd with 252.8 yards per game.

The Giants’ only two Pro Bowlers on defense from 2018 are no longer with the team. Landon Collins left for Washington in free agency and Olivier Vernon was traded to Cleveland. This left the Giants’ defense filled with holes and lacking any star talent.

Despite this, the Giants still have the opportunity to vastly improve on defense in 2019 through the NFL Draft.

Defensive Options In The Draft

The Giants hold two 1st round picks in the 2019 NFL Draft. This opens up plenty of defensive options for the Giants. Luckily for the Giants, the 2019 draft class is absolutely loaded with defensive talent.

With the 6th pick, the Giants have a good chance of drafting an elite defensive prospect. With the 17th pick, the prospect might not be “elite,” but he will be good enough to start and make an immediate impact for Big Blue.

On Monday, the Giants met with two defensive prospects who both have the chance to be drafted by the Giants in the 1st round. The two defensive prospects the Giants met with are Ed Oliver and Clelin Ferrell. Oliver is an option for the Giants with the 6th pick and Ferrell is an option for the Giants with the 17th pick.

Ed Oliver:

Ed Oliver is an interior defensive lineman who has extreme athleticism and the ability to defend the run, as well as rush the passer. Oliver has drawn some comparisons to the NFL’s best player, Aaron Donald. This is because both Donald and Oliver possess rare athleticism for their size and position. Oliver is only 6 feet 2 inches and 287 pounds. This is undersized for his position, but it allows him to be an extraordinary athlete.

At his Pro Day, Oliver ran a speedy 4.71s 40-yard dash. This is certainly comparable to Donald’s 4.68s. Oliver showed off elite quickness, running a quicker short shuttle than Donald with a time of 4.22s. That time is quicker than Saquon Barkley’s!

In his collegiate career at Houston, Ed Oliver was a little bit up and down. Many analysts attribute this to Oliver being used incorrectly in Houston’s new defensive scheme in 2018. Prior to 2018, Oliver was looked at as a lock for the top 3 picks in the draft. His 2017 season was impressive, as he recorded 73 total tackles, 16.5 tackles for loss, and 5.5 sacks. Ed Oliver would instantly make the Giants’ defense better for years to come.

Clelin Ferrell:

Clelin Ferrell is an edge defender out of Clemson’s loaded defense. Ferrell played a big part in Clemson’s 2018 National Championship season. In 2018, Clelin had 55 tackles, 20 tackles for loss, and 11.5 sacks. Outstanding production by the junior edge defender.

The Giants have a need at edge since they traded away Olivier Vernon. Ferrell has the ability to rush the passer off tackle, something the Giants need desperately. Ferrell is a strong, bull-rusher who can knock tackles off balance and get in the backfield. Check out Clelin Ferrell powering through top offensive tackle Jonah Williams:

If the Giants could combine Ferrell’s pass-rushing ability off the edge with Oliver’s all-around dominance on the inside, they could create a scary defensive duo for years to come. Adding this pair in a mix that already features Lorenzo Carter, Dalvin Tomlinson, and B.J. Hill gives the Giants potential to have one of the best, young defensive fronts in the NFL.

New York Giants’ Dalvin Tomlinson: “We Got Something Special”

New York Giants, Dalvin Tomlinson

Despite concerns over the New York Giants‘ secondary, things on the defensive line seem to be shaping up quite nicely. Second-year tackle, Dalvin Tomlinson, will be expected to make a major leap in his development and man one of the three down-lineman positions. He will likely play alongside Damon Harrison and B.J. Hill.

The Giants are transition from a Steve Spagnuolo 4-3 defense to a James Bettcher 3-4. This scheme will rely on the defensive line to wreck havoc in the backfield and open up gaps for the linebackers to fill.

Dalvin Tomlinson had a dominant year in 2017, claiming the best interior rookie defender, according to PFF.

He will play a major role in stopping the run and reading the offense at the line of scrimmage. With Pro Bowl quality tackle Damon Harrison featuring on the defensive line as well, we should expect to see a major improvement in the months ahead, and Tomlinson seems to think similarly.

“We got something special in there. We’re all great at stopping the run. When we’re all out there together, we communicate real good. We continue to get better each and every day.”

“With Snacks teaching me and B.J. stuff each and every day, we’re always learning something new from him.”

Having a mentor like Snacks to teach the ropes and help when needed is truly a blessing for the young DTs on the roster. His experience and prowess in run support is first-class, and we’ve already seen serious flashes of talent from the former Alabama defender.

How does the rotation on the defensive line look for the New York Giants?

Having a solid rotation will also be an important factor in 2018. While Tomlinson and the other lineman believe they can be three-down players, it’s important to keep them fresh and utilize the depth on the team to help the team remain consistent throughout the year.

The rotational players consist of Kerry Wynn, Robert Thomas, Josh Mauro, and A.J. Francis. The depth isn’t necessarily ‘deep’, but it’s solid enough to provide some backbone to the defensive front.

 

Dalvin Tomlinson Looking To Break Out For The Giants In 2018

New York Giants, Dalvin Tomlinson

A 3-13 record would stifle even the most extravagant efforts from any player, and that’s exactly what happened to New York Giants‘ 2017 second-round pick, Dalvin Tomlinson.

