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Pro Football Focus: Landon Collins and Romeo Okwara stand out

A young starter and a player fighting to make the team are getting praised by PFF

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Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

The play of the New York Giants offensive line is certainly a concern. Not only is it worrying in and of itself, but bad play along the line makes it hard for the coaches to make accurate assessments of the rest of the offense.

That’s not to say that it’s not all doom and gloom for Big Blue. The other side of the ball is once again recognizeable as a New York Football Giants defensive unit. Jerry Reese and John Mara invested heavily this offseason — both in free agent money and in draft capital — in a defensive turnaround, so improvement is expected.

But as well as Jason Pierre-Paul, Johnathan Hankins, Damon Harrison, and Olivier Vernon are playing, according to Pro Football Focus it is a second year player and an undrafted rookie that the Giants should be excited about.

Romeo Okwara, the UDFA out of Notre Dame with the condor-like wingspan, is PFF’s top graded edge defender through the first two weeks of the preseason. While there were many more highly regarded edge players who were drafted this year and Okwara is generally playing against a lower level of competition than players who are expected to be major contributors for their teams, Okwara has been very active and disruptive when he has been on the field.

Also according to PFF, second year safety Landon Collins is also justifying the Giants’ move up to draft him at the top of the second round.

Collins is one of PFF’s two highest graded safeties in the second week of the preseason.

"S Landon Collins, New York Giants

His rookie season did not go well, but this week at least Collins had a fine game for the New York Giants. He recorded eight tackles, three defensive stops, a forced fumble and even corralled Bills QB Tyrod Taylor for a short gain when he took off scrambling from the pocket. This was the do-it-all safety the Giants have been looking for."

Von Bell is the other safety, though it’s possible that Darian Thompson might have been with there next to his partner Collins had Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie not tried to steal an interception from him.

The safety position was a big problem in 2015, but it seems that it’s a position to be excited about heading in to 2016.