It was clear throughout the 2018 NFL season the defense of the N

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von panxing18 • Gas Geselle | 254 Beiträge

ew York Giants was a problem. It was a unit that ranked 26th in yards allowed per drive Kerry Wynn Color Rush Jersey , 27th in points allowed per drive, and 24th in defensive DVOA. Much of the focus on what the Giants need to upgrade this offseason has been on the defensive side of the ball and much of that focus has fallen on the pass rush.Almost all of that is due to the lack of sacks the defense created during the regular season. With just 30 total sacks, the Giants tied for 30th in the league. That’s obviously not great. But the team tied with the Giants all the way down there at the bottom of the league? That would be the New England Patriots, a team about to play in the Super Bowl.Overall, the pass rush units of the Giants and Patriots weren’t dissimilar. While the sacks weren’t there, both teams were able to get to the quarterback and either pressure or hit the passer. Per Sports Info Solutions, the Patriots ranked seventh in total pressures, while the Giants ranked 10th but since the Giants faced fewer pass attempts they had a slightly better pressure rate.Pass Rush, 2018TeamSacks (Rk)Pressures (Rk)Pressure Rate (Rk)TeamSacks (Rk)Pressures (Rk)Pressure Rate (Rk)data provided by Sports Info SolutionsWe know that simply putting opposing quarterbacks under pressure makes them worse, so then why were the Patriots able to finish the season ranked 14th in DVOA against the pass while the Giants were 26th with similar pressure rates? For that, we’ll have to back up a bit — literally — and take a look at secondaries that were and weren’t up for the task of taking advantage of the pressure in front of them.Neither defense was very good when pressure wasn’t created. New England allowed a 70 percent of passes to be completed, 7.74 yards per attempt, with an opposing touchdown rate of 5.4 percent and an interception rate of 2.9 percent. Meanwhile, without pressure, the Giants allowed a 71.8 percent completion rate, 7.82 yards per attempt, a 4.2 percent touchdown rate, and just a 1.6 percent interception rate.Once pressure was forced, the Patriots did a better job of holding up in coverage and making the offense worse. With pressure, the Patriots allowed 42.9 percent completions, 5.21 yards per attempt, a 3.5 percent touchdown rate, and a 3.0 percent interception rate.Patriots Pressure2018Comp %YPATD%INT%2018Comp %YPATD%INT%data provided by Sports Info SolutionsThe Giants cut down completions to 49.2 percent, allowed 6.96 yards per attempt, a 4.5 percent touchdown rate, and their interception rate shot up to 5.7 percent.Giants Pressure2018Comp %YPATD%INT%2018Comp %YPATD%INT%data provided by Sports Info SolutionsFor the Giants to not even allow a full yard difference under pressure and give up a higher touchdown rate, that’s not on the pass rush. That’s a coverage problem. It’s also not something that should be a surprise when assessing who the Giants had in the secondary. Janoris Jenkins finished 70th among 85 qualified cornerbacks in yards allowed per pass and success rate, per Football Outsiders. Eli Apple struggled before he was traded. That trade opened up bigger roles for B.W Webb and Grant Haley, who were more productive before their roles got expanded. Curtis Riley was a consistent liability in coverage as the single-high safety.New England, on the other hand, had arguably the league’s best corner in 2018 — Stephon Gilmore ranked second in yards allowed per pass and first in success rate. No. 2 corner Jason McCourty finished 21st in success rate, and even J.C. Jackson, an undrafted rookie, shined in a bigger role over the second half of the season. That was also with Devin McCourty taking the reps as the deep safety.All of this context matters, not just to figure out how the Patriots were more successful, but also in assessing which part of the Giants’ defense was truly the problem. Fingers have been pointed at the pass rush, but that unit largely did its job — or good enough of one that it could have been a useful part of a better overall defense. The secondary, though, was littered with problems. It also makes sense given the way the Giants tried to build the secondary last offseason — signing quantity over quality and hoping to find diamonds in the rough.Right now a popular offseason strategy suggested for the Giants is to release Olivier Vernon and take one of the top pass rushers with the sixth overall pick in the NFL Draft, which hints that could be a quick fix for a pass rush that needs to improve. The reality, though, is the pass rush is likely to improve on its own due to regression in sack rate. Defensive metrics are famously unstable from year-to-year, but pressure rate is more indicative of future sack rate than current sack rate is. If the Giants change nothing about the current pass rush, they’re still likely to see a significant boost in sacks for the 2019 season. That doesn’t mean the Giants should avoid upgrading the pass rush but adding another secondary piece to the rotation could have a bigger impact than trying to replace