Joe Schoen and the Giants front office did an impressive job of matching need with value throughout the 2023 NFL Draft, specifically in the early rounds.  Cornerback Deonte Banks, John Michael Schmittz at the center position, and deep threat Jalin Hyatt all seemed to address areas of need for the Giants while not reaching for a particular player.  Fans should feel excited about the players added, however, one area that wasn’t addressed is the pass rush. 


Yes, Habaakkuk Baldonado, an outside linebacker from the University of Pittsburgh, was signed as an undrafted free agent, but who knows if he’ll even make the final roster.  The draft has made It abundantly clear that the Giants’ ability to get after the quarterback in 2023 will heavily rely upon two players.  

Thibodeaux & Ojulari

Defensive coordinator Wink Martindale will need all he can get from Kayvon Thibodeaux and Azeez Ojulari off the edge.  The 2022 1st round pick Kayvon Thibedeaux, who compiled 45 pressures his rookie year (playoffs included) proved to be disruptive and should increase production in year two.

Azeez Ojualri’s second season was plagued by injuries, but he was still able to finish the year with 5.5 sacks despite only playing in seven games.  He also has the Giants rookie season sack record with eight, showing the high upside he possesses when healthy.


After these two, however, the rest of the edge group is full of unproven players, such as Tomon Fox and Elerson Smith. This week the Giants re-signed Outside Linebacker, Oshane Ximines. Injuries and low production have cut back his success as Ximines has had only 6.5 sacks through four seasons. The Giants do have one of the best defensive tackle tandems in the NFL in Dexter Lawrence and Leonard Willaims who can bring pressure from the interior of the line, but it’s a lot to ask Dexter Lawrence to top his sack total of 7.5 from 2022, a career best. 

We’ve all heard it said before: the Giants are at their best when they’re sacking the quarterback, and if they’re going to be successful in that area in 2023 it’ll likely be coming from Kayvon Thibodeaux and Azeez Ojualari. Perhaps Oshane can find his groove and deliver some added production if given the opportunity. At this point in his career…it looks like an insurance policy.