EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY - SEPTEMBER 29: Dalvin Tomlinson #94 and B.J. Hill #95 of the New York Giants celebrate after they sacked Dwayne Haskins Jr. #7 of the Washington Redskins at MetLife Stadium on September 29, 2019 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

New York Giants fourth-year defensive lineman Dalvin Tomlinson is locked in on having the best season of his career.

Jason Leach

Life in the NFL moves fast. One minute you’re a rookie and then in a flash, you’re a veteran. This is the scenario for New York Giants defensive lineman Dalvin Tomlinson.

Tomlinson is one of the few remaining players from the Jerry Reese era, as Reese selected Tomlinson with the 55th overall pick in the 2017 draft out of the University of Alabama. Despite just being 26 years old and entering his fourth season, Tomlinson is the longest-tenured defensive player on the roster.

In his three seasons with Big Blue, he has recorded 158 tackles with 81 of them being solo tackles, has 4.5 sacks, and a forced fumble. Those are solid numbers for an interior defensive lineman.

Perhaps the most impressive stat on Tomlinson is that he hasn’t missed a game in his career. While the Giants have gone 12-36 in that span, that is no fault of Tomlinson as he’s one of the most underrated defensive linemen in the league.

At 6-foot-3 and 318 pounds, he has the agility and speed that you wouldn’t expect from a man his size. While fellow defensive linemen Dexter Lawrence and Leonard Williams may have grabbed most of the headlines last season on that unit, Tomlinson led all linemen and set a career-high with 3.5 sacks.

Now he’s locked in on having the best season of his career.

This will be the most unique season in the NFL as all teams take the necessary safety protocols to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, and to create a safe working environment.

As we all know, teams haven’t had an offseason workout program, and they have yet to practice in pads due to the pandemic. On Thursday, Tomlinson was asked how he and the rest of the linemen can prepare for a season, without the benefit of an offseason workout program.

“We’ve been thinking about it with everything going on, but it’s something that you must mentally prepare for as well as try to as much as possible physically prepare for the practices for when we do get to practice with the pads on.”

In addition to not being able to practice, the pandemic has made several players across the league to opt-out of the 2020 season. The Giants have had three players opt-out in left tackle Nate Solder, receiver Da’Mari Scott, and cornerback Sam Beal.

Everyone respects and understands players opting out under these circumstances. Tomlinson was asked if he ever thought about opting out and what his reaction was to other players across the league opting out.

“I can’t react to them because I’ve been so locked into the playbook. I just have been trying to get the plays down with training camp going on and meetings. I’ve just been so locked in here just trying to improve and help everyone else improve. I really haven’t thought too much about opting out because I just want to be with my teammates.”

Tomlinson is entering the final year of his rookie contract, and the Giants will be forced to make a tough decision on whether to keep him or Leonard Williams. Financially, it seems almost impossible to keep both.

We don’t know what’s in store for Tomlinson beyond the 2020 season, but his attitude and work ethic embodies what head coach Joe Judge is looking for as he tries to build a winning culture.

Tomlinson is well respected by his teammates and opponents and is one of the favorites to be named a team captain. It’s clear that despite these difficulties times, Tomlinson has put the work in physical and mentally to have his best season, and to help turn the Giants franchise around.

Jason's first love was football while growing up in northern New Jersey. For the past three years, he has covered the New York Giants, as well as several boxing events along the East Coast.