New York Giants: Leonard Williams playing at Pro Bowl level in 2020

New York Giants, Leonard Williams

The New York Giants are trending upward after a shaky start to the 2020 NFL season. New York has won three of its last five games, led by its stout defense that ranks tied-eleventh in the NFL in total sacks (25). Patrick Graham and the Giants’ defense has been a consistent strong point for the team this season.

One of the reasons for the Giants’ defensive success has been their defensive line. New York possesses one of the best young defensive lines in the NFL. Dalvin Tomlinson, Dexter Lawrence, and Leonard Williams make up a beastly front trio for the Giants’ defense.

This year, though, the Giants have had one of their defensive linemen emerge and establish himself as one of the best in the game. Leonard Williams has had a breakout season in his second year with the New York Giants and is playing at a Pro Bowl level.

Leonard Williams Stats and Highlights

Former New York Jets defensive lineman Leonard Williams could be playing his way to his second career Pro Bowl appearance. Of course, the Pro Bowl is happening in some virtual format this year, but players will still be honored for their special seasons by being selected to Pro Bowl teams.

In 2016, Leonard Williams made the Pro Bowl as a member of the New York Jets. This was Williams’s second season in the NFL. That season, Williams recorded 7 total sacks, 11 tackles for loss, and 19 quarterback hits. Williams is on pace to beat each one of those marks this season.

Through 10 games in 2020, Williams already has 5 sacks, 7 tackles for loss, and 16 quarterback hits on the season. Williams is on pace to crush his career-high statistics this year. He has had an absolute breakout season in Patrick Graham’s defensive scheme after a highly-disappointing 2019 season.

Last year, Williams was only able to manage 0.5 sack on the season. He failed to get home and bring down opposing quarterbacks, despite generating a high number of pressures. This year, though, Williams has turned those pressures into sacks at a higher rate and the Giants’ defense has benefited from this.

This will be a career year for Leonard Williams if he continues to play at this level. Playing on a franchise tag this season, Williams is in line for a lucrative contract extension this upcoming offseason. He seems to have earned one so far this season.

New York Giants: Top Three 2021 Pro Bowl Candidates

The New York Giants were one of the worst teams in the NFL in 2019. Despite playing in the biggest market and being one of the league’s most popular teams, the Giants laid a goose egg in Pro Bowl voting. Not a single Giants player made the 2020 NFL Pro Bowl, held in Orlando, Florida.

The NFL recently announced that the 2021 Pro Bowl will be played in Las Vegas. The question now is whether or not any New York Giants players will be in Las Vegas with the rest of the best players in the NFL. That being said, who are the Giants’ top candidates to make the 2021 Pro Bowl?

Saquon Barkley

Superstar running back Saquon Barkley is entering his third NFL season. Saquon put the league on notice in his rookie season, totaling a league-high 2,028 scrimmage yards. Barkley also made the Pro Bowl and won Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2018.

2019 was a bit less exciting for Barkley. The Penn State product suffered an ankle injury in Week 3 that kept him sidelined for weeks. Even when Saquon returned from the injury he was not fully himself.

In 2020, a fully healthy Saquon Barkley should have another monstrous season. He had a new and improved offensive line, along with a new offensive coordinator in Jason Garrett. Garrett led the Cowboys offense to numerous rushing titles during his time in Dallas. Saquon Barkley could break out in a major way this season in Garrett’s offensive scheme.

Leonard Williams

One of Dave Gettleman’s most controversial decisions as general manager of the New York Giants was trading a third and fifth-round pick for impending free-agent defensive lineman Leonard Williams. The former New York Jet made the trip to the other locker room and immediately had a significant impact on the Giants’ defense.

“Leonard Williams ranked 11th in total pressures among interior defensive lineman in 2019. Only Williams and two others in the top 20 had fewer than 4 sacks last season. Leonard Williams led the NFL with 19 QB hits, with the 2nd ranked player recording 14.” – Pro Football Focus

Year after year, Leonard Williams has been a great defensive lineman. However, he has only made the Pro Bowl once (2016). If Williams could turn more of those pressures into sacks, he could make his second career Pro Bowl in 2020.

