It’s been quite some time since the New York Giants voted a defensive lineman as their team captain, seven years to be exact. Two-time Super Bowl champion and beloved Giants great, Justin Tuck, was the last player to receive that honor way back in 2013.
Yet, that all changed on Wednesday when the team announced Dalvin Tomlinson as one of Big Blue’s six captains for the 2020 NFL season, voted on by the players.
“It’s an honor to be a captain,” Tomlinson told reporters. “To have my peers and everybody vote me in to be a captain is a great honor, I guess you can say, because just to see all the other captains in the past are just great players. I always try to lead by example. I feel like I can’t be a captain if I don’t go out there and give it my all each and every day. That’s one of the biggest things that I feel like every captain has to do.”
One of the League’s Most-Underrated
While Leonard Williams is by far the most recognizable Giants defensive lineman, thanks in large part to his draft position, bank statement and curly locks flowing out the backside of his helmet, it’s Tomlinson who may simply be the best.
A second-round pick out of Alabama in 2017, the two-time National Champion has gone on to start all 48 games with the G-Men over his first three seasons. Three seasons that have been quite impressive, to say the least.
According to Pro Football Focus, since entering the league Tomlinson has graded as a top-20 run-defender each season among qualifying defensive lineman.
Furthermore, only two defensive tackles since 2006 earned a higher grade than Tomlinson’s 81.0 mark from his rookie campaign. Those two players? Da’Shawn Hand (85.9) and, you guessed it, Aaron Donald (90.2).
Tomlinson graded out as New York’s highest-rated defender this past season, earning a Pro Football Focus grade of 78.2 overall, accumulating 49 tackle and 3.5 sacks along the way. Tomlinson’s high marks were good enough for the 11th-best grade amongst all interior defensive linemen with at least 500 snaps. Tomlinson has yet to post a PFF overall grade below 76.1 since entering the league.
It’s numbers like those that led to NFL Network’s analytics expert Cynthia Frelund pegging Tomlinson as the most underappreciated player on the Giants roster earlier this summer:
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).
Follow the Heavy on Giants Facebook page for all the latest stories, rumors and viral content!
Other Giants Captains
The other five captains come far less as a shock. Quarterback Daniel Jones earned his first of what will likely be many selections. Jones’ nod comes on the heels of Eli Manning holding the honor for the last 13 years.
2020 will mark the second consecutive season Barkley has earned captain status. He’s the only running back in franchise history to be elected captain since the team began selecting season-long captains in 2007, per Giants.com.
Joining Tomlinson on the defensive side is safety Jabrill Peppers and linebacker Blake Martinez, the latter of which is expected to quarterback the team’s defense in his first season in East Rutherford.
Rounding out the selections is special teams ace Nate Ebner. A three-time Super Bowl Champion and eight-year NFL veteran, Ebner is entering year nine of playing under head coach Joe Judge, who was his specials teams coordinator in New England.
– For More Giants Content Follow @VinnySomma on Twitter.
- Giants Give Away 1st-Rounder’s Number, Nearing Release: Report
- Giants Have Puzzling Explanation for Release of Ex-1st-Rounder