All offseason, we heard about how much the New York Giants needed Lorenzo Carter to develop into a play-making force in his second season.
The Giants were 30th in the league in sacks a year ago, and overall one of the league’s most porous defenses. Olivier Vernon is in Cleveland. Landon Collins is in Washington. Damon Harrison is in Detroit. The Giants need new playmakers, and the athletic edge player out of Georgia, a third-round pick a year ago, is the guy most have pointed to as the one who must be a difference-maker for the Giants.
NFL.com picked Carter as the team’s 2019 breakout star:
Lorenzo Carter, outside linebacker. One of the reasons the Giants might have felt comfortable moving Vernon was the presence of Carter, who did show some promise during his rookie season. Now the 2018 third-round pick is not only going to increase his workload, but he's going to need to replace Vernon's production, too. The Giants did sign Markus Golden and draft Oshane Ximines in the third round to boost the pass rush this offseason, but I'm expecting Carter to take a huge step in 2019.
ESPN had Carter atop its list of breakout players drafted in Round 3 or later.
After an offseason during which Carter added roughly 12 pounds, reporting at a bulked up 256 pounds, Carter has lived up to the hype through two practices.
Thursday, he wowed with back-to-back splash plays. First, he ran down Golden Tate behind the line of scrimmage on a reverse. Then, he blew up a screen to Saquon Barkley with a diving interception of Eli Manning.
“That [interception] was a terrific play,” coach Pat Shurmur said on Friday. “As a head coach, that’s what you like to see. As an offensive coach, you don’t want those kinds of things to happen. But when a guy makes a great individual effort like that, that was awesome. Hopefully we’ll see more of that.”
GM Dave Gettleman said Friday that it’s the type of play young players need to make.
“Sometimes you need to make that play and it’s like, ‘Wow! I just did that. Wow, I can do this,’” Gettleman said on Friday. “It’s really important. It really is. They don’t know what they can do, they don’t know what they can’t do. When you see a young kid make a play like that … it’s no different than me evaluating a player for the first time and being right.”
A smiling, relaxed Carter met the media on Friday. The crux of his message? Get ready to watch the show.
“I’ve always put big expectations on myself,” Carter said. “Coming to New York I knew reading the media wasn’t going to be the smartest thing to do. I try to stay away from it, but if that’s what they say then go ahead and watch, just watch and see.”
Carter is certainly off to a good start.