NY Giants: Top 5 breakout candidates for the 2020 season

NY Giants(Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)
NY Giants(Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images) /
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NY Giants
3. Leonard Williams of the NY Giants(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

3. DL Leonard Williams

It seems as though punching bags are more abundant on the NY Giants roster than at an Everlast warehouse these days. Keeping with the theme, the next player that could have a breakout season for the GMEN is a name who has become almost a four-letter word for some Giants fans, Leonard Williams.

The issue that the majority of NY Giants fans have with Williams isn’t regarding the talent that he brings to the roster, but rather the circumstances in which he was acquired and the financial resources and draft capital that were required to land him.

While the trade factors aren’t the fault of Williams, the fact that general manager Dave Gettleman gave up a third-round and fifth-round pick and then had to use a $16 million franchise tag to keep him on the roster has unfairly caused many fans to direct their anger towards the former first-round pick of the Jets.

It is easy to site the lack of sack production as a reason to not give up draft capital and an enormous amount of cap space for Leonard to be a member of what many people thought was an already talented young defensive line with Dexter Lawrence, Dalvin Tomlinson, and B.J. Hill.

However, the real issue with bringing in Williams was the 2-6 record of the Giants at the time. There is no doubt that he made the defense better and was a solid addition, it is simply a tough pill to swallow given what Gettleman sacrificed.

Regardless, love it or hate it Williams will be a member of the 2020 NY Giants. While he may not live up to the $16 million price tag that he is currently receiving due to being franchised, there remains an excellent chance that Williams has a breakout season this year.

Obviously, Leonard Williams will have the incentive of playing for a massive contract extension to motivate him during the upcoming season. He has already stated that he feels he should be paid among the elite defensive ends in the game, so the upcoming season is his chance to further that point.

Despite not putting up prolific sack totals that Giants fans had hoped for when he arrived in the trade with their cross-town rivals, Williams did provide a significant upgrade once he arrived and the defensive line was able to generate a lot more pressure on the quarterback. Additionally, the statistics of both Tomlinson and Lawrence improved once Williams was added.

This season, Williams should be able to get to the quarterback with greater frequency due to the vastly improved secondary and linebacker groups being able to provide better coverage.

A nominal improvement in coverage should allow Williams to convert a few of those quarterback pressures and hits from last year into the sacks that Giants fans have been clamoring for. If the coverage from the secondary is vastly improved, look out because Williams may be poised for a monster year.

In addition to the improved coverage skills of the linebacker and secondary groups of New York, Williams should also benefit from his defensive linemates taking a step forward this season. Dexter Lawrence should continue to improve upon his impressive rookie season, Dalvin Tomlinson like Williams is also in a contract year, and B.J. Hill will be motivated to make a name for himself in an effort to press for playing time that was lost when Williams arrived.

Due to all of these factors, it is easy to make the case that Williams is as poised as any NY Giants player on the defensive side of the ball to have a breakout season in 2020. If he is able to have a standout season, he will quickly make Big Blue fans forget that they were ever angry that Gettleman traded for him.