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Giants 2021 roster profile: DE Niko Lalos

Fan favorite has fight on his hands to keep a roster spot

New York Giants v Cincinnati Bengals
Niko Lalos dives to intercept a pass against the Cincinnati Bengals last season.
Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

Niko Lalos went from being an undrafted free agent out of the Ivy League to a contributing defender and fan favorite for the New York Giants a season ago. Can his Cinderella story continue in 2021?

Let’s take a closer look at Lalos as we continue profiling each of the players who will be on the 90-man roster the Giants bring to training camp later this summer.

The basics

Height: 6-foot-5
Weight: 270
Age: 24
Experience: 1
Position: Defensive end
Contract: Year 2 of two-year, $1.39 million rookie contract | 2021 cap hit: $780,000

Career to date

After playing collegiately at Dartmouth, Lalos signed with the Giants as an undrafted free agent and earned a spot on the practice squad. He ended up appearing in six games at the end of the season. Lalos became a fan favorite with a diving interception in his Week 12 debut vs. the Cincinnati Bengals and a Week 13 fumble recovery in an upset victory over the Seattle Seahawks.

On the season, he had a sack, fumble recovery, interception and six tackles in 72 defensive snaps.

2021 outlook

Lalos seems to be a “bubble” player entering training camp. He provided a short-term, somewhat unexpected, boost to the Giants’ defense a year ago. With lots of new faces on the 90-man roster on the edge and at defensive end, Lalos faces competition to remain on the roster. He does have practice squad eligibility, and in my view that is likjely where he will end up.