Last week, the ‘What to watch’ series took a look at cornerback Eli Apple, who will be expected to have a bounceback year for the New York Giants. This installment will examine Dalvin Tomlinson, the Giants defensive lineman who showed lots of promise a year ago.
Tomlinson, a second round pick of the Giants last year, had an effective rookie season but expectations will be significantly higher for him in 2018. A thick body who has good feet and decent speed for his size, Tomlinson will have to carry a larger responsibility this year.
And he will have to do so in the Giants’ new 3-4 alignment where he will likely have to play both inside and outside on some snaps. This won’t be easy for him.
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He had 50 total tackles last year, one sack and one pass defended. Not bad numbers and it was good to see his role grow throughout the season.
Depth along the defensive line isn’t a strength of the Giants this season so Tomlinson will be called upon to not just be a rotation player but also step in instantly.
He will need to get better off the line, especially in the 3-4 where a slow break could see him getting stood up and plays being blown up. Because he is a powerful defensive lineman who relies on strength and leverage, he has to make sure he gets off quickly, especially when playing as an end in the 3-4. At times last year he looked a bit slow off the snap, something he needs to work on.
This is a big training camp for Tomlinson to adjust to the new defense and his role. He is certainly strong enough to play in this scheme, he just needs to round out the rest of his pass rush. The run defense isn’t the problem here and he is athletic enough to track down players in the open field.
If Tomlinson comes into camp quicker and with some more moves, then this could be a sign that that the Giants pass rush and defensive line will be better than anticipated.