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.

Should the New York Giants inquire about TE David Njoku?

David Njoku, New York Giants

The New York Giants are entering the 2020 season with Evan Engram, Kaden Smith, and Levine Toilolo as their primary tight ends. History has taught us that Engram struggles to remain healthy, and Smith is a mere youngster in his development. Toilolo is an experienced player with Super Bowl credentials, but he is more of a blocking tight end rather than a pass-catching one.

The question is, can the Giants rely on Engram and Smith to hold down the fort in the passing game?

Looking at Engram stats, he has seen a degradation in numbers and productivity over the past three years. The former Ole Miss tight end had career lows in yards and touchdowns last season, compiling 467 yards and three scores, tying his 2018 total. He also took a step back in his catch percentage, finishing his season with a 64.7% success rate.

While the Giants did pick up Engram’s fifth-year option on his rookie deal, they could still inquire about David Njoku, tight end for the Cleveland Browns. The former Miami product has struggled to develop in Cleveland, having a career season two years ago in 2018, posting 639 yards and four touchdowns. The difference between Njoku and Engram is his blocking abilities. He is far better in the run game with a bit more size to his frame.

If I were the Giants, I wouldn’t consider the current brown as a viable option moving forward. With Engram and Smith already on the roster, the Giants have more than enough talent to work with. In the middle of a rebuild, acquiring a position player that hasn’t lived up to his potential would be malpractice.

Of course, with a few weeks before training camp, it is fair to analyze the potential of a trade, but Big Blue simply can’t afford to give away draft capital for underwhelming tight ends.

In addition, allowing a player like Njoku to steal starting reps away from Engram and Smith would hurt their development and progression. The Giants need to keep it simple and utilize the talent they already have on the roster.

New York Giants: 3 undrafted rookies to keep an eye on this summer

New York Giants, Javon Leake

New York Giants had a fantastic NFL draft this year, but they landed several high upside players as undrafted free agents. Of course, we have been focusing on fourth overall pick Andrew Thomas and safety Xavier McKinney more than most, but diving into the unknown players that most overlook can sometimes be beneficial.

As we have seen in the past with players like Victor Cruz and even Ahmad Bradshaw being drafted in the seventh round, unexpected talent can emerge as productive players at the NFL level.

Here’s a look at three New York Giants undrafted free agents we should keep an eye on this summer:

1.) WR Binjimen Victor

We have covered Binjimen Victor extensively the past few months, as his size and frame give Daniel Jones a quality target in the intermediate passing game. At 6-foot-4 and 198 pounds, Victor closely resembles AJ Green in terms of size. If he can add a bit of strength off the line of scrimmage, he can increase his efficiency on contested footballs and experience better releases.

Victor also has the size to be a solid red-zone threat, earning six touchdowns over 12 games in 2019. While he didn’t start until his senior season with the Ohio State Buckeyes, his emergence gives the Giants some underrated talent that could compete for the fourth spot on the wide receiver corps. He will be looking to dislodge Corey Coleman for the final slot, and after his injury last year, there is a solid chance that you could push him off the roster altogether.

While I do think it will take some time for Victor to adapt to the physicality and speed of the NFL, he has the tangible traits to become a productive player for the Giants.

New York Giants’ LB Cam Brown gearing up to compete for starting reps

New York Giants, Cam Brown

The New York Giants made it a priority to overhaul several positions this off-season, one of them being linebacker, where they replaced Alec Ogletree and spent a bevy of late-round picks to build out the depth on the roster.

While we can expect new signing Blake Martinez to be an upgrade over Ogletree, Ryan Connelly is returning from an ACL tear last season and is an unknown going into 2020. Best case scenario, Connelly emerges as the sure-fire starter and picks up where he left off in 2019 when he had 2 interceptions, 20 combine tackles, 1.0 sacks, and missed zero tackles over four games.

However, the Giants went out and drafted Cam Brown out of Penn State in the sixth round. He was primarily a 4-3 base linebacker from the strong side, which doesn’t match up with new defensive coordinator Patrick Graham’s scheme.

Despite Graham utilizing a system that doesn’t fit Brown specifically, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a position for him on defense. With his size, there is hope he can develop into a 3-4 outside linebacker who rushes the passer on earlier downs.

