The New York Giants have been without the services of outside linebacker Olivier Vernon since he suffered a high ankle sprain on Aug. 26. Vernon is the Giants’ best pass rusher and will be missed in Sunday’s game against the Houston Texans.
One of the pass rushers who will help fill the void left by Vernon’s injury is Connor Barwin.
Barwin, who signed with the Giants at the start of training camp, has had a very successful career. He has 55.5 sacks in his first nine seasons and is the only player on the Giants’ roster besides Vernon to record at least four sacks in a season.
Barwin isn’t the type of edge defender who excels in the run stopping department despite his 6-foot-4, 255-pound frame. He is a speed rusher who gets around offensive tackles rather than powering his way to quarterbacks. Barwin is an impactful player but isn’t someone teams expect to set the edge and contain opposing offenses in the run game.
Barwin started in the Week 1 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars. He has two passes defended and an assisted tackle in two games.
Another pass rusher expected to help pick up the slack is rookie Lorenzo Carter.
Carter was selected in the third round (66th overall) in the 2018 NFL Draft. He was considered an unpolished prospect who has all the physical tools of a great pass rusher in the NFL.
He stands at 6-foot-5, weighs 250 pounds, and ran an even 4.5 at the NFL Combine. Carter played collegiately at the University of Georgia. He used his rare blend of speed and power to will his way to opposing quarterbacks. Carter’s success in college came from raw physical tools.
Some scouts thought Carter would have a slow start in the NFL but played in both regular season games. He started in the Week 2 loss to the Dallas Cowboys where he showed his pass rushing ability by forcing Dak Prescott to throw a pass to the sideline.
He does his best run stopping work when he’s not on the line of scrimmage. Carter is still learning how to shed blockers on a consistent basis. Overall, Carter is ready to be a speed rusher at the NFL level and will be best used in pass rushing situations.
In two games, Carter has four combined tackles (three solo) and a pass defended.
When the Giants take the field at NRG Stadium to play the Texans, they will miss Vernon’s pass rushing and run defending skills. However, the team will field a polished veteran and a potential star in the making in Vernon’s absence.
– Christian Morell is a Contributor for Full Press Coverage and covers the NFL and the New York Giants. Please like and follow on Facebook and Twitter. Christian can be followed on Twitter @CMorellNFL.