Falcons a Good Fit for Giants’ 3rd-Round Pick Expected to be Cut

Oshane Ximines

Getty Another former 3rd-rd pick of the Giants, who's likely to be cut, is a good fit for the Falcons.

Quality edge-rushers are something the Atlanta Falcons can’t have too many of entering the 2022 NFL season. Last year’s defense propped up the league standings with a measly 18 sacks, and general manager Terry Fontenot’s efforts to improve the pass rush have been considerable.

Fontenot used second- and third-round picks on edge-rushers in this years’ draft. He also added a former third-rounder of the New York Giants in free agency.

The Giants could again provide the Falcons with another reclamation project on the edge. A third-round choice in 2019 able to play both defensive end and outside linebacker, but a player who is predicted to miss out on a spot on the Giants’ final 53-man roster.

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Underperforming Edge Could Reunite with Giants Teammate

Oshane Ximines is likely to be the odd man out after the Giants revamped their outside linebacker depth chart, according to ESPN’s Jordan Raanan. His reasoning is based upon Big Blue drafting Kayvon Thibodeaux fifth overall and adding Jihad Ward in free agency: “It’s a much more talented group than in years past, and it finally drops Oshane Ximines out of the mix. The 2019 third-round pick hasn’t worked out.”

The Falcons have already benefited from the Giants changing things at the edges of their defense. A new staff in New York, including former Baltimore Ravens’ defensive coordinator Don ‘Wink’ Martindale, means a different system, and the change left Lorenzo Carter unprotected on the veteran market.

Carter signed a one-year deal with the Falcons, who will hope his hot streak at the end of last season is just the start of more consistent production. The 26-year-old logged five sacks in his final four games, including this strip-sack of Jalen Hurts against the Philadelphia Eagles:

There’s no denying Carter’s core skills, but one purple patch aside, he recorded just 14.5 sacks in four seasons after being drafted in the third round back in 2018. Yet, he was still more productive than Ximines.

The latter joined the Giants as the 95th player taken three years ago. His rookie campaign yielded decent returns, 4.5 sacks and one pass breakup.

Unfortunately, that was as good as it got for Ximines with the Giants. Season-ending shoulder surgery wrecked his second year, while the former Old Dominion star appeared in only 10 games in 2021, failing to get to a quarterback, but still breaking up three passes.

Ximines is raw, but he’s also versatile and physical enough to make plays, either from a standup position or with his hand down as a traditional defensive end:

Signing another Giants draft bust would hardly set pulses racing in Atlanta, but 25-year-old Ximines is the kind of young player with something to prove the Falcons have targeted this offseason. Carter fits that same profile, as do wide receiver Auden Tate and inside linebacker Rashaan Evans.

Handing a short-term, prove-it deal to Ximines would continue this trend. It would also add another body to a position that’s crucial in coordinator Dean Pees’ defense.

Falcons Have Room for More Talent on the Edges

Raanan’s ESPN colleague Michael Rothstein put together his own predictions for the Falcons’ final 53-man roster. He listed four players at outside linebacker, including Carter and rookies Arnold Ebiketie and DeAngelo Malone, but Rothstein also indicated there’s room for one more: “This feels pretty set and is likely the rotation order to start the season too. If Quinton Bell or Jordan Brailford shines in camp, the Falcons could go five deep here.”

While it’s possible Quinton Bell or Jordan Brailford do enough to stick this offseason, Ximines has a better pro pedigree than two players who’ve played in just five games each the last two years.

Similarly, the Falcons are expecting big returns from second-round pick Ebiketie and third-rounder Malone, but they’re yet to play a snap in the NFL. It means there are still an unhealthy amount of question marks about the position group most responsible for creating pressure in the multiple 3-4 defense Pees calls.

The Falcons would be smart to sign at least one more outside linebacker who can generate heat on the outside.

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