It’s possible he could transition to an inside linebacker role and provide depth behind Connelly or Martinez. At 6-foot-5 and with 34-inch arms, Brown should be utilized off the edge.

Taking a look at Cam Brown’s stats from 2019

His numbers from 2019 were solid, as he started 13 games, 12 at linebacker, with 72 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 4 passes defended, and 16 QB pressures.

Despite Brown’s odd fit on defense for the Giants, he is a high character player that brings fantastic intensity to the game. He was the Penn State leader and Captain, giving the Giants another excellent person and player to mix into the competition.

Even if Brown doesn’t play on defense, he can be a fantastic special-teams player, and I expect him to make an impact right away.

One thing that certainly stands out for Brown is his incredible reach. He reminds me a bit of Lorenzo Carter, given his size and bend around the edge. However, Brown’s athleticism is average, despite his reach and solid explosion from the line of scrimmage. As a sixth-round pick, the Giants are expecting him to be a solid player on special teams and hopefully develop into a rotational player on defense. Of course, the ultimate goal is to find a starting-caliber player in Brown down the line.

New York Giants And Jets Could Play Two, Or Zero, Preseason Games

New York Jets, Luke Falk

The preseason is traditionally the first time that NFL fans get to see how their teams look in real games before a new season, but the New York Giants and Jets could end up not playing a preseason at all. The alternative seems to be two games, compared to the normal four.

The news is being reported by Pro Football Talk and has been reported by other sources too by now. According to the early reports, it’s the league that’s decided on this so far. That doesn’t mean that the player’s association has went along with these plans, however.

The NFL has decided to cut the preseason in half. NFL Media reports that the NFL Players Association has yet to sign off on this. Which makes sense, because the NFLPA hasn’t signed off on anything, including the league’s protocol for facility and locker-room virus safety.

The NFLPA and the NFL still have multiple issues to work out and it remains to be seen what the player’s association’s stance is on the length of the preseason. With training camp not starting until late July, the timeline between that and the regular season could be awkward if the preseason is played. The regular season, after all, is set to begin during only the second week in September, which doesn’t leave time for a long preseason.

If the league does end up having no preseason, that will make the start of the season all the more interesting for both teams in New York. The Giants have a new head coach and many changes, while the Jets have a coach on the hot seat. Neither team will know just how their new additions and strategy will pan out until the regular season, if there’s no preseason to give any early indications.

But then again, preseason results generally aren’t accurate when it comes to predicting the course of the regular season. We may just have to wait until September to see both New York teams in action once again.

New York Giants: OL specialist says Andrew Thomas has experienced ‘tremendous improvement’ this offseason

New York Giants, Andrew Thomas

The New York Giants are preparing their welcome-wagon for 4th overall pick Andrew Thomas in the coming weeks for the start of training camp. Thomas isn’t the same player he was just a few months ago. The Georgia standout has worked hard to increase his strength and fundamentals, further preparing for the NFL and the expected replacement of Nate Solder at left tackle.

Reports have indicated that Thomas could be situated at right tackle in his rookie campaign, as a position battle will force him to earn his way to Daniel Jones’ blind-side. However, the progress he’s seemingly making will give him a leg up on his competition.

Offensive line fundamentals coach Kynan Forney appeared on the Giants Huddle podcast with Paul Dottino and John Schmeelk, raving about Andrew Thomas this offseason.

“I see tremendous improvement in him,” Forney said on the show. “Let’s be clear about this, Andrew is a very smart football player. One thing that I’ve noticed with him is that when I show him something on film … I correct it right there on the field and he’ll see it and he’ll make the correction right then. There’s been some times when he’s blown me away when I say, ‘Hey, look here maybe you not want to flare your elbows back as much because it’s taking too much time, let’s keep them nice and tight.’ Whatever the situation is, as soon as we do the next rep, he corrects it and fixes it. He’s very smart and will correct it. He’s a coach’s dream. He’s a coach’s pleasure. I know the Giants will be very happy with him when they get him coming up this fall. I’m trying to get him ready for Sunday, and he’s very coachable, very smart, and he’s trying to work it.”

The New York Giants are in good shape with Andrew Thomas

These are very encouraging words from the former NFL player in Forney. If Thomas can refine his abilities and improve his pass-sets, there’s a good case for him to lock-down the left tackle spot with ease, despite his size fitting better on the right side.

