The New York Giants defense dramatically improved in 2016 moving from last in 2015 to 10th in 2016. Rookie Dalvin Tomlinson could improve this ranking.
Ten out of the 11 starters from 2016 are back this season with the lone exception being defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins who left via free agency and signed with the Indianapolis Colts.
The interior duo of Hankins and All-Pro Damon Harrison was the main reason why the Giants were tied for third in run defense, and why they were able to twice contain the Dallas Cowboys ground attack.
Replacing the 6-foot-2, 320-pound Hankins won’t be an easy task, but the Giants believe they not only found Hankins replacement in second round draft pick defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson, and he could prove to be an immediate upgrade.
In his four years at Alabama, Tomlinson recorded 122 tackles and 10.5 of those tackles were for losses. Some felt he was the best run-stopping defensive tackle in this year’s draft.
Playing in the New York market will not be an issue for him as he’s accustom to playing on the biggest stage having played in back to back National Championship games.
At 6-foot-3, 310 pounds, he has a more athletic build than Hankins and will be able to generate more of a push up the middle than Hankins. With the Giants now being able to get pressure up the middle, they’ll improve on the 35 sacks they had as a team a season ago.
One of the reasons the Giants defense will be better with the addition of Tomlinson is because of his athletic background playing soccer and having won three titles in wrestling.
When speaking with the media on Friday, he explained that his wrestling background will help him with his leverage in getting around blockers and that his soccer background will help him with his endurance because of all the running that’s involved.
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Getting a player with this type of versatility and upside in the second round could prove to be one of the biggest steals of the 2017 draft.
Harrison contacted Tomlinson shortly after the being drafted and told him he can’t wait to work with him. Not only will Harrison be excited to play with Tomlinson, Giants fans will be excited to see him in action as well.
With the continuity of the other 10 starters on defense and the addition of Tomlinson, look for the Giants to be a top five defense this season.
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