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Saquon Barkley and Leonard Williams: Comeback and Defensive Player of the Year candidates

Barkley and Williams poised for a big season ahead?

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at New York Giants Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The oddsmakers are continuing to make their bets and two new New York Giants have appeared on recent lists.

According to www.BetOnline.ag, Giants defensive end Leonard Williams has 50/1 odds to be named the 2021-2022 Defensive Player of the Year. He is 30th on the list of 45 players. Los Angeles Rams DE Aaron Donald (9/2), Cleveland Browns Myles Garrett (11/2) and Pittsburgh Steelers LB TJ Watt (9/1) have the three best odds on the list.

Additionally, running back Saquon Barkley was on the 2021-22 Comeback Player of the Year list. He had the second best odds in the league at 6/1 behind Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (5/2). Cincinnati Bengals QB Joe Burrow (15/2) rounded out the top three.

Both Williams and Barkley are well-positioned for strong seasons next year.

Williams signed a three-year contract this offseason, and for the second consecutive year, the Giants placed a non-exclusive franchise tag on the defensive end.

Last season was the best of Williams’ six-year career as he led the team and was seventh in the NFL with 11.5 sacks, the highest total by a Giants player since Jason Pierre-Paul’s 14.5 in 2014. No other Giants defender had more than 4.0 sacks. Williams’ previous high total was 7.0 sacks in 2016. He had just one half-sack in 2019.

Williams was also third in the NFL with 30 quarterback hits and tied for sixth with 14 tackles for loss. He was fifth on the Giants with 57 tackles (29 solo). In the final five weeks of last season, Williams was named the NFC Defensive Player of the Week twice.

In this way, Williams has set a new bar for himself and the Giants are hoping that he not only meets it, but exceeds it.

Then there is Barkley who will be making his return from injury. Barkley suffered a torn right ACL in the Giants’ Week 2 loss to the Chicago Bears and missed the remainder of the 2020 campaign.

In his rookie campaign, Barkley recorded 261 rushing attempts for 1,307 yards and 11 touchdowns. He also racked up 791 receiving yards and four receiving touchdowns for a total of 2028 yards from scrimmage to earn 2018 Offensive Rookie of the Year Honors.

Barkley missed three games in the 2019 season due to injury, but still managed to surpass the 1000-yard rushing mark and record six touchdowns. Due to an injury-riddled past couple of seasons, Barkley is likely to enter the 2021 campaign with a fire under him as he begins to make up for lost time.