Kevin Zeitler

Kevin Zeitler is one of the best pass-blocking offensive guards in the NFL. In 2019, in 61 combined pass-blocking snaps against Ndamukong Suh, Fletcher Cox, and Kenny Clark this season, Zeitler allowed just one quarterback hurry (PFF). The Giants acquired Zeitler in the Vernon and Odell trade with the Cleveland Browns, and he has been one of the team’s best players ever since.

Also according to Pro Football Focus, Zeitler finished with the sixth-best grade among guards and posted a strong 75.0 pass-blocking grade — the sixth-straight year he’s achieved that mark. Kevin Zeitler provides the Giants with consistent, and reliable pass protection- something hugely important for a young, developing quarterback like Daniel Jones. If the Giants are winning games with an improved offensive line, Zeitler will deserve to go to his first career Pro Bowl in 2020.

The New York Jets could pursue Pro Bowl offensive guard Larry Warford

New York Jets, Larry Warford

You probably read that headline and thought, “Sheesh, how many more offensive linemen can this team sign?”. Quite frankly, Joe Douglas has spent loads of resources between draft picks and money towards fixing the offensive line. Although he’s done a great job, the New York Jets could add another offensive lineman who would turn the line into an above-average line. That lineman is the newly released 3-time pro bowler, Larry Warford.

Who is Larry Warford?

Larry Warford was a third-round pick by the New Orleans Saints during the 2013 draft. At 28 years old, Warford has started on the Saints offensive line since his inception into the NFL. He’s only missed a handful of games in that time, and he’s received three Pro Bowl nods in the last three years. Warford is a durable and talented guard. Had he hit the market at the start of free agency, he’d have been a hot commodity. Now, with the addition of Saints’ first-rounder Cesar Ruiz to pair with their other young offensive linemen, the Saints felt that Warford and his $12.9 million dollar cap hit (2nd highest next to Drew Brees) were not worth it anymore. Warford now faces a likely extensive market.

The New York Jets Should Target Him

As I previously mentioned, although the Jets overhauled their offensive line, you never say no to a Pro Bowler. The tackles and center position may be solidified, and the Jets may have established competition at guard, but Warford is an instant game-changer. His durability and leadership would make him an asset. If you release Brian Winters and allow Alex Lewis, Cameron Clark, and Greg Van Roten to compete for the other guard spot, then Warford can be a starter on the line.

The fact is, the Jets need to continue to improve and establish completion at a position that is still not all the way improved. Adding a Pro Bowler in his prime would take the Jets’ offensive line to another level.

New York Giants make Pro Bowl

New York Giants, Daniel Jones

Each year the NFL host a Pro Bowl which showcases the best of the best in the league from all 32 teams.  This year, a few familiar names to New York Giants fans have made the Pro Bowl Ballot.

A few shining stars this year on the New York Giants have been nominated for a chance to be in the 2020 Pro Bowl:

OFFENSE:

At the quarterback position: Rookie Daniel Jones with 17 touchdowns (so far), 1,984 yards

At the running back position: The extremely adept Saquon Barkley whose had 3 touchdowns, fighting for every last yard and the powerful Elijhaa Penny who has made it his mission to be the best he can be

At the wide receiver position: Rookie Darius Slayton, who has been nothing short of absolutely stellar in just his debut with 5 stunning touchdowns earning him a slew of very well-deserved accolades and Veteran Cody Latimer who has given it his all showcasing his skills and adroitness when it comes to making receptions

At the tight end position:  Rhett Ellison who has proved to be an asset to the team and Evan Engram who showcases his talents each and every time he steps out on the field

At the tackle position: Mike Remmers and Nate Solder who demonstrated their steadfastness to the team

At the guard position: Will Hernandez who showed his loyalty for his teammates both on and off the filed and Kevin Zeitler who exhibited a dedication to the team and the game of football

At the center position: Jon Halapio who made it his goal to be unwavering

DEFENSE:

At the defensive end position: Rookie Dexter Lawrence whose staunch and ardent abilities made him a shining star already

At the defensive tackle position: Dalvin Tomlinson whose fervor and wit made him a truly skilled player and newcomer Leonard Williams who vowed to be nothing short of passionate when it comes to making plays

At the inside linebacker position: Alec Ogletree who became a powerful tackle machine

