The New York Giants have plenty of promising youngsters on their current roster. Saquon Barkley is obviously the first name that jumps to mind. At just 23-years of age, the former 2nd-overall pick has quickly cemented himself as one of, if not the very best football player in the NFL.
Wide receiver Darius Slayton tied for the league lead in touchdown receptions by a rookie a season ago, and is expected to take a massive step forward in year two of catching passes from quarterback Daniel Jones. Speaking of Jones, the ex-Duke Blue Devil exceeded expectations in his inaugural NFL season and has former NFL signal-callers glowing about his potential.
However, according to NFL Network’s Marc Sessler, it’s not Slayton, nor Jones who gets the nod next to Barkley as the team’s best young talent. Instead, that honor goes to Jones’ fellow 2019 1st-rounder, Dexter Lawrence.
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Dexter Lawrence Dominated as a Rookie
On paper, Lawrence, a former defensive tackle from Clemson, would appear to be the least sexy 1st-round pick amongst a Giants 2019 draft haul that included the likes of potential franchise QB Daniel Jones and cornerback DeAndre Baker. However, Sexy Dexy isn’t your typical defensive tackle, as noted by Sessler, who recently named Lawrence to his All-Under-25 Team.
With Vita Vea just past the 25 mark, Lawrence gets the nod over Jeffery Simmons, Taven Bryan and Da’Shawn Hand. The first-rounder was a raging headache against the run in Year 1 and brought a ray of hope to an otherwise-lost-at-sea Giants defense. It appears 340-pound behemoths still have a place in today’s NFL.
The No. 17 pick in the 2019 NFL Draft started all 16 games for the G-Men a season ago, finishing with 38 tackles, 2.5 sacks, three TFL, nine QB hits and one forced fumble. His performance earned him a Pro Football Focus grade of 76.1, the highest mark handed out to any rookie defensive tackle on the year. His four games with a PFF overall grade of 80.0+ was also more than all but one player from the entire draft class, regardless of position.
Time will tell if Lawrence can sustain and potentially build off of his stellar rookie campaign. However, as of now, it appears the Giants have struck gold with the second of their three 1st-round picks from a season ago. Especially when you take into consideration that Lawrence was the fourth defensive tackle to come off the board, following the likes of Quinnen Williams, Ed Oliver and former Clemson teammate Christian Wilkins, all of which graded-out lower than Lawrence in 2019.
Barkley Receives a Tip of the Hat
Saquon Barkley saw a decent-sized dip in production across the board in what was an injury-plagued sophomore season for the Giants star player. Yet, his talent is undeniable, a reason why he joined Lawrence as the only two Giants players to make the cut on Sessler’s list.
A reminder to agitated Twitter types that Ezekiel Elliott, Alvin Kamara and Dalvin Cook all turn 25 this summer. Besides, Barkley has a case against anyone as a dual-threat, clad-in-blue freak whom enemies targeted from the minute he hit the field for the wanting Giants. To a lesser degree than McCaffrey, Barkley roams as a towering danger in the passing game with a juicy 143/1,159/6 line over two seasons. Coming off an injury-shaded sophomore effort, Barkley should shine for years to come as an electric, slippery wonder in New York’s backfield.