Aren't Sundays way more exciting when the New York Giants and their monster defensive line take the field on game day? Watching Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon trot out onto the field is intimidating and surely terrifying.
After JPP suffered a herniated disk last season against the Steelers, backup Romeo Okwara stepped in to replace the Giants icon.
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Although Okwara played valiantly and starred in the second victory over the Dallas Cowboys, he will ultimately be destined to a reserve role in 2017.
JPP and Vernon played a majority of the snaps in 2016 (over 95%), leaving crumbs to the rotational edge rushers.
Big Blue lost star defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins to free agency this offseason, but replaced him with second-round draft choice Dalvin Tomlinson.
The Alabama product has all of the intangibles to be a dominant force in the NFL, and will provide immediate support. Despite the Giants having lofty expectations for Tomlinson, he will probably be out-shined by the big boys: Damon "Snacks" Harrison. Vernon, and JPP.
Giants' star defensive tackle Damon Harrison is one of the NFL's greatest undrafted success stories. His will to compete and toughness shined through with the New York Jets, and the Giants (as always) were ready to pounce.
Harrison will undeniably be the largest force on the interior (pun intended), and will garner the most production out of the interior lineman, per my prediction.
The only relevant players for this argument are JPP and Vernon, as they are the primary edge rushers and will be receive a majority of the snaps. But, who will be the most productive edge rusher?
Last campaign, JPP managed 35 total tackles, seven sacks, three forced fumbles, and one fumble recovery. He also had an ever so rare pick-six! All of this was in 12 games played, far less than the 16 played by Vernon.
The former Dolphin earned impressive numbers in 2016, despite having an injured hand. He racked up 44 total tackles, 8.5 sacks, and recovered one fumble. His forcible presence on the field was impact-full, and often found himself baring down on quarterbacks.
If both players can stay healthy in 2017 it's going to be a close call, but with JPP coming off season ending surgery, it must be assumed the Vernon will have the upper hand in production.