The New York Giants will return Wink Martindale to oversee the continued growth of the defense for the 2023 NFL Season. Let’s take a deep dive into the Edge Rusher position. The team already has it’s penciled in starters for the 2023 season as well as some underrated and undervalued depth pieces. Having said that, this is a unit that could use some upgrades for the 2023 NFL season.
2023 Rostered Players
Kayvon Thibodeaux – Azeez Ojulari – Tomon Fox – Ryder Anderson
Kayvon Thibodeaux is the alpha for the unit. He was selected 5th overall in the 2022 NFL Draft. Thibs finished the 2022 NFL Season with 7 starts and 14 games played for a total of 740 snaps. He had 4 sacks, 6 tackles for a loss, 13 QB hits, 49 total tackles, 5 pass breakups, 2 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries and a defensive touchdown. Thibs began to round into top form by the end of the season. His film by the end of the season showcased elite traits. Look forward to Kayvon Thibodeaux following up 2022 with a stellar 2023 provided he can stay healthy. Thibs has the ability to be one of the most dominate edge rushers in the NFL.
Azeez Ojulari is a mixed bag. When he is healthy, he plays like one of the best edge rushers in football. Ojulari only played in 7 games with 5 starts during the 2022 NFL season. He still managed to record 5.5 sacks with limited playing time. Provided he can stay healthy, the New York Giants have penciled in starters for the 2023 NFL season that should rank among the best in the NFL.
Tomon Fox and Ryder Anderson are mostly depth pieces that stood their ground during the 2022 season. They combined to play nearly 350 snaps and tallied 3 sacks and 9 QB pressures.
The Giants would do well to consider bringing back either Oshane Ximines or Jihad Ward for the 2023 NFL Season. Jihad Ward started 11 games and held up as well as you could expect a career backup to have held up given the circumstances. If I could only select one of the two, Ward would be my pick.
Either way, the Giants should consider bringing in depth at Edge Rusher. If for nothing else, but to prepare the team should Thibodeaux or Ojulari once again miss extended time in 2023.
Free Agent Options
It genuinely makes the most sense for the Giants to roll the dice on bringing Ximines or Ward or even both back for the 2023 season. Affordable free agent options are few and far between. Joe Schoen has already acknowledged that if you shop hungry, you will overspend. The Edge position is not in a situation where we need to bid against ourselves for top talent.
However, if Schoen wants to make a splash in 2023 Rasheem Green and Arden Key would certainly be cannon ball type splashers. A type of move like signing either of those players doesn’t really seem like a Joe Shoen move. Schoen could certainly look elsewhere…
The Giants, as of this article, have 11 draft selections in the 2023 NFL Draft. This is where Joe Schoen could really look to build the Edge Rusher room with talent and potential.
The Giants do not select until pick 25 in the 1st round of the NFL Draft. This draft is also top heavy with Edge talent. The Giants would need to pull the trigger early on a difference maker or take a late round flyer on sheer potential.
What could the Giants do in each round to solidify the Edge Rushing unit for the 2023 NFL season?
- Round 1 – BJ Ojulari – LSU
- Round 2 – Felix Anudike-Uzomah – Kansas State
- Round 3 – KJ Henry – Clemson
- Round 4 – Ochaun Mathis – Nebraska
- Round 5 – Dylan Horton – TCU
- Round 6 – BJ Thompson – Stephen F. Austin
- Round 7 – Andre Jones – Louisiana
Depth is the key word that needs to be understood for the 2023 deep dive of the Edge Rusher position. Provided Kayvon Thibodeaux and Azeez Ojulari continue to improve and find ways to stay healthy, we could be looking at one of the better skill position rooms on the 2023 roster.