The big defensive tackle played well in his rookie season, leading all rookie interior defenders with 26 stops. He finished the campaign with 50 combined tackles and one sack. The Giants are making the transition to a 3-4 defense from the 4-3, which will put a lot of pressure on Tomlinson to take up a lot of space and open up gaps for the linebackers.

The hope is that Tomlinson only scratched the surface of his potential in 2017 and will deliver a bountiful amount of raw talent and development for a rejuvenated Giants team. His numbers don’t justify his quality and ability in the trenches. He’s a menace in the run game and is always around the ball. With a lack of support from the linebackers in ’17, he was left to fend for himself in the trenches and try to take on multiple offensive lineman on his own.

Tomlinson told NJ advanced Media, in regard to the change to the 3-4:

“It feels like the old defense I’m already a part of. We’re shooting more gaps and it’s more attacking, more going after it rather than waiting and seeing what’s given to you. I love the scheme. It reminds me of Alabama’s scheme. You can say you have less responsibilities, but a little more at the same time.”

James Bettcher will bring over a defense that recorded some of the highest blitz rates in the NFL – significantly higher than old DC, Steve Spagnuolo.

“You have to go back and break down the film of how you were playing at the end of the season. So you can pick up at that point and progress. Get stronger, quicker, so you can be more versatile. Be more explosive off the ball. Continue to build in any way possible.”

Having a solid defensive line to build around is essential for the new system. General manager Dave Gettleman has made it a priority to address the trenches and ensure that the defense is strong up-front to put pressure on the quarterback and allow the secondary time to make plays. Creating opportunity it the primary point, and Tomlinson is just the guy to take the Giants’ defensive line to the next level.

Expectations For New York Giants DT Dalvin Tomlinson In 2018

New York Giants, Dalvin Tomlinson

Lined up alongside one of the NFL’s most notorious run stoppers in the league, Damon Harrison, is a much younger and smaller defensive tackle for the New York Giants. Sophomore defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson is that man, and after a stellar rookie season he will be looking to take his game to the next level in 2018.

While Tomlinson looked solid during the unspeakable 2017 season, recording 30 total tackles through 16 games, he still has some flaws that need fixing, and they will likely prove to be strengths in the season ahead.

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The Giants chose to hire defensive coordinator James Bettcher from the Arizona Cardinals, who brings a 3-4 defense to New York. This new style may be new to the Giants but is very familiar to Tomlinson, who seems to remember something eerily similar during his time spent at Alabama.

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The most often word used in relation to the newly installed defense is… Attack. With three down lineman and a flock of linebackers to aid in stopping the run and pressuring the quarterback, the defense will be centered around putting pressure on the opposing offense at all times. Where Steve Spagnuolo was known to be blitz heavy play-caller, Bettcher will take that to another level. As Giants fans, we should all be excited about the future of the defense.

What did Tomlinson have to say about the change?

“It feels like the old defense I’m already a part of,” Tomlinson told NJ Advanced Media. “We’re shooting more gaps and it’s more attacking, more going after it rather than waiting and seeing what’s given to you, I love the scheme. It reminds me of Alabama’s scheme. You can say you have less responsibilities, but a little more at the same time.”

If you’re a college football fan, you know Alabama consistently has one of the best defenses year in and year out. Their scheme is all about disrupting the flow of the offense and leaving them confused and paralyzed.

Tomlinson earned the highest overall grade among rookie interior lineman in 2017, according to Pro Football Focus. Being that the sophomore run stopper will now benefit even further with a familiar scheme, we should expect to see him improve exponentially. His developmental process is far from over, and inserting him in a scheme that allows him to flourish is exactly the type of change that’s necessary, especially for a team that ranked 27th in rush yards allowed (120.8 YPG) last season.

 

 

Speculating What The New York Giants 3-4 Defense May Look Like

With free-agency among us, there is a lot of change coming for the New York Giants defense. A look at what going from a 4-3 defense to a 3-4 may require some outside-the-box thinking.

With a linebacker core that has been the glaring hole in the Giants defense, new GM Dave Gettleman began to address that quickly by trading for proven veteran Alec Ogletree. But this is not the only change coming for the Giants roster.

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Linebacker

Looking at what might change for the defensive line and linebacker core, I cannot help but think about Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon and what their role may become. Both OV and JPP are proven edge rushers and can both play the run as well; both have played with the hand in the dirt and off the line as well.

Although their pass-coverage has gone fairly untested, it is possible that they could transition into an edge rusher/ OLB role. This could be the answer for a James Bettcher defense that loves blitzing the quarterback.

Defensive Line

That change would bring some change to the defensive line as well. Damon (Snacks) Harrison is one of the best run-stoppers in the NFL and Dalvin Tomlinson looks to improve off of an impressive rookie season, ranking as the top rookie interior defender in the league.

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Adding some depth to the defensive line would be a must. Resigning Jay Bromley, who has been serviceable for the Giants over the past few years, would be a cheaper option to add depth. Bringing in one of the many quality defensive line free agent options is likely as well.

Secondary

The change in scheme may not effect the Giants secondary as much as the rest of the defense. But with Dominic Rodgers-Cromartie’s recent release, Eli Apple’s 2017 tailspin, and Janoris Jenkins coming off ankle surgery, there are more than just a few questions with the secondary.

Bringing in more depth is a must to help support Landon Collins and co. in the secondary. Ross Cockrell played well down the stretch of the season and should provide some optimism for this group (three interceptions).