When we talk about the New York Giants hog mollies, we certainly can’t forget about the defensive side of the ball, especially along the defensive line where the unit lost Dalvin Tomlinson in free agency.
But unlike the offensive side of the ball, the Giants reinforced the depth with a couple of veterans signed to one-year contracts, Danny Shelton and Austin Johnson.
Those two will rotate with holdover B.J. Hill to fill the void left by Tomlinson’s departure. With that said, all three are signed through this season, and the likelihood of all three returning beyond this year isn’t very high.
The Giants, meanwhile, have had tremendous success in drafting young defensive linemen in the past--Tomlinson, Dexter Lawrence, Jonathan Hankins, Barry Cofield, and Cornelius Griffin are just some of the names that come to mind.
Might they be looking to add to what they have with another youngster whom they can work to get ready for the future?
Never say never, but what you can say is that they probably won’t force the issue. This is a decent class for defensive linemen, but some might argue that the pickings might be slim for the kind of players that would fit the Giants system.
If that’s not reason enough to eschew drafting a defensive lineman, there’s also the position’s spot on the list of needs. The Giants appear to have enough depth to get them through the season (though with that said, all it takes is a rash of injuries to wipe that depth out).
More importantly, they have other pressing needs that will likely take a higher priority, among them offensive line, receiver, running back, and edge rusher.
MORE FROM GIANTS COUNTRY'S "DRAFT NEEDS" SERIES
- Is a Developmental QB in the Cards?
- Draft or Sign Another Running Back?
- Never Too Many Receivers
- A Tight End Now or a Later?
- More Offensive Line Help on the Way?
Still, general manager Dave Gettleman does love his hog mollies, so it wouldn’t be a shock if he added to the group. He didn’t do so last year, the first time since taking over as Giants general manager, he skipped taking a defensive lineman, so if anyone is wondering who might be of interest, here are some names to watch.
Tedarrell Slaton (Florida). Slaton is a big-bodied (6-foot-6, 355 pounds) defender. Right now, he’s more of a run defender between the tackles. He uses a swim move on his pass rushes, and he has enough athleticism to finish off plays. He has the raw power to collapse pockets all by himself. Tough to handle one-on-one, Slaton holds up to double teams too. Borderline Day 2/Day 3 prospect.
Bobby Brown (Texas A&M). A good fit for what the Giants do, Brown plays low to the ground and has the lower body strength to hold his ground. He also has enough athleticism to stay on his feet and work his way to the ball between the tackles. At 6-foot-4, 315 pounds, he has the ideal frame, the natural strength, and playing style to control his gaps but is not a pass rusher at this point in his development.
Tyler Shelvin (LSU). Shelvin was the top-ranked recruit in the state of Louisiana during the 2017 cycle. While his stats look pedestrian, he routinely occupied multiple blockers and plugged up the A-gap. Shelvin's biggest (no pun intended) challenge will be keeping his weight in check, but at the very least, he appears to be a fit for the Giants' two-gapping role.
Alim McNeill, North Carolina State: Effective both against the run and in the pass rush, he posted 50 total pressures (including ten sacks) and 52 stops for zero or negative yardage. According to Pro Football Focus, this 6-foot-2, 320-pounder is amazingly athletic for a man of his stature and finished as the third-highest ranked defensive interior lineman in the country.