While the NY Giants' defense struggled at times last season, their interior defensive line was considered one of the best in the league. Big Blue nose tackle Dexter Lawrence and fellow lineman Leonard Williams were absolutely electric and played crucial roles in leading NY to success in Year 1 under head coach Brian Daboll.
Last season, Lawrence led the defensive line starting all 16 games for the Giants. He collected 7.5 sacks, 35 solo tackles, three passes defended, and two forced fumbles, earning Second-Team All-Pro honors and his first Pro Bowl selection. The 25-year-old star was voted the 28th-best player on the 2023 NFL Top 100.
While Williams dealt with injuries last season and only made 12 appearances last season, he stood out with 2.5 sacks, 26 solo tackles, and one forced fumble. The former Pro Bowler has been a member of the New York Giants since 2019 and enters his 10th NFL season this year.
It appears their performance last season did not go unnoticed, as the Giants received the recognition they deserved on the national scale. ESPN's Mike Clay recently ranked the G-Men as the No. 1 interior defensive line among all 32 teams heading into the 2023 season.
Will the interior defensive line's success carry into this season?
The expectations are high for the New York Giants' defensive line to continue its success from last season. Big Blue general manager Joe Schoen was active this offseason and prioritized adding depth to that area of the roster.
The G-Men signed Lawrence to a four-year, $90 million contract extension following his true breakout season and added veteran linemen A'Shawn Robinson and Rakeem Nunez-Roches in free agency.
Robinson enters his eighth professional season after spending time with the Detroit Lions and Los Angeles Rams. In 93 career games, he has totaled 181 solo tackles, seven sacks, and five forced fumbles. Robinson was a Super Bowl champion with the Rams in 2022.
Nunez-Roches enters his ninth NFL season after playing with the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He has totaled 69 solo tackles, 3.5 sacks, and 1.5 forced fumbles in 102 career games. The 30-year-old DT is also a Super Bowl champion, as he helped the Buccaneers defeat his former team in 2020.
We can expect the New York Giants' interior defensive line to be one of many bright spots in 2023 if Lawrence and Williams stay healthy. The G-Men will look to build off their dominant performances last season, but regardless, Big Blue fans can be excited about the improvements made this offseason.