New York Giants: Kerry Wynn could prove essential depth option

(Photo by Rich Barnes/Getty Images)
(Photo by Rich Barnes/Getty Images) /

The New York Giants may once again be inclined to turn to Kerry Wynn as a source of valuable defensive depth.

A recent injury scare for edge rusher Olivier Vernon served as the latest warning of the growing need for viable contributors pressing for opportunities from the bench for the New York Giants. Super Bowl success for the Philadelphia Eagles last season was heavily fuelled by a widely-envied luxury of regular defensive rotation, particularly within their front seven. Veteran defensive lineman Kerry Wynn stands ready to fill that role.

Unable to boast a similar array of key contributors in-waiting, Big Blue headed into the offseason demanding a fierce competition for places. The introduction of James Bettcher’s 3-4 defensive setup and the adjustment it required has naturally aided this with an expanded playing field on which emerging options have been able to market themselves.

Wynn has been one to exploit new ventures in East Rutherford by mounting a familiar blitz for a place on the New York Giants 53-man roster. Amid the team’s effort to construct a deep defensive line class, Wynn has continued his trend with another unignorable impression throughout practice and training camp.

New York Giants
New York Giants /

New York Giants

Glowing impressions every summer since his arrival in 2014 have evidently made it impossible for the Giants to walk away from his services, and it seems unlikely that will change this year. In 49 career games, Wynn has accumulated 101 tackles, three sacks and one interception. Because of his limited presence, he often supplies mere glimpses of his value more than a sustained presence.

The 2018 NFL campaign may finally be the one in which he evolves from fresh legs in reserve into a prominent first-tier defender.

Preseason impressions

Wynn didn’t hesitate in displaying his flexibility heading into the new season, as he forced a fumble whilst on special teams duty in the opening 20-10 defeat to the Cleveland Browns.

The 27-year-old flew downfield as the first to confront punt returner C.J. Board, stripping him of the ball and allowing veteran long snapper Zak DeOssie to recover. The resulting drive finished with the Giants’ only touchdown of the game when running back Jalen Simmons strode into the end-zone on third and inches.

He followed this up in the 30-17 win over the Detroit Lions by registering five tackles and collapsing the pocket to register a third-down sack on quarterback Matthew Stafford. This proved another insight into his versatility as he defied his slighter frame on the inside to draw on his power rush rather than the speed that had been tipped to seen him line up primarily as an outside linebacker this season.

(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) /

Wynn showcased his mobility on the interior again in the win over the New York Jets a week later, breaking through to haul down Teddy Bridgewater. His absence in Thursday’s preseason finale against the New England Patriots was somewhat telling in regards to the security of his roster spot.

For Wynn, it’s all about being adaptable to whatever role New York Giants defensive coordinator James Bettcher puts him in. Per NJ Advance Media:

"“I played inside every now and then on passing downs, so it wasn’t too big of an adjustment for me to have to go inside this year. It’s a lot of head-up on the tackle, whereas in the past it was more head-up on the tight end.”"

The fluidity of Bettcher’s system may also see Wynn deployed off the edge as a means of exploring his athleticism from a standing start. Besides giving him the freedom to raid the opposition backfield on the outside, the aggression to Bettcher’s approach may also see him mop up the excess of Damon Harrison’s elite run defense.

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An expectation in New York of a vastly-improved year on offense is coincided by a potential consequence of greater rest-bite on the other side of the ball. A miserable 2017 for quarterback Eli Manning, his chaotic offensive line and depleted receiving corps equated to exhausting periods on the field for Steve Spagnuolo’s injury-stricken defensive unit.

With healthy weapons and running back Saquon Barkley set to be let loose, Wynn and the rest of the New York Giants strengthened defensive line could offer depth with the added bonus of time to recharge on the sidelines.