As part of the release of the 2014 Football Outsiders Almanac, which can be purchased as a PDF or at Amazon, Scott Kacsmar of Football Outsiders recently answered several questions about the New York Giants. Some of those answers have already appeared here, and you can find them in our StoryStream.
Today we turn our attention to the question of whether or not the Giants made the right move by letting defensive tackle Linval Joseph go in free agency to clear a path for 2013 second-round pick Johnathan Hankins.
Big Blue View: Will the Giants miss Linval Joseph more than they think, or do you believe the young players they have -- especially Johnathan Hankins -- can fill that void?
Kacsmar: I've always felt the defensive ends were the key to this defense. The interior is much more replaceable, and I don't think Joseph will be a huge loss. They still have a veteran in Cullen Jenkins who played well last year. Joseph had another very active season, but his metrics against the run dropped from 2012. We have a stat called "Stops" that represents the number of plays that prevent a "success" by the offense. Success is 45 percent of needed yards on first down, 60 percent on second down and 100 percent on third/fourth down. Joseph's Stop Rate against the run fell to 64 percent last year (ranked 79th among defensive linemen). He was at 72 percent in 2012 (ranked 44th).
Johnathan Hankins only faced 15 runs, but his Stop Rate was 93 percent. The reason teams draft players like Hankins in the second round is to eventually replace decent veterans like Joseph without a hitch. I don't think the Giants will have a problem here.