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90-Man Roster Preview: DT Dalvin Tomlinson

Giants continue pattern of churning through drafted defensive tackles

NFL: New York Giants-Rookie Minicamp
Dalvin Tomlinson
William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports

During free agency the New York Giants basically put an offer on the table to defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins and told him that was it, if you can find a better one elsewhere, good luck. Hankins did, of course, and the Giants selected Dalvin Tomlinson in the second round to replace him.

How will that work out? Let’s take a look at Tomlinson as we continue our player-by-player profiles of the Giants’ 90-man roster.

2016 Season In Review

Tomlinson had 62 tackles, 15 of which were solo and 5.5 of which were for loss, for Alabama. He also had three sacks after getting just one in his first three seasons with the Crimson Tide.

In a fascinating pre-draft article in SI about Tomlinson, here is the football-related stuff that likely matters:

He projects as a mid-round pick, but Tomlinson’s teammates insist he’ll outplay his draft position. He could be a three-technique in a 4–3 defensive front or an end in a 3–4, but no matter how he is deployed, Tomlinson’s fellow Crimson Tide defenders believe he’ll do exactly what he did in Tuscaloosa: Clog whatever gap needs clogging and free up linebackers to make plays. “You have to be selfless to take on double teams,” [Jonathan] Allen says of Tomlinson. “You know you’re not going to get the numbers you want, but you’re helping the team more than anyone.”

Tomlinson didn’t post huge numbers at Alabama, but he always did his job. In ’16, Tomlinson made 62 tackles with 5.5 tackles for loss. His specialty, though, was using the leverage advantage he honed as a wrestler to occupy two blockers at once. That helped Allen and linebackers such as Reuben Foster make the plays that turned them into potential first-round picks.

2017 Season Outlook

Right now, it looks like Tomlinson will be the fourth starter on the defensive line. Remember, though, no defensive tackle drafted by the Giants since Barry Cofield (2006, Round 4) has been a starter. That’s a list that includes Linval Joseph, Johnathan Hankins, Marvin Austin, Jay Alford, Jay Bromley and Markus Kuhn.

It is entirely possible, given that history, that someone like Robert Thomas ends up as the starter. It seems likely, though, that Tomlinson will get considerable playing time regardless.

What will be interesting is to see how the 6-foot-3, 312-pound Tomlinson fares when he isn’t consistently double-teamed, like he was at Alabama. With the Giants, Damon Harrison gets the “honor” of facing those double teams.