This time last year, Ed Valentine called Oshane Ximines a longshot to make the New York Giants’ 53-man roster. A few months ago, many media members predicted the Giants would let him walk in free agency.
Ximines, though, is still here. All signs point to him once again playing a significant role in the Giants’ defense.
Let’s project where Ximines will slot in as we wrap up our annual profiles of the Giants’ 90-man training camp roster.
By the numbers
Position: Outside linebacker
Contract: One-year, $1.08 million deal | 2023 cap hit: $1.04 million
Career to date
The Giants drafted Ximines in the third round of the 2019 draft, using one of the picks they received by trading away Odell Beckham Jr. He was the first player to ever be drafted out of his alma mater Old Dominion, with some analysts at the time grading him as a first-round pick.
Ximines appeared in every game that year for the Giants, finishing with 4.5 sacks and nine quarterback hits. Those are still his career highs. He spent most of 2020 on injured reserve with a shoulder injury, but his usage was decreasing even before then. He rarely saw the field during the latter half of 2021 after a disappointing start to the season.
However, Ximines saw something of a resurgence last year with new defensive coordinator Wink Martindale. He started four games and played more than half of the team’s defensive snaps for the first time in his career. He had two sacks and eight quarterback hits.
The Giants brought him back on a one-year deal this May.
The Giants have yet to make any significant additions at edge defender this offseason, meaning Ximines should once again be an important piece of the roster. His snap count was likely inflated last year by Azeez Ojulari’s injury, but he’ll still see the field as a rotational piece.
Martindale used Ximines in almost every scenario last year, lining up on the edge and as a middle linebacker. He took an almost equal amount of snaps as a pass rusher and as a run defender, and even lined up in pass coverage. He’ll likely continue operating in a similar manner in Martindale’s “positionless” defense. That will be especially true if the team can stay healthy and Martindale can use Ximines based on scheme fit rather than necessity.
Ximines is likely lower down on the depth chart than Jihad Ward, who saw more playing time last year. Still, Ximines has already proven that he can fill in serviceably were Ojulari or Kayvon Thibodeaux to go down with an injury.
There’s two sides to Ximines’ coin. Early in his rookie season, it appeared as if he might be a long-term starter for the Giants. But given his struggles to earn playing time since then, it’s impressive that he’s now on his second contract with the team that drafted him.