ESPN's Mike Clay ranks Giants No. 1 interior defensive line unit
Week 1 may still be about four months away, but it's never too early to start previewing the season.
ESPN's Mike Clay recently ranked all 32 teams' interior defensive linemen, and coming in at the very top of the list was the New York Giants, led by Dexter Lawrence and Leonard Williams.
While speaking to the media at the NFL Combine, general manager Joe Schoen made it clear that he planned on improving the team's depth along the defensive line.
"Talk about allocating resources to positions. It's important," Schoen said prior to the start of free agency. "We've got to be better next year at stopping the run. I think some of that is our depth where Dexter doesn't have to play the amount of snaps he has to play or Leo doesn't have to be out there as much as he was out there. So, it's important not just there but across the board. We need to improve the depth on both sides of the ball."
Fast forward to today, Schoen has done a tremendous job of boosting that area of the roster. In addition to signing Lawrence to a multi-year extension, the Giants added veterans A'Shawn Robinson and Rakeem Nunez-Roches in free agency.
The group of Lawrence, Williams, Robinson, Nunez-Roches and Ryder Anderson ranked No. 1 on Clay's list.
Lawrence enjoyed a true breakout campaign in 2022 on his way to being named Second-Team All-Pro. The fourth-year defensive lineman set new career-highs with 7.5 sacks and 28 quarterback hits, shattering his previous high marks of 4.0 sacks and 11 QB hits. He has also set new career-bests in total tackles (68), tackles for loss (seven), pass breakups (three) and forced fumbles (two), which led to his first selection to the Pro Bowl. Lawrence registered 70 total pressures, including the playoffs, and 42 defensive stops, according to PFF.
Williams missed time due to injury for the first time in his eight-year career this past season. In the 12 games he did play, the veteran lineman registered 45 tackles (26 solo), 2.5 sacks, 12 quarterback hits, five tackles for loss, one forced fumble and a career-best two fumble recoveries.
Robinson, 6-4 and 330 pounds, has played in 93 regular-season games with 61 starts. His career totals include 293 tackles (181 solo), 7.0 sacks, 20 tackles for loss, one interception, which he returned two yards for a touchdown, 20 quarterback hits, 17 passes defensed, five forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries.
Nunez-Roches has registered 132 tackles, 3.5 sacks (career-high 2.0 last season), 12 quarterback hits, 14 tackles for loss, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery across 102 games (38 starts).
Here are Clay's full 2023 interior defensive linemen unit rankings and depth charts.
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