NY Giants depth chart rankings: Wide receiver or safety atop the list?
3) Defensive line
Starters: Leonard Williams, Danny Shelton, Dexter Lawrence
B.J. Hill, Austin Johnson, Niko Lalos
For the past several seasons, the NY Giants’ defensive line has been the backbone of the roster and one of the deepest positions.
This season, additions at two other critical areas — combined with the departure of Dalvin Tomlinson via free agency — push the defensive line down a rung or two, but it remains possibly among the stoutest in the NFL.
The pressure is on Williams to prove that his career-high 11.5 sacks weren’t a fluke in 2020 and that his massive contract is justified, but the former No. 6 overall pick had his most dominant season in his first playing under coordinator Patrick Graham and line coach Sean Spencer, which could be a harbinger of things to come.
Meanwhile, playing alongside space-eaters in Shelton and Lawrence should free Williams up from double-teams, with the latter a versatile interior pass-rusher in addition to being a dominant run-stuffer.
If the NY Giants’ defense makes strides this season, it will be because this group didn’t miss a beat and took a step up in 2021.