By Michael Stewart/@golferbad
The Giants enter the 2020 training camp with a total of eight defensive linemen on the roster with possibly five making the final cuts (2019 53-man roster had five) before the start of the season. That would leave three defensive linemen being released or a few possibly making the practice squad.
New DC Patrick Graham has expressed an interest in playing multiple defensive schemes and he would want players who are interchangeable. With that being the case, it would probably suggest that any of the nine candidates has a shot.
Currently; the top 3 starters in a 3-4 scheme are Dexter Lawrence, Dalvin Tomlinson and Leonard Williams. Switch them over to a 4-3 scheme and B.J Hill joins the group. The remaining cast are Chris Slayton, R.J McIntosh, Austin Johnson and UDFA signee Niko Lalos.
What makes this group interesting is that although it seems the Giants have extreme depth, keep in mind that both Williams and Tomlinson will be free agents after the season, and at this point; there are no clear indication either of them will be re-signed. Also, throw in that Slayton, McIntosh, and Johnson are fighting for their jobs this season and aren’t guarantees of returning in 2021. So how deep is this position really?
Final Thoughts: The decision to not use one of their 10 picks on the DL could be questioned; especially if they don’t re-sign either Tomlinson and/or Williams. The Giants could always dip into free agency for a productive run stuffer at a more reasonable price or invest in the 2021 draft as well as next year’s class is deep and talented.
History doesn’t support the return of Dalvin Tomlinson in 2021 as many past defensive linemen such as; Linval Joseph, Johnathan Hankins, Barry Cofield, and Jay Bromley never made it past their rookie contracts with the Giants. So keep your eyes on this position as a possible position the Giants will focus heavily on next offseason. Over the next few months, I will be spotlighting certain defensive lineman with more detailed analysis leading up to the start of the season.