Thomas has already begun exercising Marc Colombo’s playbook and development plan with coach Forney.

“Going into the season, he’ll be fresher but also too he’s coming to Dash and working on the field and we’re looking at his [tablet] and we’re going through some of the drills that [Giants offensive line coach Marc] Colombo and [assistant offensive line coach Ben] Wilkerson want them to work on and we’re doing those. And also too I’m adding some things in because there’s a lot of stuff that I watch and can see up close that I’ll be like, ‘Hey, you know what, we need to work this a little bit more’ because he might be sliding back into this old habit or, ‘Hey, let’s do this drill’ just because he’s gotten better and we can add something to it. He’s far past that point of where I have to do a whole lot of fundamentals, but I still want to stay on his fundamentals.”

As Forney mentions, Thomas is far beyond the point of basic fundamentals, but continuing to work on them is essential.

New York Giants: 3 hot takes going into the 2020 season

New York Giants, Leonard Williams

The New York Giants have a long way until the 2020 season is underway, with training camp under a month away and several legal proceedings still being ironed out.

Nobody knows if DeAndre Baker or Aldrick Rosas will see the field again, but we must push forward nonetheless.

Let’s take a look at three hot takes for the New York Giants going into the 2020 campaign:

1.) Leonard Williams will be in the Pro-Bowl

When general manager Dave Gettleman sent a third-round pick to the New York Jets in return for Leonard Williams, the fanbase was up in arms. Prior to joining the Giants, Williams had posted 0 sacks, 20 combine tackles, and five quarterback hits with the Jets through seven games. In the second half of the year, he posted 0.5 sacks, 26 combine tackles, 11 quarterback hits, and miss just 3.7% of his tackles, amounting to just one.

The thing about Williams is that he makes everybody around him better, Dalvin Tomlinson and Dexter Lawrence both saw increases in production and efficiency due to the arrival of the former Jet. Leonard’s ability to draw double-teams and put pressure in the trenches and collapse the pocket is precisely why Gettleman hit him with the franchise tag, which will pay him about $16 million in 2020.

Paying him that much money comes with expectations, as the once great uncle Ben from Spiderman said, “with great power comes great responsibility.“

Williams has a lot of expectations on his shoulders, but I believe he will live up to the hype this upcoming season. With half a season of experience and an off-season worth of virtual chemistry building with his teammates, I believe he will replicate the production he saw earlier on in his career when he posted 7.0 sacks and 19 quarterback hits in 2016. We know he’s capable of much more, it’s just a matter of putting him in the right scheme and situation to succeed. I believe defensive coordinator Patrick Graham can unearth his hidden production.

Should the New York Giants Try To Trade For Chiefs DL Chris Jones?

The New York Giants have arguably one of the best defensive lines in the NFL. General manager Dave Gettleman has made it a priority to build through the trenches. Since becoming the general manager in 2018, Gettleman has invested

But what if this defensive line could get even better? What if Gettleman made one last investment to push the unit over the top? One of the best young defensive linemen in the NFL, Chris Jones, could be a potential blockbuster trade target.

Why would this trade make sense for the Chiefs?

The Kansas City Chiefs and Chris Jones are in the middle of a contract dispute. Chris Jones even threatened to sit out the 2020 NFL season if he does not receive a long-term contract extension. Jones is seeking a deal worth more than $20 million per year.

“[Chris Jones] always viewed himself as a $20 million-plus-per-year guy. The Chiefs, frankly, never did. Even before the whole COVID situation, they never made an offer north of $20 million — felt like they could get him somewhere below that. A lot of work to be done here if there’s going to be a long-term deal for Chris Jones…” – Mike Garafolo of NFL Network

Additionally, the Chiefs have another superstar to pay. You might have heard of him. Patrick Mahomes? Yeah, they have to pay him soon. Showtime Mahomes is the best quarterback in the NFL and he is about to get paid like it. Reports indicate that Mahomes could seek a contract worth more than $40 million per year. It would be tough to pay Mahomes that amount while also paying Chris Jones $20 million. This cap dilemma could lead the Chiefs to trade away Chris Jones.

