2018 is long gone. The first snap of 2019 is rapidly approaching. For the rebuild to work the 2019 Giants Defense needs to dominate.
At the end of the 2018 season, the New York Giants offense was firing on all cylinders but their defense was a liability. While the offense averaged 26.4 points per game over there last 5 games of the 2018 NFL season Big Blues record was 2-3 over that five-game stretch. For the G-Men to not have a repeat of that scenario the 2019 Giants Defense HAS to dominate.
Of those two losses, they followed a painful script that repeated itself. Against both the Colts in week 16 and Cowboys in week 17 the G-Men were one defensive stop away from a win but were unable to make the play that would ensure victory for the Giants. Instead, the opposition celebrated a great win and the Giants felt the agony of a somewhat familiar defeat.
While addressing the quarterback question and fixing the offensive line was the focal point of media scrutiny the defense needed to be upgraded. Even though the defense was in question there were some young players that could develop into key contributors. On the defensive line Dalvin Tomlinson and B.J. Hill can anchor the defensive line for years to come. Linebacker Lorenzo Carter also has game-breaking speed that could show up more in 2019.
During free agency, the New York Giants did not spend a lot of money on acquiring defensive players. If anything Big Blue lost talent on defense with the trade of talented but often injured Olivier Vernon.With the close of free agency and draft approaching it made it clear that the Giants would need to address their defensive needs in the draft.
The first defensive draft pick by the New York Giants was defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence. While Lawrence is more of a run stopper than pass rusher David Gettleman could have solidified the defensive line for years to come. With the addition of Lawrence to Hill and Tomlinson Big Blue to be set up to neutralize the likes of Ezekiel Elliott in the upcoming season.
Cornerback was another position that was addressed repeatedly in the draft by the New York Giants. Trading for their 3rd 1st round pick the New York Giants selected cornerback Deandre Baker. While it looked like Baker could be the last cornerback selected for Big Blue they added cornerback Julian Love in the 3rd round and also cornerback Corey Ballentine.
The race for cornerback will be interesting with Big Blue because the Giants still have former pro-bowler Janoris Jenkins on the roster along with supplemental draft pick Sam Beal who did not play in 2018 due to a shoulder injury. It appears that Jenkins time with the Giants could be coming to an end due to the youth movement occurring in the secondary.
The Giants did add safety Jabril Peppers who will fill the void left when Landon Collins signed with the Washington Redskins. Big Blue could then switch Love to strong safety which would mean the G-Men could have three starters in the secondary under the age of 25 on rookie deals.
Even though the defensive line and secondary were addressed Gettleman did make moves to find a pass rusher in the 2019 draft. Oshane Ximines was the lone pass rusher selected in the 3rd round from Old Dominion. While Old Dominion is not a football factory Osi Umenyiora did not come from a football powerhouse and Osi left a defiant impact on the defensive side of the ball during his tenure with the Giants.
While the plan has been put in place the Giants defense needs to improve in 2019. What the Giants lack in proven commodities on defense they make up for in youth and cap flexibility. If Gettleman just has some solid contributors on defense in 2019 with the upcoming cap room in 2020 the GM could finish assembling his defense in 2020 free agency that makes the Giants perennial playoff contenders.