Well, look here, a place where the Giants are not in dire need of upgrading. No one is saying the big guys up-front on defense are the second coming of the Purple People Eaters or the Fearsome Foursome, but there is some talent on the roster and it is easy to envision this being a position where the Giants are not desperate to make any major additions.
The Giants have plenty invested in their defensive front. Dalvin Tomlinson was a second-round pick in 2017. Dexter Lawrence was the 17th overall pick in last year’s draft. The Giants placed the franchise tag on Leonard Williams, meaning if/when he signs it, he is assured of $16.1 million, unless the two sides can come together on a long-term extension, which is preferable to both sides. Williams was the No. 6-overall pick by the Jets in 2015. He has not come close to living up to that status, but it does show the pedigree of a player many considered to be the best prospect in the draft five years ago.
Trading for Williams, giving up a third-round pick in 2020 and a fifth-round pick in 2021, is the most head-scratching move by general manager Dave Gettleman in his two years at the helm. Williams is not close to the pass-rush threat he was once envisioned to be but is an excellent run-stopper. The Giants believe he can push the pocket and apply pressure along the interior of the line as long as he is not expected to be the leading sack artist on the team. The good news is this is a young trio, with Tomlinson, 26, Williams, 25, and Lawrence, 22, all in or entering their primes.
In free agency, the Giants added Austin Johnson, a run-stopper who had a hard time cracking the starting lineup with the Titans the past four years. Johnson should be a steady reserve. There is hope R.J. McIntosh, a fifth-round pick in 2018, can develop into a rotational contributor.
Would it be a surprise if the Giants take a defensive lineman in the top half of the draft? Of course not, given Gettleman’s affinity for his “hog mollies’’ up front. There might even be some conversation at No. 4 about Auburn’s Derrick Brown, a 326-pound stud capable of having his way in the middle for a decade.