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The 2020 NFL season has seen a number of young, promising players suffer serious injuries. Of course, the New York Giants experienced that pain when star running back Saquon Barkley tore his ACL in Week 2.

Unfortunately for Joe Judge, his defense will now have to get by without one of its rising stars. With Lorenzo Carter sustaining a season-ending injury of his own, expect the Giants to regress on defense as they remain the favorites to land the No. 1 pick in the 2021 NFL draft.

Lorenzo Carter has flashed Pro Bowl potential

Following a productive four-year career at the University of Georgia, Lorenzo Carter entered the 2018 NFL draft as one of the top outside linebacker prospects. Tipping the scales at 6-foot-5, 250 pounds with 4.46 speed, the Georgia native went 66th overall to the Giants. Carter signed a four-year, $4.8 million contract that included a $1 million signing bonus.

Though the third-round pick started just two games, he flashed intriguing potential in his first year in the league. Carter finished his rookie season with 43 total tackles (seven for loss), four sacks, 10 quarterback hits, and four passes defended.

Last year, he became a full-time starter for a Giants team that struggled mightily to get after the quarterback. Carter finished second on the team with 4.5 sacks. His 13 quarterback hits also ranked second on the team behind only Markus Golden.

Expected to take a massive leap in his third year in the league, the 24-year-old started the 2020 season on a strong note. Through four games, Carter racked up 14 total tackles (two for loss), a sack, and three quarterback hits.

Giants lose their $4 million rising star

Lorenzo Carter entered Week 5 seeking to add to his sack total against the division-rival Dallas Cowboys. However, the Giants’ rising star suffered a painful setback before he could accomplish that goal.

The athletic linebacker left Sunday’s game with what appeared to be a serious leg injury. On Tuesday, the team confirmed that Carter tore his Achilles and will miss the remainder of the season.

His injury represents a brutal blow to a Giants defense that currently ranks 19th in points allowed. While Golden has provided some spark as a situational pass-rusher, he will have to sustain that level of performance in a more prominent role.

New York’s defense will miss Carter’s rare combination of size, length, and athleticism on the edge. His absence could lead to more poor performances from a team that looks primed to pick early in the 2021 NFL draft.

Expect to see the Giants picking early in the 2021 NFL Draft

Between losing Lorenzo Carter for the rest of the season and falling to 0-5, Giants fans endured a difficult Sunday. And given the team’s issues on both sides of the ball, expect to see New York continue to rack up losses as the season progresses.

If there’s any silver lining, the Giants at least stand an excellent chance at landing the No. 1 pick in the upcoming draft. Currently, New York would pick first, and it certainly does not appear as though Joe Judge’s team will make some sort of miraculous second-half turnaround.

Of course, if the Giants do earn the No. 1 pick, it will force the franchise to consider moving on from Daniel Jones. The second-year quarterback has regressed after a streaky rookie campaign that did little to justify his draft selection.

While Jones has completed 61% of his passes, the former No. 6 overall pick has thrown just two touchdowns compared to five interceptions. He has been sacked 16 times and has actually posted a worse QBR this season (47.1) than he did as a rookie (57.0).

Will the Giants follow in the footsteps of the Washington Football Team and pull the plug on their own disappointing first-round QB? Or will Dave Gettleman survive this season and use the team’s top pick on another position?

Only time will tell, but for now, Giants fans better get familiar with the top prospects who will be available in the 2021 NFL draft.

All contract data courtesy of Spotrac. All statistics courtesy of Pro Football Reference.


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