The New York Giants need to bolster their defensive front, which was made clear by Joe Schoen’s comments earlier in the off-season. There needs to be more depth behind Dexter Lawrence and Leonard Williams on the defensive line; to compound the issue, the edgeroom is slim, and two of the four players currently on the roster - Azeez Ojulari & Elerson Smith- have struggled to stay healthy.
NFL Network insider Mike Garafolo joined the All In with Art Stapleton podcast on Thursday morning. Garafolo mentioned that the Giants were in the EDGE market. He specifically said Marcus Davenport, but former Cardinals defender Zach Allen also makes sense and would likely be cheaper than Davenport.
I enjoyed getting to know Allen a bit at the 2019 Reese’s Senior Bowl event. Players on the northern team’s defensive line were my responsibility for ensuring they were at all their meetings and events in a punctual manner. Sounds easy, was easy, but some players were more agreeable than others.
Allen was a conscientious young man who asked questions and ensured he was prepared for every meeting and event. I appreciated his diligence, respect, and the evident care he displayed throughout the week. Those character traits seem to coincide with what Joe Schoen is looking for in players.
Age: 26 in the 2023 season
Height: 6-foot-4 | Weight: 281
Position: Defensive Line
Experience: 4 seasons
2022 stats: 13 games | Tackles: (47) | Tackles for a loss: (10) | Stops: (21) | Pressures (35) | Sacks: (5.5) Missed tackles (2, 5.1% percent)
The Arizona Cardinals selected Zach Allen in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft out of Boston College. Allen was a tough player in college, but one that was labeled a tweener; still, he had 40 tackles for a loss and 16.5 sacks through three seasons.
Allen is a solid overall athlete with exceptional arm length and big hands. A neck injury plagued him during his rookie season, and then he rolled his ankle in 2020. Through the first two years of his career, he only played 649 defensive snaps, but he started showing true promise and health in 2021.
Allen recorded 26 pressures and four sacks in 2021, but his game progressed significantly last season. He was having a career year in 2022 with 5.5 sacks, 35 pressures, and 10 tackles for a loss, but he broke his left hand against the New England Patriots in Week 14, which effectively ended his season.
The Cardinals used Allen all throughout their defensive front. He was mostly aligned at 4i-shade and 5-technique with snaps at 3-technique as well. He’s a tough player who uses good leverage when engaged at the point of attack. He’s a solid athlete for his size, and he plays balanced with good overall technique.
If the Giants explore Allen as an option, he would not play the role of Kayvon Thibodeaux or Azeez Ojulari. His role, like Marcus Davenport, would be the Jihad Ward role from last season. Allen would make a great 6-technique (over the tight end) for the Giants.
He would complete the Giants' base personnel front as a 4i or 5-technique and would have a role on obvious run-downs. He could kick inside on passing situations and provide the Giants with a competent rotation of three interior defensive linemen.
According to Spotrac.com, Zach Allen’s market value is three years, $27.9 million, which puts his average annual value at $9.3 million. That’s not a terrible number for a player who progressed like Allen and with the cap ever expanding.
However, will the Giants opt to invest more money into a player who is more of a defensive lineman than an edge? Or, will the Giants look to find a cheap contract at defensive line in the draft? Let us know what you think in the comments below!