Dion Lewis, Levine Toilolo, and Nate Ebner weren’t exactly high-profile Giants’ signings in the offseason.
All of them embody the blue-collar, no-nonsense approach expected from new Giants’ head coach and former Bill Belichick disciple Joe Judge.
Take care of the little things, and the big things take care of themselves.
Remember this trio and how many times you hear their names from September through December and possibly beyond. They can make the plays that won’t always be mentioned or appear on a statsheet.
They all can play pivotal roles in shaping the team’s success this fall. Each of them are seasoned vets who should fill a necessary void.
If he stays healthy and consistent, Lewis can be one of the true steals for 2020. He played a perfect backup role to league workhorse Derrick Henry, as he tallied 54 carries and caught 25 passes. The Giants signed the 29-year-old at a guaranteed basement bargain price of $225,000.
Lewis’ efficiency dropped the past two seasons since his last season with New England in 2017 — a career- high 896 yards — but the Giants simply need him as a breather to Saquon Barkley in the backfield and in the flat. If Barkley is bothered by another injury this season, Henry has the pedigree to carry the workload. An excellent blocker, Lewis is the alternate lead back the team has been seeking for quite some time after Paul Perkins, Jonathan Stewart, and Wayne Gallman all fizzled.
Toilolo may have gone more unnoticed than Lewis. The former Lions and 49ers massive 6-foot-8, 270-pound tight end inked a two-year deal and easily can fill the spot of retired tight end Rhett Ellison.
With Evan Engram healthy again – cross your fingers – Toilolo’s role will be strictly for blocking purposes to ignite Barkley and the rest of the Giants’ running game. He was rated the number one blocking tight end as a member of the Lions’ in 2018 by Pro Football Focus, but he only had a minor role with the 49ers last year.
The 28-year-old also has excelled at pass protection and he can be insurance for left tackle Nate Solder, who had yet to find a solid niche there with the Giants.
Ebner is the most profound link to Judge. Since 2012, Ebner was a mainstay on the Patriots’ special teams and certainly was a key in his role to the teams’ three most recent Super Bowl championships. The former rugby player was a true Belichick find who really didn’t have a position even though he can play safety.
The 31-year-old is a special-teams grinder who recorded 98 tackles in the category. His presence can further advance a unit that was ranked seventh overall in the league last season.
Lewis, Toilolo, and Ebner may not garner major headlines in 2020, but each will do the little things to help the Giants take a step up from the depths of a 4-12 campaign in 2019.