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Giants Now (1/7): Top underclassmen declare for 2020 NFL Draft


The regular season may be over, but there is still a ton going on around the New York Giants. Here are some of the big stories surrounding the Giants from Tuesday, January 7:

Top underclassmen declare for NFL Draft

The deadline for underclassmen to declare eligible for the 2020 NFL Draft is not until January 20, but many of the nation's top prospects have already made their intentions known. Here are some of the consensus top underclassmen who have already declared for the draft and their 2019 stats.

DE Chase Young, Ohio State- 46 tackles (32 solo), 16.5 sacks, six forced fumbles and three passes defensed

CB Jeff Okudah, Ohio State- 35 tackles (29 solo), three interceptions, two forced fumbles and nine passes defensed.

OT Andrew Thomas, Georgia- One sack allowed.

OT Jedrick Wills, Alabama- One sack and 3.5 quarterback hurries allowed.

QB Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama- 71.4 completion percentage, 2,840 yards, 33 touchdowns, three interceptions in nine games.

WR Jerry Jeudy, Alabama- 77 receptions for 1,163 yards and 10 touchdowns.

WR CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma- 62 receptions for 1,327 yards and 14 touchdowns.

RB Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin- 320 rushes for 2,003 yards (6.3 yards per carry) and 21 touchdowns, 26 receptions for 252 yards and five touchdowns.

RB J.K. Dobbins, Ohio State- 301 rush attempts for 2,003 yards (6.7 yards per carry) and 21 touchdowns, 23 receptions for 247 yards and two touchdowns.

RB D'Andre Swift, Georgia- 196 rush attempts for 1,218 yards (6.2 yards per carry) and seven touchdowns, 24 receptions for 216 yards and one touchdown.

Giants Interview Patriots' Joe Judge for Head Coach

The Giants' head coach search continued on Monday with New England Patriots special teams coordinator and wide receivers coach Joe Judge.

Judge began his coaching career at Mississippi State, where he served as a graduate assistant from 2005-2007. After one year as the linebackers coach at Birmingham-Southern, Judge moved on to Alabama where he was a special teams assistant from 2009-2011. The 38-year-old then joined Bill Belichick's coaching staff in New England as a special teams assistant in 2012.

Judge has been in the role of special teams coordinator for the Patriots since 2015, while his responsibilities as the team's wide receivers coach began in the 2019 season.

Former head coach Pat Shurmur was relieved of his duties last Monday. Judge is the fifth candidate to be brought in for an interview. Kris Richard, Mike McCarthy, Eric Bieniemy and Don Martindale have all had interviews with the Giants over the last week.

Judge is a three-time Super Bowl champion and a two-time BCS national champion, having worked under both Belichick and Nick Saban over the last 10 years.

Giants young D-linemen stood out in 2019

While the Giants defense did not reach the level of success that the team and fans were hoping for this season, the unit featured several bright spots, especially along the interior defensive line.

Dalvin Tomlinson was the Giants' highest-graded player on defense, according to Pro Football Focus, finishing with an overall grade of 78.1. This was the 11th-highest mark among all interior defensive linemen with at least 500 snaps. The 25-year-old has now graded above 78 overall in each of his first three seasons.

Tomlinson finished the season with 49 tackles (23 solo) and a career-high 3.5 sacks, seven tackles for loss, nine quarterback hits and one forced fumble. The former second-round pick has not missed a game in his three-year career.

Dexter Lawrence was named to PFF’s 2019 NFL All-Rookie Team after his successful first season. The 22-year-old earned a 76.1 overall grade, but Lawrence really left his mark in the run game. The number 17 overall pick in last year's draft earned a 76.3 run defense grade from PFF, which ranked 21st among the 117 qualifying interior defenders this season. Among the six interior defensive linemen selected in the first round of the 2019 draft, Lawrence was the only one to play 500 or more defensive snaps and earn an overall grade above 70.0.

Lawrence racked up 38 tackles (24 solo), 2.5 sacks, three tackles for loss, and nine quarterback hits in his rookie campaign. He also recorded one forced fumble and one pass defended while playing in all 16 games.

B.J. Hill also put together a solid season, earning an overall grade of 75.9 and a run defense grade of 79.9 from PFF. The second-year tackle registered 36 tackles (15 solo), one sack, two tackles for loss and two quarterback hits in 16 games.

Between these three players, the Giants have a strong core of young interior linemen that will serve as a talented foundation to build around up front.

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