The New York Giants have lost their two most productive defensive linemen from a season ago, Justin Tuck and Linval Joseph. While their offseason has been active, defensive line has not been a priority. But today Big Blue re-signed Mike Patterson, a move that adds much needed depth.
Last season the Giants’ defensive tackle depth was the envy of the league. That unit helped the Giants become one of the top run defenses in the league and was the best part of a defense that turned out to be surprisingly good.
With the loss of Joseph and Patterson, the Giants were left with Cullen Jenkins and the hope that Johnathan Hankins could make the leap to starter in his second season. Their only depth was Markus Kuhn. By re-signing Patterson — a player who performed better than expected last season — the Giants once again have a solid rotation at tackle.
Last season Patterson played in all 16 games, registering 23 tackles and three stuffs. Those numbers might not seem too impressive, but he registered a 2.1 in 413 snaps according to Pro Football Focus. Those are strong numbers for a backup tackle.
That depth not only protects them in case of injury, but it allows Hankins and Jenkins to get rest during games so they don’t wear out. That’s especially important for Hankins whose role is expected to increase this season.
The Giants still need to add depth at defensive end, but this move should allow the team to focus on other positions come draft time. With the moves they’ve already made at cornerback and linebacker, the Giants look like they’ll be able to improve on what was a surprisingly solid year from their defense last season.