Elerson Smith, who was dubbed the “best day 3 pick” in last April’s NFL Draft and a “Jason Taylor clone” by Ourlads scout David Syvertsen is finally set for his NFL debut. The New York Giants officially activated the rookie pass rusher on Saturday, November 6th. Smith was originally placed on injured reserve in September due to a hamstring injury.
The team also elevated two players to their active roster, calling up linebacker Trent Harris and wide receiver/return specialist Pharoh Cooper from their practice squad.
This marks the second consecutive week Harris has been added to the gameday roster. In Week 8’s loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, the Miami (FL) product recorded one solo tackle on seven defensive snaps. As for Cooper, Sunday’s tilt against the Las Vegas Raiders will mark his first game action of the 2021 season. A former fourth-round pick of the Los Angeles Rams, Cooper was signed to the Giants’ practice squad on November 3rd. The former 2017 Pro Bowler and first-team All-Pro selection is expected to factor into the return game with both Dante Pettis and Jabrill Peppers residing on IR.
Giants Make ‘Surprise’ Call on Oshane Ximines
When the 6-foot-6-inch, 250-pound Smith takes the field vs. the 5-2 Raiders, it will mark his first game action (at any level) since 2019. The fourth-round pick out of Northern Iowa missed the entirety of his 2020 collegiate campaign when the Missouri Valley Conference canceled play due to the pandemic.
Smith will look to add some punch off the edge alongside the likes of Harris, Cam Brown and fellow rookies Azeez Ojulari and Quincy Roche. One player who won’t be joining Smith in Big Blue’s pass-rush rotation is former starter Oshane Ximines. In a surprising turn of events, the team has decided to make Ximines a healthy scratch for Week 9, via SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano. This, despite the fact that Lorenzo Carter remains sidelined with an ankle injury.
The decision to bench Ximines comes on the heels of the linebacker’s costly offsides penalty against the Chiefs that negated a Darnay Holmes interception late in the fourth quarter. Kansas City went on to capitalize on Ximines’ miscue, scoring a go-ahead field goal later on that drive.
“You just can’t have penalties like that. Point blank,” head coach Joe Judge stated after the game. “That comes down to how we execute on the field and make sure we coach it better so that doesn’t happen again. We have to do a better job all the way around.”
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Ximines’ Dwindling Production
It wasn’t long ago Ximines was gushing with upside. Despite starting just two games in his rookie season, the former Old Dominon star tied for the second-most sacks amongst Giants defenders with 4.5. The following season Ximines was thrust into the starting lineup, but had his 2020 season cut short after just four games due to a shoulder injury. Yet, even before his injury, the Queens native failed to produce up to his rookie standards.
Thus far in 2021, Ximines has taken a backseat to Carter and Ojulari — and apparently Smith. He’s logged just 33% of the team’s defensive snaps and hasn’t recorded a single sack over his last 14 games.