If the Chiefs were to trade Chris Jones to the New York Giants, receiving Leonard Williams and a draft pick in exchange would make sense for them. Trading away Jones would be a huge loss for this defense. But obtaining Leonard Williams would surely soften the blow. Williams could fit right into Jones’s previous role with the team. He would not perform in that role as well as Jones did, but Williams is still one of the better players in the league at the position. Plus, his contract will be much cheaper than Chris Jones’s.

On top of that, if the Chiefs do not give Williams a long-term deal, they will be eligible to receive a third-round compensatory pick in the next NFL Draft if Williams walks away in the 2021 free agency period.

Why would this trade make sense for the Giants?

In order for this trade to make sense for the New York Giants, they will need to free up some cap space. This offseason, the Giants placed the expensive franchise tag on IDL Leonard Williams. The one-year franchise tag is worth over $16 million in cap space. Williams is seeking a new, long-term contract. That contract will likely be worth around $16 million per year.

If the Giants were to offer a trade for Chris Jones, they should begin by including Leonard Williams in the deal. Leonard Williams is a highly-talented defensive lineman and is arguably top-ten in the league at his position. But Chris Jones is arguably top-two. If the Giants could make that upgrade for a few million more in cap space, they should.

Chris Jones is a legitimate pass-rushing threat from the interior. In 2018, Jones totaled 15.5 sacks and 49 pressures. He followed that up with a 9 sack, 27 pressure performance in 2019. According to Pro Football Focus, Jones ranks third among interior defenders in pass-rushing grade over the past four seasons. He also has recorded 212 pressures in that time span, fourth-most (PFF).

If this hypothetical trade were to come true, the Giants would have to throw in a draft pick. That pick could be the deal-breaker. If it is a high pick, then they should not take the deal. Draft picks are extremely valuable in the first three rounds, especially for a rebuilding team like the Giants. But if they can complete the trade by throwing in a mid-to-late round pick, plus a new $20 million-per-year contract along with Leonard Williams, the Giants would be acquiring one of the NFL’s brightest defensive stars in Chris Jones.

Why would this trade make no sense?

If this trade were to happen, the Chiefs would be losing the best player on their defense. Keeping Chris Jones is going to cost the Chiefs a lot, but he is worth the money. Jones has been one of the most consistent and dominating defensive lineman in the NFL over the past four years. At only 26 years old, the Chiefs would be wise to keep Jones as part of their long-term plans. If they feel like they can afford to pay him, they will.

On the flip side, the Giants might not consider this trade worth it. As stated previously, the extra draft pick is the key. If the trade requires a second-round pick, the Giants should turn the other way. But even if it only requires a fifth-round pick, the Giants might not be interested. The Gmen are a rebuilding team. Cap space is valuable. Maybe they are not the best team to pay a defensive lineman $20 million per year.

Then again, Dave Gettleman does love his hog mollies and Chris Jones is one of the best hog mollies in the NFL. Maybe he will be enticed by a potential trade for the young and dominant Chris Jones. It may be a long shot, but a trade does hypothetically make sense. This could be exactly what the New York Giants need.

Are the New York Giants preparing to take a big risk at the tackle positions?

New York Giants, Andrew Thomas

The New York Giants are still rebuilding their entire roster, and after drafting Andrew Thomas with the fourth overall pick, taking unnecessary risks like putting him at right tackle could be malpractice. You don’t draft a franchise left tackle in the top five picks just to put them at right tackle, despite the fact that some players at the position have started out on the right side in their rookie seasons.

Nate Solder is one of the players that began his career at right tackle, inevitably moving over to the left side. Many players have followed this path, but I don’t believe Thomas should be put in the same situation, as John Schmeelk of Giants.com suggests.

Schmeelk believes that there will be a three-way battle for both left and right tackle between Solder, Cameron Fleming, and Thomas. If the Giants want to maximize their talent, they will move Solder over to the right side where they can plug in their rookie tackle on the left, as developing him and his chemistry with quarterback Daniel Jones is the more efficient move.

Left tackle and right tackle are vastly different

While we mustn’t forget about the traditional methods, the Giants plan on using with new head coach Joe Judge in place, playing Thomas at anything but left tackle could be a massive mistake. Both tackle spots require vastly different sets of fundamentals and technique, and while Thomas has had some experience on the right side, the chemistry he will develop with Jones is essential to the success of the offense.

