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New York Giants 2022 Training Camp Preview: OLB Niko Lalos

Niko Lalos showed enough flash to earn himself some playing time in 2020. But with a crowded outside linebacker room before him, can he hold on to a roster spot?

What happens when you have a football player with both brains and brawn who also knows how to overcome adversity whenever it befalls him? 

You get a guy like New York Giants outside linebacker Niko Lalos.

At 6-foot-5 and 269 pounds, Lalos hails from the city of Akron, Ohio, where he attended St . Vincent-St. Mary High School--yes, the same high school where NBA superstar Lebron James made his name. Lalos, like James, played basketball (though obviously nowhere near James's level) and football.

In 2017, he committed to the Dartmouth Big Green football team and played in the Ivy League for four seasons, earning a varsity letter in three seasons. His impact season came in his senior year, when Lalos recorded 35 tackles, including ten tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks, and seven deflected passes, with one going back for an interception touchdown.

That effort landed Lalos on the Ivy League’s all-conference team and helped send his team to a 2020 Hula Bowl. Lalos finished his college career with 59 tackles, 17.5 tackles for loss, 11 sacks, an interception, and a fumble in 24 games.

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Unfortunately, Lalos would be one of the hundreds of college players that didn’t hear their name called at the 2020 NFL Draft. However, not long after, he was signed to the Giants as an undrafted free agent and would be signed to New York's practice squad before the regular season.

On November 28, 2020, Lalos finally got his chance to play in the NFL when he was called up for the Giants’ Week 12 game against the Bengals. His performance didn’t smash the stat sheet, but he made one of the biggest plays by catching a deflected pass for an interception to help the team seal a tight 19-17 victory. 

The following week, Lalos was again elevated to the 53-man roster and contributed to an upset 17-12 victory over the Seahawks. He was finally promoted to the active roster in December 2020.

Lalos was invited to training camp the following year, but he didn't make the cut. He spent the 2021 season on the Giants' practice squad and will get yet another chance to slip onto the 53-man roster this year, though he faces a very crowded outside linebacker room.

Jun 7, 2022; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New York Giants linebacker Niko Lalos (57) participates in a drill during minicamp at MetLife Stadium.
Aug 29, 2021; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New York Giants defensive end Niko Lalos (57) looks on after the game against the New England Patriots at MetLife Stadium.
Dec 6, 2020; Seattle, Washington, USA; New York Giants defensive end Niko Lalos (57) reacts after recovering a fumble against the Seattle Seahawks during the second quarter at Lumen Field.

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