EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Each year, Football Outsiders comes out with a Top 25 breakout 'prospects' list, a list of the top 25 young players in the NFL. They write a list up before the season starts and then an updated one halfway through the season. On their current midseason list for 2018, Rivers McCown, who is a special to ESPN.com, placed linebacker Lorenzo Carter at No. 8 and defensive lineman B.J. Hill at No. 25.
There's certain criteria in order to be eligible for the list. The player has to be a third-round pick or lower, or undrafted, from the classes of 2016-2018. They have to have had played in 500 or fewer offensive or defensive career snaps through Week 10 of 2018 (except running backs, who have a maximum of 300 snaps). They can't have signed a contract extension and have to be 26 or under.
Last year's midseason list had players such as Alvin Kamara, Aaron Jones, and George Kittle.
Edge linebacker Lorenzo Carter falls in the top 10 at No. 8. Carter is 22 years old, drafted in the 3rd round of the 2018 draft, and has only played in 253 snaps through Week 10.
"When the Giants snagged Carter in the third round, they were making a bet on tools over production," McCown said. "Carter's 4.5 40-yard dash and explosive results in the vertical and broad-jump metrics made him someone who fit the NFL mold of a top edge rusher. The result at Georgia? Not so much. Carter had just 14 sacks despite serious playing time in all four seasons with the Bulldogs. Our SackSEER projection system took the middle ground, projecting him for 18.3 sacks in his first four seasons on the basis of the athleticism."
So far this season, Carter has 26 tackles, 2 sacks, and 6 hurries. He's been used in a rotation with fellow linebackers Kareem Martin, Connor Barwin, and Olivier Vernon. Coaches have had high praise for Carter and his future with the Giants.
"Carter has one of the widest variances of anyone on this list," McCown said. "We wouldn't be surprised if he's a star, and we wouldn't be surprised if he never became a full-time starter. If his physical profile wins out, you can expect production along the lines of another Georgia product: Bears edge player Leonard Floyd."
The other Giant on the list is defensive lineman B.J. Hill at No. 25. Hill is 23 years old, also drafted in the 3rd round of the 2018 draft, and has only played in 267 snaps through Week 10.
"Drafted to play the 3-technique in New York's 3-4, Hill's main issue coming out of college was that scouts wondered about his functional strength," McCown said. "Hill was more of a penetrator in college, and a number of draftniks wondered how playing next to Bradley Chubb informed the damage he was able to bring. A nice three-cone drill time at the NFL combine (7.28 for an interior lineman!) helped solidify his draft position."
So far this season, Hill has 29 tackles, 2 sacks, and 3 hurries. Rotating with Dalvin Tomlinson, Josh Mauro, and Kerry Wynn has limited Hill's time on the field. The departure of Damon Harrison, however, opens up more opportunities for the rookie.
"The run defense is far more telling for his future," McCown said. "If he can continue to win one-on-one inside in passing situations, the Giants will have another building block for their front seven as they look to the future."
The Giants have been careful so far this season with giving their two rookies a lot to handle, trying not to stunt their growth. Learning from veterans and benefiting from fresh legs due to rotations at their positions, Carter and Hill look to continue to improve and standout as the second half of the season kicks off.
The entire list can be viewed here
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