The New York Giants spent oodles of money on some very talented players in the 2016 offseason, but could the Giants' breakout defensive player be an undrafted defensive end who clawed his way onto the team in 2014?
Former NFL defensive end and current SB Nation writer Stephen White is predicting exactly that. He spent all summer studying tape of every team in the league, and is predicting the breakout player on every roster. He is making a point to pick from players who are at least two years removed from college (to protect against "one year wonders") Based on the Giants' tape, he believes that unheralded DE Kerry Wynn is primed for a breakout season.
Wynn showed last year that he can be a helluva run defender at defensive end. He has good size at 6'5 and 264 pounds and did a really good job with his hands controlling blockers and holding his ground. His thick lower body gives him a really good base, which makes him very hard to move even though he isn't the biggest guy in the world. While he isn't likely to start, Wynn should be able to carve out a nice niche for himself coming in on run and goal-line downs at defensive end, especially with JPP's situation with his hand, and maybe rushing inside on passing downs.
I'm probably most excited about the prospect of Wynn rushing inside on nickel though to be honest. He has only a sack and a half in the first two seasons of his career, all coming in 2014, but I think that's mostly because he was trying to rush from the edge where he doesn't necessarily have the kind of speed or explosiveness that you normally need to be productive out there. Succeeding as an interior rusher has more to do with quickness than straight line speed, and I think Wynn is plenty of quick enough and powerful enough to get a lot of pressure in there.
In chatting with White, I mentioned that I was expecting Johnathan Hankins to be his pick. However, he said that in his eyes, Big Hank already broke out in 2014. He also mentioned that if it weren't for his specifying that a player be in his third year or later, second-year DE Owamagbe Odighizuwa would have been his pick for the Giants because of his explosiveness rushing off the edge and inside.
So, what do you think Giants fans? Does Stephen have it right, or could another third-year player step up and steal Wynn's thunder?