Okwara ended up giving the Giants more than they could have anticipated. Will that development continue? Let’s take a closer look at Okwara as we continue our player-by-player profiles of the Giants’ 90-man roster.
2016 Season In Review
After making the team as an undrafted free agent out of Notre Dame, Okwara spent much of the season as a bit player, seeing the field mostly as an extra pass rusher. After Jason Pierre-Paul went down with season-ending core surgery, Okwara’s role increased.
Okwara’s defining game was his first after Pierre-Paul went down as he had his first career sack, a team-leading eight tackles, three hits on Dallas Cowboys’ quarterback Dak Prescott and a pass defensed while playing 60 of the Giants’ 66 defensive snaps. The Giants won, 10-7. Okwara never matched that performance or played that percentage of snaps again.
His development, though, did show that the 6-foot-5, 275-pound 22-year-old could become a dynamic third pass-rushing end who could really help the Giants’ defense.
2017 Season Outlook
The Giants simply have to find a way not to have Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon on the field for more than 90 percent of the defensive snaps. They need Okwara to continue his development to facilitate that.
Kerry Wynn is a nice player, but not a dynamic play-maker. Avery Moss is a rookie and who knows what the Giants will get from him. Devin Taylor could play a role. Owamagbe Odighizuwa? Good question.
Okwara is a classically built defensive end, in the physical mold of what the Giants like. The expectation here is that he continues to improve, showing that he wasn’t just a one-hit wonder last season.