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Giants Now: ESPN ranks Leonard Williams among top defensive tackles

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ESPN ranks Leonard Williams among top defensive tackles

ESPN has been ranking the top 10 players at each position leading up to the start of training camp based on a survey of 50 league executives, coaches, scouts and players. When it came time to list the top interior defensive linemen, Leonard Williams landed at No. 7.

As ESPN's Jeremy Fowler notes, Williams' positional flexibility serves as a challenge for opposing offensive lines. He has the ability to line up inside, but can also rush the passer off the edge.

One NFC scout told Fowler, "That combination of size and athleticism is just rare."

Williams played in all 16 games in his first full season with the Giants. In fact, the defensive lineman has played in every game five times in six seasons, missing only one game in his NFL career.

The 26-year-old recorded career-bests with 11.5 sacks, 14.5 tackles for loss, and 30 quarterback hits in 2020. Williams' 62 combined sacks, hits and hurries were also seven more than his previous career-high. His 79.8 overall grade ranked 15th among interior defenders by Pro Football Focus last season, helped by an elite 82.6 run defense grade.

PFF also ranked Williams inside their ranking of the top 10 interior defensive linemen earlier this offseason.

View photos of defensive lineman Leonard Williams.

21 Questions: 2021 breakout candidates

With the calendar flipped to July, Giants.com asks 21 important questions heading into the team's 2021 training camp at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center.

For 21 days, a member of the Giants.com crew will answer one question about the roster, coaching staff, schedule, and much more.

Dan Salomone: Clinching a Week 17 victory over the rival Cowboys with an interception was a good way to springboard safety Xavier McKinney into his sophomore campaign. While a fractured foot delayed his rookie debut until Week 12 last year, teammates and coaches still knew how special McKinney could be in the NFL. He started to show that as he got his legs under him, and his game should only improve with Pro Bowl-caliber players and leaders around him at every level of the defense.

In terms of a player with a few more years under his belt, edge defender Ifeadi Odenigbo is a name to remember. The newcomer from the Vikings has already built a strong relationship with assistant head coach/defensive coordinator Patrick Graham.

"Outside of football, he's a very knowledgeable guy," said Graham, who played college football at Yale. "We were doing Zooms, and I saw his artwork in the background and helped me out. He provided the connection there for the artwork. Smart guy. I like the way he plays football. He has versatility inside and outside on the line. Natural pass rush ability. Plays strong with his hands. Physical edge setter and a great attitude. He's always soaking it up. He's very serious, but he could play around a little bit."

Through the Years: Giants vs. Broncos

Week 1 is just over two months away.

The Giants will welcome the Denver Broncos to MetLife Stadium for the season opener on September 12 for a 4:25PM kickoff.

Check out the gallery below to view the best photos of the history between the Giants and their Week 1 opponent.

View rare photos of the history between the New York Giants and Denver Broncos.