If you thought last year’s New York Giants defense was good, just wait. For there’s a trio of players poised to take this unit to another level in 2017.
Last season, the New York Giants had the second-ranked scoring defense in the NFL. This was in large part due to strong safety Landon Collins, who had an outstanding second season in the NFL and should have been named Defensive Player of the Year.
With Collins back for year three, this year’s Giants defense can be even better than last year’s edition. A trio of players heading into their second season has an excellent chance of delivering breakout campaigns, much like Collins did.
Who are we talking about? Let’s take a look.
1. CB Eli Apple
With a year under his belt, a firm grasp on defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s schemes and having adjusted to the speed of the NFL, Apple is poised to make a huge leap in year two.
He will have plenty of opportunities to come away with interceptions as teams will target him in an attempt to try and avoid Janoris Jenkins, the team’s top corner. Don’t be surprised if Apple winds up leading the team in interceptions.
2. LB B.J. Goodson
Entering his second year out of Clemson University, Goodson has already established himself as the team’s starting middle linebacker. His physicality and aggressiveness adds a new dimension to the Giants defense.
Considering how effective he was blitzing up the middle in the Giants first preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, look for more of the same once the regular season begins. His play will help the Giants improve on the 35 sacks they recorded in 2016.
3. FS Darian Thompson
Thompson impressed coaches and teammates with his assertiveness and how vocal he was on the field during training camp last season. He was immediately named the starting free safety and was expected to be a key contributor to the Giants defense. But he suffered a Lisfranc injury in Week 2 against the New Orleans Saints and was lost for the season.
Fully healed, he played the entire first half in the team’s preseason opener. Thompson was known as a ball hawk at Boise State University, where he had 19 interceptions. Look for him to be a threat to pick one off anytime an opposing quarterback throws in his direction.