Despite Dave Gettleman adding several defensive free agents, there are still concerns surrounding the New York Giants pass rush.
New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman has made several additions to the team’s defense this offseason. On paper, that side of the ball has improved in several areas since the conclusion of 2019.
James Bradberry is better than any corner that was on the roster at the end of last season. Inside linebacker Blake Martinez, on the other hand, is an upgrade from Alec Ogletree.
Nonetheless, there’s still one major question mark regarding this group: Who will contribute to the overall pass rush?
Last season, the Giants ranked 22nd in the league with just 36 sacks. Markus Golden, who led the team with 10 sacks, is now a free agent. Gettleman did sign a pass rusher in Kyler Fackrell, who spent his first four seasons in Green Bay. He’s coming off a season where he racked up just one sack though. In 2018, he notched a career-high 10.5.
The reason for Fackrell’s drop-off in production was due to the Packers acquiring Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith, who combined for 25.5 sacks.
Fackrell is confident in receiving more playing time in New York though. He’ll reunite with defensive coordinator Patrick Graham, who was the Packers linebackers coach in 2018. Therefore, there’s a chance he could return to the production level he experienced during that season.
Even if Fackrell can step up in 2020, he’s still the only current Giant who’s ever achieved double-digit sacks. Not to mention, he’s only done it once.
Kyler Fackrell reunites with DC Patrick Graham and brings versatility with him
— New York Giants (@Giants) April 2, 2020
In the 95-year history of the Giants, they’ve always been at their best when employing multiple elite pass rushers.
In the mid-1980s to early 1990s, New York fielded the likes of Lawrence Taylor and Leonard Marshall. The 2007 Giants team that defeated the 18-0 Patriots in Super Bowl 42 possessed Michael Strahan, Osi Umenyiora, and Justin Tuck. Then, the 2011 squad that ousted the Patriots again in Super Bowl 46 had Tuck, Umenyiora, and Jason Pierre-Paul.
In addition to having to face both Carson Wentz and Dak Prescott twice every year, the Giants will go up against other top quarterbacks in 2020. This includes Russell Wilson, Tom Brady, and league MVP Lamar Jackson. Thus, it’s imperative that the pass rush improves from a season ago.
Big Blue will rely heavily on third-year linebacker Lorenzo Carter and second-year linebacker Oshane Ximines. But while both of them have shown promise, they’ve yet to establish any sort of consistency. Each recorded just 4.5 sacks last year.
Gettleman acquiring at least one more pass rusher is a must. The best in this year’s draft class, Chase Young, will likely head to Washington at No. 2 overall. But Gettleman can still go the free agency route to help bolster this group.
Golden is still available, and considering we’re several weeks into free agency, he might be willing to sign an offer for less than $10 million annually. Jadeveon Clowney is also without a home, but his asking price and injury history is a concern. Simply speaking, the former No. 1 overall pick may not be a risk worth taking.
Gettleman knows there’s still work to be done to help revamp a side of the ball that ranked 25th in total defense last year. The best way to do that is to find another pass rusher who can consistently bring down the quarterback.