Vernon with another swing at a top tier pass rusher, whether that be through the draft or in free agency.A big investment in the pass rush also takes away from what could be invested in the secondary — a unit that is not going to be improved if left alone. For as good as Janoris Jenkins was during the 2016 season, it continues to look like that was the outlier performance from his career norm. B.W. Webb was only on a one-year deal and could be brought back, but he played better as the slot corner at the start of the season more than with the outside responsibilities he had during the Apple trade. Bringing him back, even to go back to the slot role also does little to upgrade the secondary, it just keeps it the same.Having a good pass rush is important and despite the sack totals Will Hernandez Color Rush Jersey , the Giants had one that was more than good enough to impact opposing offenses. The Patriots showed a path to play well with that type of production but the players backing it up have to be much better too. It’s an important lesson the Giants will need to evaluate when deciding what needs to be changed about the defensive personnel in 2019. Yesterday we wanted to highlight the SERVPRO First Responder Bowl between Boston College and Boise State. With prospects like Boise QB Brett Rypien and BC linemen Zach Allen (DE) and Chris Lindstrom (interior OL), it promised to be an interesting game from a New York Giants perspective. Unfortunately, the weather in Dallas Texas had other plans, and the game was cancelled due to severe storms in the area. But while we didn’t get any football (boo!), we did get this amusing tweet out of it. But now we have three new bowl games to talk about, and plenty of prospects to scout. Independence Bowl - Duke vs. Temple ESPN - 1:30 p.m. This game could be the one the Giants are watching most closely, due to Duke quarterback Daniel Jones. In the aftermath of Justin Herbert’s decision to return to Oregon, Jones is one of the quarterbacks in contention to be the first off the board. Of course, he has to make his own decision regarding the draft. He still has a year of eligibility left, and he could decide to return to school as well. Mark Schofield has written about Jones twice so far, first when assembling his early draft watch list back in October, and then again when looking at him as a potential Senior Bowl invitee earlier in December. From October:And from earlier in December: On the other side of the ball, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention a few names from the Temple Owls (or Dan, a Temple alum, will mercilessly quote stats at me until my eyes bleed).Defensive backs Delvon Randall (S) and Rock Ya-Sin (CB) are both worth watching, and could present solid values later in the draft. As well, defensive tackle Michael Dogbe is an undersized but athletic player who could emerge over the course of the draft process.Pinstripe Bowl - Miami vs. Wisconsin ESPN -5:15 p.m. This game is the highlight of the day for me. Not only are the Miami Hurricanes generally fun to watch (and have a number of interesting prospects), but as I have mentioned just about every time it comes up, the Wisconsin OL is always worth watching. And given the Giants’ persistent need along the offensive front, that is where we’re going to start. WisconsinCenter Tyler Biadasz is the top draft-eligible prospect on the line and figures to be one of the top offensive linemen in the draft (and a potential first round draft pick) should he declare for April’s draft. However, that is anything but a sure thing, because despite his 26 consecutive starts, he is only a red-shirt sophomore. That being said, Biadasz is likely the top interior OL in the draft, with good feet, impressive natural power, a downright nasty demenor, already solid technique, and experience in Wisconsin’s run-first pro-style offense. He is the kind of center who can be the rock in the middle of your offensive line and would look damn good between Will Hernandez and Jamon Brown.That brings us to right tackle David Edwards. Edwards is the better of Wisconsin’s offensive tackles, but he has only ever played right tackle, which could knock him down draft boards slightly. A former walk-on tight end, Edwards has all the size and power (at 6’7”, 320 pounds) necessary to play in a physical run-first offense while still having a TE’s movement skills. Like Biadasz, Edwards is a beast in the run game, but he still has to clean up his pass protection a bit, particularly on deeper dropbacks. However, he presents exceptional upside at a position of dire need for the Giants. Elsewhere on the line, it will also be worth paying attention to Michael Deiter, who has played all over the Wisconsin line over the years. He has a tackle’s frame and the feet to play on the edge, but he also has experience inside. Guard Beau Benzschawl is a prototypical “Wisconsin” guard — a big, powerful mauler who specializes in blowing open holes in the run game. He has some issues with balance and lower-body tightness which limit him as a pass protector, but his ability in the run game and Wisconsin pedigree will likely earn a look from Dave Gettleman. MiamiThe