At the outside linebacker position: Lorenzo Carter a fierce and fiery player who made intense plays and Markus Golden who is truly an utterly keen, dependable play-maker who became an asset to the team in every sense of the word and has been purely GOLDEN to the Giants and the game of football

At the cornerback position: Rookie DeAndre Baker who has proven to be a great pick and Janoris Jenkins whose allegiance has made him a trustworthy player

At the strong safety position: Jabrill Peppers who has lived up to his jobs name being ever so powerful and strong both physically and mentally

At the free safety position: Antoine Bethea whose steady experience and seasoned plays have helped the defense

SPECIAL TEAMS:

At the kicker position: Aldrick Rosas whose rigor have added points to the board

At the punter position: Riley Dixon whose precision and exactitude have been an assistant to the team

At the special teamers position: Michael Thomas whose been an absolute gift to the Giants, rallying the team, being a leader both on and off the field and an all-around great guy

Be sure to vote for your favorite New York Giants players so you can see them in the 2020 Pro Bowl!  Sure the season may not have gone the way we all had hoped, but we still did have some amazing plays and wonderful players!

New York Giants: An Evan Engram All-Pro Season Hinges on His Health

The New York Giants could have a potential All-Pro in the making with Evan Engram, but that all hinges on the tight end staying healthy in 2019.

The New York Giants are prepping for their Week one opponent in the Dallas Cowboys, but they’ve also been prepping to withstand the number of hurdles placed in their way already. Among them, the quickly depleted receiving corps that has seen Golden Tate suspended for the first four games, a broken thumb suffered by Sterling Shepard, and Corey Coleman tearing his ACL.

As a result, the path to carving out a significant role in the Giants’ offense and a potential All-Pro type of season has never been more apparent for third-year tight end Evan Engram. Since being drafted in the first round back in 2017, Engram has shown flashes of being a threat in the passing game.

But through two seasons it hasn’t been defensive backs or linebackers keeping him from reaching his peak, it has been his own body and various injuries. Engram suffered a concussion early in his rookie season and later dealt with a rib injury that knocked him out of the season finale. Last season, a concussion, MCL sprain, and hamstring injury limited him to just 11 games.

And yet through all the injuries, Evan Engram still managed to rack up production on the field. Engram has tallied 109 receptions for 1299 yards and nine touchdowns. He’s averaged a strong 11.9 yards per reception throughout his young career (ProFootballReference).

All this statistical production, and yet we still have not seen him make it through a full 16-game season. New York is banking on that to occur this season and if that goal is achieved, Engram could be in for an All-Pro type of year.

With the receiving corps being depleted to start the season, Engram could very well slide into the number two option on offense. Saquon Barkley is the undisputed top dog, but defenses will be more than willing to stack the box in response. To keep them at bay, they need to respect the passing game.

And that is where Evan Engram’s opportunity lies if his body can hold up long enough to take advantage. So far through the offseason, early word is that he’s doing his part off the field to see this season through in its entirety. As he’s reiterated, “…I’m just following up on the little things and trying to keep up on my body and I’ll make sure I’m doing everything I can, on my part, to stay on the field.” (The Athletic)

Engram is doing his part, and if his body obliges he could be in for the best statistical season of his young career. The Giants’ season might not hinge on it, but New York will surely welcome it.

New York Giants: Olivier Vernon To Play In The Pro Bowl As An Alternate

New York Giants, Olivier Vernon

The NFL announced the 2018 Pro Bowl rosters last month and three New York Giants were selected as starters. Saquon Barkley, Landon Collins, and Aldrick Rosas were voted to be starters.

Collins will be unable to participate due to injury, so the Giants were without a starter on defense in the Pro Bowl. That was until Khalil Mack of the Chicago Bears informed the league he will be unable to participate due to injury. A New York Giants pass rusher by the name of Olivier Vernon will start in Mack’s place.

Highlights From Olivier Vernon’s 2018 Season

Olivier Vernon dealt with injuries at the beginning of the season. He missed the first five games of the year with an ankle injury. However, when Vernon got on the field, he was the Giants’ best pass rusher.

