It’s not every day a former 2nd-round draft pick out of Nick Saban’s pro factory in Alabam, comes to the NFL and dominates his competition, all while playing in the biggest market in the world, only to be unknown by the masses.
However, that’s exactly the case for New York Giants defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson. Unfortunately, for the 4x-SEC Champion, Tomlinson finds himself readily overshadowed in a Giants defensive line that is arguably the most talented and deep unit on the team.
Names such as “franchise player” Leonard Williams and last season’s 1st-round pick Dexter Lawrence receive most of the notoriety. Yet, it’s Tomlinson who proves time and time again to be Big Blue’s most efficient force along their front-four. NFL Network analytics expert Cynthia Frelund believes it’s finally time people start to take notice.
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Don’t Sleep on Dalvin Tomlinson
Cynthia recently listed the single-most underappreciated player for every NFC team, using “context-based models to identify” said player. While fellow d-lineman BJ Hill and defensive back Julian Love could have certainly garnered attention as possible selections for New York, it was Tomlinson who ultimately received the nod for Big Blue.
Here’s Cynthia explanation as to why:
NGS shows that Tomlinson earned 19 run stuffs — those are plays when a defender tackles an opposing rusher for a gain of zero or negative yards — in 2019, tied for third in the NFL. This helped the Giants’ defense allow the fourth-lowest rushing average (3.86 yards per attempt) despite allowing the eighth-most yards per game (377.3).
New York’s Best-Kept Secret
Tomlinson’s dominant ways go well beyond just his run-stuffing abilities. He may not be Aaron Donald in terms of getting after the passer, but then again, who is? Instead, the former Crimson Tide standout is as solid and well-rounded a talent as there is from the defensive tackle position in today’s NFL.
Tomlinson graded out as New York’s highest-rated player on defense for 2019, receiving a Pro Football Focus grade of 78.1 overall following a 49 tackle, 3.5 sack campaign. The grade was good enough to rank him as the 11th-best interior defensive lineman on the season amongst players with at least 500 snaps. It also marks the third consecutive season that Tomlinson has finished with a grade above 78 overall.
Tomlinson’s lack of flair and sack numbers may limit his worldwide appeal, but New York fans know just how crucial the d-lineman is to Big Blue’s overall defensive success.
With that said, Big Blue fandom is likely just fine with the rest of the league continuing to sleep on one of the best-kept secrets in all of football.
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