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Making the Case For and Against Oshane Ximines in 2021

New York Giants' pass-rusher Oshane Ximines is on the brink of a make-or-break season but first needs to make the team's final roster.
Oshane Ximines

New York Giants pass-rusher Oshane Ximines is on the brink of a make-or-break season. The Giants drafted him in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft. He played well in his rookie year, recording 25 tackles, 4.5 sacks, 12 pressures, and nine quarterback hits in 45% of the team’s defensive snaps. After the 2019 season, the Giants let go of head coach Pat Shurmur and most of his coaching staff. Enter Joe Judge and company. Due to an injury-shortened year, the coaching staff saw very little of what Oshane Ximines could be.

The New York Giants drafted Azeez Ojulari and Elerson Smith in April’s draft. The team is holding over some young, inexperienced rushers from last year while they also signed Ryan Anderson in free agency. Concerns are now circling whether Oshane Ximines will make the final-53 in September.

Reasons Why Oshane Ximines Will and Won’t Make the Giants Roster

Why He Will Make The 53

Besides Lorenzo Carter, Oshane Ximines is one of the few outside linebackers that have experience under their belt. Ryan Anderson is the only veteran that comes close, being drafted in 2017. Ximines has not received a fair shot since the Judge coaching staff has arrived.

He put up some good stats under James Bettcher in his rookie season, recording 25 tackles, five tackles for a loss. 4.5 sacks, 12 pressures, and nine quarterback hits. Ximines produced those numbers while only playing 45% of the defensive snaps and being in a linebacker core with Markus Golden and Lorenzo Carter, who were favored over him to start the year.

With preseason games and real training camp returning, Ximines will show the coaches his level of talent as a third-year player with strengths as a pass-rusher and a run defender. After a rough second year, Lorenzo Carter stepped up in his third year. If this staff lets Ximines play, he will match Carter’s third-year production.

Why He Won’t Make The 53

The problem for Oshane Ximines is that his success was under another coaching staff. Before his injury in 2020, he did not show much or play much at all. He recorded five tackles and five quarterback pressures in four games, playing 10% of the defensive snaps. He played a season-high 46 snaps (58%) against the 49ers. The point is that even before Ximines’ injury, the coaching staff did not see a lot of potential in him. They elected to play veterans Kyler Fackrell and Markus Golden over him. The same may happen this year.

The Giants drafted Azeez Ojulari and Elerson Smith in April’s draft to sure up the depth in the outside linebacker room. They also signed veteran Ryan Anderson to a Kyler Fackrell-like prove-it deal in March. Ximines is already getting the short end of the stick by coming back from an injury and being from another coaching staff. The team drafting at his positionl does not make his life any easier.

The team carried six linebackers last year, consisting of two late-round rookies. Lorenzo Carter, Azeez Ojulari, and Elerson Smith are automatic favorites to make the roster. New York likely keeps Cam Brown and Ryan Anderson around as reserve/special teams linebackers. If Ximines does not have a 2019-style preseason, he can say goodbye to a Giants uniform. However, he is still eligible for the practice squad.

Prediction: Oshane Ximines makes the 53-man roster by a slight margin at the end of the summer. Much like Lorenzo Carter last year, Ximines will get his final shot to show the Giants how good he can be. Ojulari and Smith are likely to get more playing time as the season goes on, but if Ximines produces well beforehand, his playing time will be extended.

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