Vernon finished the season with 7 sacks and 30 combined tackles in 11 games. He also added a forced fumble, five tackles for loss, and 21 quarterback hits. Vernon did not total a lot of sacks, but he did total a high number of quarterback pressures. Pro Football Focus gave Vernon a well above-average grade of 86.3, making him the 14th ranked edge defender in the NFL in 2018.

https://twitter.com/DLineVids/status/1050633139729588224

Olivier Vernon Controversy

Being voted in as an alternate was a bit of a head-scratcher for Giants fans. Giants fans have been very critical of Vernon over the past two seasons. He has lacked top dollar productivity despite having a cap hit of $16 million. On top of that, Vernon has not been on the field enough to make a serious and consistent impact. He has missed nine games in the last two seasons, making Giants fans wonder what the team is paying for. The answer is that they are paying for an edge defender who will consistently pressure the quarterback. The issue is that he usually does not finish the play. A combined 13.5 sacks in the past 23 games is not worth $16 million in the eyes of Giants Nation.

Despite all this, Vernon is a Pro Bowler. Luckily for the Giants fans who want to see Vernon off the team next season, Vernon’s Pro Bowl nod makes that even more of a possibility. Fans vote for the Pro Bowl rosters, but so do players and coaches. Vernon making the Pro Bowl in 2018 shows that he has the respect of many players and coaches around the league. This should greatly boost his trade value and make it easier to move on from the edge rusher in 2019.

Three New York Giants Players Awarded With 2019 Pro Bowl Honors

New York Giants, Saquon Barkley

The NFL announced the rosters for the 2019 Pro Bowl on Tuesday and three New York Giants players were selected as starters. Those players include rookie running back Saquon Barkley, the NFL’s most efficient kicker this season in Aldrick Rosas, and the injured captain of the defense Landon Collins.

Saquon Barkley:

Saquon Barkley, the extraordinary rookie running back out of Penn State will participate in his first Pro Bowl of his career this year. The number two overall pick from last year’s draft leads all rookies in rushing yards and is third in the NFL in that category with 1,155 rushing yards on the season so far. Saquon has also tallied nine rushing touchdowns so far this season. On top of that, Barkley has 82 receptions for 654 yards and 4 receiving touchdowns. This totals his all-purpose yards at an astounding 1,809 yards with two games left to play. The Giants have a special player in Barkley. He is the first rookie Giants running back selected for the Pro Bowl since 1965. Giants fans should expect to see Barkley selected for the Pro Bowl on a yearly basis.

Aldrick Rosas:

After a rocky 2017, fans were skeptical of Aldrick Rosas and unsure if he should return to the team in 2018. However, it is now clear that the Giants front office made the right decision in keeping Rosas. Through 15 weeks of the 2018-2019 NFL season, Rosas has been the league’s best kicker. He has only missed one field goal all season, making his tally an impressive 28 for 29. His longest field goal of the season was a Giants team record 57 yard kick against the Chicago Bears. Rosas even won NFC Special Teams Player of the Week that week. Rosas will be the fourth Giants kicker selected to for the Pro Bowl in team history.

Landon Collins:

Former all-pro safety Landon Collins has now made the Pro Bowl for three straight seasons. Landon is a popular player in the NFL, known for his leadership and hard-hitting play style. Unfortunately, for the second season in a row, Collins will be unable to participate in the event due to injury.

Alternates And Snubs:

Many Giants fans were surprised to see that Odell Beckham Jr. was snubbed from the Pro Bowl roster in 2019. This is the secon season in Odell’s career that he was not selected as a Pro Bowl starter (last season he was not selected due to being placed on injured reserve in week 5.

However, Beckham Jr. was awarded as a second alternate, so it is likely he will have a chance to play in the game anyway. Along with Odell Beckham Jr., the Giants had two other players selected as alternates. Safety/special teamer Michael Thomas was selected as a special teamer first alternate.

Pass rushing outside linebacker Olivier Vernon was also selected as a first alternate. This shows that general managers and coaches around the NFL value Vernon’s play, which could boost his trade value this offseason. Another player who was snubbed from the Pro Bowl is linebacker Alec Ogletree. Ogletree has five interceptions this season and leads the Giants in tackles with 93 tackles. In the opinion of many Giants fans, his play during the second half of the season warrants a Pro Bowl selection.