Last offseason, the New York Giants made upgrading their pass rush a major priority. The result was certainly seen in a unit that came alive in the second half of the season and propelled the team to the playoffs.
It was defensive end Olivier Vernon and defensive tackle Damon Harrison who were the prize catches last offseason in free agency.
The numbers backed up their production and the Giants' massive increase in payroll on the defensive side of the ball paid off.
Now, in turn, this offseason the Giants are being recognized at least on an individual level for their accomplishments by one of the most respected analytic websites in the game.
Pro Football Focus has been heaping some pretty high praise on the Giants pass rush over the past week.
On Monday, Pro Football Focus listed Harrison at No. 41 within their list of top 50 players in the NFL. He bested NFC East rivals such as running back Ezekiel Elliott (No. 45) and linebacker Sean Lee (No. 48), both of the Dallas Cowboys, alongside Philadelphia Eagles defensive lineman Fletcher Cox (No. 50).
In announcing Harrison, PFF tweeted out that “He dominates against the run like no other defensive tackle in the NFL.”
The other big piece signed by the Giants last offseason was Vernon, a premier edge rusher taken from the Miami Dolphins. According to PFF, Vernon topped the league’s right-sided defensive ends in “Pass Rush Productivity.”
Giants DE Olivier Vernon stood out among the league's 4-3 defensive ends from the right side of the defensive line. pic.twitter.com/GKfvEVAQMj— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) May 29, 2017
Not a bad return on investment for a Giants offseason spending spree last year.