Hurricanes faded from relevancy for a while, following the second wave of scandal which rocked the school a decade ago. But now The U is making a comeback and producing NFL talent at a more familiar rate. They have as many as five players who could wind up going in the top-100 if they all declareUnfortunately, Miami’s top prospect, Gerald Willis III won’t be playing due to a hand injury. If he had, the battle with Wisconsin’s interior could have been truly epic, as Willis is one of the top defensive tackles in the nation.Safety Jaquan Johnson and CB Michael Jackson could both be of interest to the Giants. Johnson is an aggressive, hard-hitting, down-hill safety who could draw the Giants’ eye if they let Landon Collins leave via free agency. He isn’t as good as Collins and might only be a sub-package player at the next level Lorenzo Carter Color Rush Jersey , but quantity has been the name of the game for the Giants in the secondary, and Johnson is has upside as a big nickel. Jackson fits the Giants’ mold for a big, long, athletic boundary corner at 6’1”, 200 pounds and with evident athleticism. He emerged as a playmaker in 2017 and has no issues coming downhill and tackling in run support. He is best in either press-man (where he can use his size to disrupt routes) or in zone coverage. Finally, on the defensive side of the ball, we come to Joe Jackson, a long bendy EDGE with the kind of tools scouts love to see. He has plenty of burst and a verastile frame which will work as both a 4-3 defensive end or a 3-4 OLB. He needs coaching on some of the mental aspects of playing the position, but his physical tools suggest high upside.On the offensive side of the ball, Giants fans may be reluctant to look at an offensive tackle from Miami, but left tackle Tyree St. Louis is an interesting prospect. He has played both left and right tackle and has the length and foot quickness to stay on the edge in the NFL. St. Louis also has a reputation as a steady and intelligent blocker with a solid understanding of blitzes and stunts, as well as the athleticism to get into position to blunt them. He has his warts, but he is worth watching for a team in need of both starters, developmental players, and depth along the offensive line. Texas Bowl - Baylor vs. VanderbiltESPN - 9 p.m. This game features one of the most intriguing prospects for the Giants in the upcoming draft: Vandy quarterback Kyle Shurmur. VanderbiltI don’t say that because Kyle is a potential top QB in the class, but because he is Giants’ head coach Pat Shurmur’s son. So I fully expect the Giants to have an interest... But probably not a draft interest. The relationship between father and son probably wouldn’t mix well with the relationship between coach and quarterback. And even if both were able to separate the personal from the professional, even just the appearance of any kind of nepotism, favoritism, or the coach somehow going easy on his kid, could be toxic to a locker room. If Pat Shurmur remains the Giants’ coach for an extended time, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Kyle on the Giants’ masthead at some point, but only if he eventually decides to follow his father into coaching. But, elsewhere on the Vanderbilt offense, TE Jared Pinkney could interest the Giants if they choose to move on from Rhett Ellison after the season. Because of the Shurmur connection, they would have unique insight in to him as a prospect, and the 6’4”, 255 pound player has upside as both a secondary receiving threat as well as a blocker — though he needs technique refinement in that area. BaylorUnfortunately, the most interesting prospect on the Baylor side of things won’t be playing. That is because Jalen Hurd had to miss the game following knee surgery. If that name sounds familiar, it is because two years ago, Hurd was one of the top running back prospects in the country when he was at Tennessee. However, he decided to transfer, paving the way for Alvin Kamara to emerge. Hurd not only transferred, he transitioned to wide receiver, to better make use of his soft hands and long speed. Even though he only played one season as a receiver at Baylor, he emerged as a big play threat, both on deep receptions and as a YAC machine due to his size (6’4”, 230 pounds) and experience at running back. He probably won’t be drafted highly, but his background and physical tools are certainly intriguing and he could be a legitimate value later in the draft.Baylor has another big receiver worth watching, and Denzel Mims could figure as a top-100 prospect by the time all is said and done. As we have seen from Baylor receivers, Mims specializes in blowing the top off of defenses with exceptional speed and short area quickness. He combines that speed with a big frame (6’3”, 210 pounds) and good body control to make for a dangerous down-field threat. Unfortunately, as we have also seen from Baylor receivers, he has work to do on the technical aspects of the receiver position. If he can match his physical tools with technical precision, he could become a dangerous receiver down the field, in the red zone, or on third downs.

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