As the days inch closer to the “May 5 tender” deadline placed on free-agent Markus Golden, it’s becoming more and more likely that the Giants‘ leading sack artist from 2019 will indeed return to New York.
Still, while there are a plethora of question marks around Big Blue’s current slew of pass-rushers, the fact that they dangled Golden out there for other team’s taking should speak volumes as to how they feel about their in-house talent.
Oshane Ximines Ready to Headline Big Blue’s Pass-Rush?
No current Giants edge defender presents more upside and promise than second-year defender Oshane Ximines. The former Old Dominion standout has garnered rave reviews this offseason, with some even portraying him as the Next King of New York.
NFL.com’s Adam Rank is simply the latest to join the party, noting that the team’s willingness to steer clear of pass-rush help this offseason points to the confidence they have in Ximines.
The Giants are going to need to improve defensively (they ranked 30th in points allowed last season) and it’s going to be incumbent on them to get to the quarterback more, as they ranked 22nd in sacks,” writes Rank. “The Giants could have been super frisky in the draft and picked Isaiah Simmons fourth overall, which would have been my choice. (I know he’s not an edge rusher but he did have eight sacks for Clemson last season.) Or they could have paid big money for an edge rusher in free agency.
That leads me to believe the Giants saw enough from Ximines last season to trust him as one of their top pass rushers. Ximines posted 4.5 sacks despite playing less than half the defensive snaps as a rookie. He’s poised to make a huge jump in Year 2.
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Ximines Primed For Massive Increase in Snaps, Production
While Ximines may have not garnered nationwide attention during his rookie campaign, Giants fans know just how promising of talent the pass-rusher is.
With 4.5 sacks, Ximines tied for 2nd on the team in sacks, this despite the fact that he started all of just two games. His sack production was also good enough to rank him 8th amongst all 1st-year defenders. He also finished the year with the 6th-best pass-rush grade amongst all rookie edge-defenders, per Pro Football Focus, that includes outranking two first-round picks.
Even with signs pointing towards a Golden return in 2020, chances are Ximines will see a drastic uptick in playing time this season. While he will have to battle the likes of 3rd-year man Lorenzo Carter as well as free-agent addition Kyler Fackrell for snaps, you’d be hard-pressed to keep a player with Ximines’ upside on the bench for long.
If Ximines can continue to be his highly-efficient self with additional playing time moving forward, the G-Men may very well have themselves a double-digit sack artist on their hands.
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