1. Lorenzo Carter Impresses
When the NY Giants selected Lorenzo Carter in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft out of the University of Georgia, many draft experts believed that the GMEN may have found themselves someone who could be developed into an excellent pass-rushing linebacker.
The 6’5″ and 250-pound Carter played in 15 games as a rookie, starting two. Despite limited action, he would record 43 total tackles, four sacks, and 10 quarterback hits, leading many to believe he was primed for a major step forward in his sophomore campaign.
Despite playing in 15 games last season, where he started 12 of those contests, his numbers were only marginally better than his rookie season. He would finish 2019 with 45 total tackles, four and a half sacks, and 13 quarterback hits. This left people wondering if perhaps we had seen the best that Carter had to offer and perhaps a marginal rotational linebacker was his peak.
While there were no preseason games for fans to watch this year, reports out of NY Giants’ practices and scrimmages were that Lorenzo Carter looked like a completely different player, who appeared unstoppable.
Starting at outside linebacker against the Steelers, Carter did not disappoint He played like a man possessed all evening and was seemingly in on every play. He would finish the evening with the third-highest amount of total tackles on the Giants with seven and would chip in a quarterback hit.
While those numbers may not jump off the page, those who watched the game saw Lorenzo playing with great intensity and identified a player who was extremely disruptive. The pressure that Carter was able to bring regularly, seemed to open things up for the defensive linemen of the Giants like Leonard Williams and Dexter Lawrence, who both recorded a sack on the evening and combined for three quarterback hits.
Carter and Markus Golden looked impressive from the outside linebacker positions as a tandem. The two were regularly getting into the Steelers backfield providing constant pressure to Pittsburgh quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger.
Because Carter and Golden were so impressive, starting linebacker Oshane Ximines and free-agent signing Kyler Fackrell, who recorded 10.5 sacks two years ago with the Packers, did not see many defensive snaps. If Carter, Golden, and the talented defensive line of the Giants, can continue to get pressure on the quarterback as they did against the Steelers, the defense should be vastly improved over last season.
Lorenzo Carter may end up being the determining factor in that equation.