The question of who is the New York Giants‘ best player is quite the obvious answer. Saquon Barkley is not only the best player on Big Blue’s roster, but a case could also be made for him being the most talented player in all of football.
So NJ Advance Media’s Matt Lombardo decided to ask the next best question, who’s New York’s second-best player? As we previously reported, quarterback Daniel Jones received numerous votes from NFL personnel, including a current NFL coach who even went as far as to peg Jones as a franchise quarterback, despite just 12-NFL starts under his belt.
However, he was far from the only Giants player to receive consideration. Free-agent additions James Bradberry and Blake Martinez each received a nod. Three of New York’s four top pass-catchers, Evan Engram, Golden Tate and Sterling Shepard also heard their names mentioned. As were the team’s two starting offensive guards, Kevin Zeitler and Will Hernandez.
Yet, the two most prominent selections aside from Jones were clearly 2019 1st-round pick Dexter Lawrence and 2020 1st-round pick Andrew Thomas, both of whom have found themselves quite the fanbase despite their limited time in the league.
Dexter Lawrence on the Fast Track to NFL Stardom
A current NFL GM noted that “Lawrence is a legitimate run-stuffer up the middle.” While a former NFL scout pegged Dexter Lawrence as “that guy,” adding “he’s an extremely talented three-down player. He’s hard to move on run-downs and can affect the pocket in sub defense. That they were able to get him at No. 17 looks like an absolute steal.”
A former AFC Scouting director claimed that he believes when it’s all said and done, Andrew Thomas will earn the title of New York’s second-best player. However, for now, he’s sticking with Lawrence. “He’s just such a factor in the running game and now has been showing emerging pass-rush ability.”
The scouting director wasn’t lying. Lawrence started all 16 games as a rookie for the Giants in 2019 and showed legitimate promise of becoming an elite defender moving forward.
Lawrence finished his inaugural NFL season with 38 tackles, 2.5 sacks, three TFL, nine QB hits and one forced fumble. His play helped him earn him a highly-impressive Pro Football Focus grade of 76.1, the highest mark handed out to any rookie defensive tackle on the year. That includes four games with a PFF overall grade of 80.0+ which happened to be more than all but one player from his entire draft class, regardless of position.
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Andrew Thomas is Just What the Giants Needed
Not everyone was so hesitant to hand over the crown to Thomas. One current AFC scout cast his vote for the former Georgia standout, mainly due to the massive hole that he fills along the Giants’ offensive line.
“They desperately needed to get better at offensive tackle this offseason, and they did that with the best prospect at the position in the draft.”
No matter who you perceive as the runner-up to Barkley for the honor of being New York’s best player, one thing is for certain, the Giants roster is loaded with young, promising talent. Now, after three consecutive losing seasons, it’s time for that talent to show up on the playing field.
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