Dexter Lawrence shined bright among second-year defenders
The Giants finished the 2020 campaign with a top 10 scoring defense, thanks in part to the strong play of defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence.
Lawrence earned a 79.7 overall grade from Pro Football Focus this past season, ranking 17th among all interior defensive linemen. However, his success was even more impressive when compared to his fellow second-year defenders.
The 23-year-old defensive lineman was tied for the third-highest overall grade among all defenders from the 2019 NFL Draft, matching Washington's Montez Sweat. The only two defenders to earn higher grades from the draft class were the Titans' Jeffery Simmons (83.9) and the Jets' Quinnen Williams (81.4).
Lawrence played all 16 games for the second consecutive year. He registered 53 total tackles (30 solo), four sacks, six tackles for loss, 10 quarterback hits and two passes defensed.
The former Clemson Tiger performed well in all areas, earning a 73.2 pass rush grade and a 73.1 run defense grade. His four sacks tied Kyler Fackrell for the second-most on the team, while he also played a large role in the defense limiting opponents to just 4.1 yards per carry, good for the eighth-best mark in the league.
Two-round PFF mock draft has Giants boosting OL, WR
The 2021 NFL Draft is a little over two months away.
Each week we get closer to April 29, new names begin to get linked to the Giants in mock drafts.
In Pro Football Focus' latest one, Anthony Treash put together a two-round mock draft representing what he would do if he were the general manager of all 32 NFL teams.
With the No. 11 pick, Treash has the Giants selecting Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell.
Sewell was spectacular in 2019, winning the Outland Trophy and the Morris Trophy in addition to being named First-Team All-Pac-12 and unanimous All-American. In 20 games between the 2018 and 2019 season, Sewell surrendered only one sack. He opted out of the 2020 season.
As Treash writes, "First things first, the chances of Sewell actually falling this far are slim. But this mock represents what I would do and not what the NFL would do, so a generational tackle falls right in the lap of New York here at Pick 11. Sewell recorded a 95.8 PFF grade in 2019, which still stands as the highest-graded season by a Power 5 tackle since 2014. At 6-foot-6, 325-pounds, it's quite amazing watching Sewell move in space — the overall athleticism is off the charts. He earned a 95.7 grade as a run-blocker in 2019 and was also nearly perfect in pass protection, allowing just seven pressures on 491 snaps."
After shoring up the offensive line in the first round, Treash took North Carolina wide receiver Dyami Brown with the Giants' No. 42 pick.
In 11 games this past season, Brown caught 55 passes for 1,099 yards and eight touchdowns on his way to being selected as First-Team All-ACC and AP Third-Team All-American. As a sophomore in 2019, Brown finished the season with 51 receptions for 1,034 yards and 12 touchdowns in 12 games, good enough for him to be named Third-Team All-ACC.
"Brown was a sole vertical threat at UNC over the past two seasons," Treash writes. "He racked up 1,087 yards on vertical targets in that span, edging out Alabama's DeVonta Smith for the most in the FBS (was over 400 yards more than the third-best in the Power Five). While Brown's route tree was incredibly limited with the Tar Heels, he easily showed he will have no issue with taking on a more diverse set in the NFL."
NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah updated his ranking of the top 50 prospects in the 2021 NFL Draft for the final time before the start of the draft.
Governor Murphy announces plans for Giants fans to return to MetLife Stadium
Statement from the New York Giants, New York Jets, and MetLife Stadium:
Today Governor Murphy announced MetLife Stadium can welcome fans back at 15 percent capacity for all events beginning March 1.
As the months go on, we are hopeful that the data will continue to be positive and the number of people allowed into MetLife Stadium will steadily increase. The health and safety of our fans, players, staff, and those in our communities remain our top priority and we will continue to follow the guidance of Governor Murphy and state health officials.
We missed seeing our loyal fans at stadium events this past year and are excited to welcome them back in 2021.
Re-live the most memorable moments and images from the first year of the Joe Judge era.