Paul Schwartz of the New York Post believes giving Thomas the left tackle job would be a mistake, which I wholeheartedly disagree with. His reasoning revolves around Solder, who is entering his 10th season in the NFL and has ample experience at the position. However, you could make the argument that Solder allowed 11 sacks last year and was one of the worst starters at the position in all of football.

I don’t trust him protecting Daniel Jones any longer, as consistent pressure will eventually brew sub-conscious tendencies and habits, similar to how Eli Manning looked like Happy Feet toward the end of his career.

There’s one good reason the New York Giants could plug Thomas in at RT:

The only good reasoning I have seen is from former Giant Pro Bowl center, Shaun O’Hara. He believes Thomas would be better off starting at right tackle to build his character, avoiding the same reality Ereck Flowers experienced. Allowing Thomas to build a skill set on the right side would make him interchangeable, so if he struggles at left tackle, they can move them over to the right side.

“It’s good for a guy like him to come in and, ‘No, you’re not going to left tackle, you’re playing right tackle.’ You got to earn left tackle,'” said O’Hara. “… The worst thing to happen to Ereck Flowers is he started as a rookie at left tackle. Once you start as a rookie, that first year you couldn’t tell him anything, because he had already played. That’s it. He wasn’t listening to anybody.

“It’s good you got a guy in Andrew Thomas that’s still hungry.”

O’Hara states that Flowers didn’t have to earn left tackle, and while that is true, the Giants had been struggling at the position severely and didn’t have a player with at least serviceability on the roster. Just because other players have done it in the past doesn’t mean it works to perfection every time, and I believe Thomas has the tangible and intangible traits to perform well on the left side out of the gates.

Nonetheless, I do understand and recognize that starting his career at right tackle could be beneficial in some way, but I like the upside in chemistry building factor more in his development. The idea of creating a competition is great for culture and makes it known that every position is up for grabs, even if they know Thomas will be the starter in 2020.

New York Giants’ James Bradberry a major upgrade over Janoris Jenkins?

New York Giants, James Bradberry

When the New York Giants reached out to James Bradberry to mull over the idea of a contract, he was most surprised his former general manager would look his way in free agency. With reports indicating the Giants’ interest in Byron Jones, star corner for the Dallas Cowboys, and now Miami Dolphins, Bradberry was left as second-pickings.

However, he was caught by surprise and earned a three-year, $43.5 million deal in the process.

“Honestly, he reached out to my agent. I really didn’t talk to (Dave) Gettleman. They came out of nowhere and made an offer, I didn’t even expect them to make an offer. He already knew the type of guy I was, and I already knew the type of guy he was. I already knew what type of organization he was trying to build over there in New York. I knew it was nothing but positive.”

The Giants replaced former corner Janoris Jenkins with Bradberry, which on paper seems to be an improvement. Comparing the two, Jenkins posted lofty missed tackle rates over the past two seasons, missing 17.6% of his tackles in 2018 and 14.3% in 2019 over 13 games with the Giants.

He also allowed three touchdowns last season while Bradberry allowed just one, but did post a slightly better completion percentage against at 53.8% with Big Blue compared to Bradberry with a 59.8% completion rate with Carolina.

An interesting fact

Interestingly, Jenkins was targeted just 88 times in coverage while Bradberry was targeted 97 times, allowing 58 completions. This would indicate that James is lining up against opposing number one wide-outs. This is true based on the elite status of the players he faces off against on a yearly basis. He will face far less quality in the NFC East, aside from the Cowboys who recently drafted CeeDee Lamb and already having Amari Cooper.

Twice per season, Bradberry was forced to face off against Julio Jones, Michael Thomas, Chris Godwin, and Mike Evans. Bradberry often shadows top targets on opposing offenses, which would attest to the high target totals he experiences yearly. He also enjoyed three interceptions last season, which is higher than any previous year.

Overall, the former Panther showed an elevation in most categories last season, justifying his contract with the Giants. Gettleman and Co. have made it a priority to sign free agents to three-year deals, front-loading contracts to give them flexibility after the second year. Bradberry earned $32 million guaranteed, but will only count $3 million dead cap in 2022, giving the Giants a way out just in case.