Cover 3: Best opposing player on schedule?

Posted Jul 10, 2017

Three Giants writers debate which player is the best the Giants will face this season:

Who is the best player the Giants face this season?


The best player the Giants will face this season is Denver’s Von Miller. Miller is a three-time, first-team All-Pro with two second-team nods. He has made the Pro Bowl five times. He came up huge in the biggest game, earning the MVP of Super Bowl 50. Aside from an injury-plagued 2009 season, he has had 10 or more sacks every year he has played.


His 13.5 sacks last year were second-most in the league. He does all this while being part of what might be the best defense in football for the Broncos. Edge rushers are the premium players on any defense, and Miller, in my opinion, is the best of the bunch. He was second to Khalil Mack in Defensive Player of the Year voting but should have been first. The Giants offensive line, specifically right tackle Bobby Hart, will get to try to block him on October 15 on “Sunday Night Football” a mile above sea level.


I thought it was a quarterback league, but we’re all staying within the defensive front seven here. The one I’m taking is defensive tackle Aaron Donald of the Rams. He’s the Odell Beckham Jr. of defense. He was the Defensive Rookie of the Year when Beckham picked up the honor on offense in 2014. And like Beckham, he wasn’t a one-hit wonder. He earned a Pro Bowl nod in each of his first three seasons with a pair of first-team All-Pro honors to boot. While appearing on NFL Network last week, Giants left guard Justin Pugh, who also played against Donald in college, said he is the best defensive lineman in the NFL. “Offensive linemen just get in his way; they don’t stop him,” Pugh said. His explosion off the ball is second to none, allowing him to pressure quarterbacks as much as the best edge rushers in the league – and he’s doing so from the inside. If you want more praise from people in the know, Giants defensive tackle Damon Harrison, a first-team All-Pro selection last season, ranked him as the top DT in the league.


The 2014 draft class produced many impactful players, and the Giants will see a number of them in 2017, highlighted by Raiders pass-rusher Khalil Mack, the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year.  In just three seasons in the league, Mack has already earned two invites to the Pro Bowl, two first-yeam All-Pro selections and a Pro Football Writers of America All-Rookie Team selection in 2014.  Mack is one of the most disruptive players in the NFL.  He’s collected 30 sacks in his first three seasons combined, including at least 11 in each of the last two seasons.  The former first-round pick has such a knack for getting to the quarterback that he recorded at least one sack in eight straight games during one stretch in 2016.  If that’s not impressive enough, he also posted five forced fumbles and recovered three, both career-highs.  While Mack showcases elite pass rushing skills, he’s also solid against the run and has the ability to drop back into coverage.  His versatility makes him extremely dangerous, which is why the Giants offensive line will have its hands full in Week 13 when it visits Oakland.