Giants Sign Robert Ayers
Ayers played 514 snaps for Denver a year ago as a rotational player whose strength is defending the run. New York lost Justin Tuck in free agency and now adds Ayers to go along with Jason Pierre-Paul, Mathias Kiwanuka and youngster Damontre Moore.
It’s not a dynamic signing by any stretch as Ayers doesn’t provide much in the quarterback pressure department. Last season, Ayers posted 23 tackles, six assists and a career-high 5.5 sacks for the AFC Champion Broncos. Ayers gives the Giants another body on the defensive line where depth is essential through the 16-game regular season.
Last year, Ayers graded out as the 14th-best 4-3 defensive end sandwiched in between 2013 Seahawks Red Bryant and Cliff Avril. Ayers was very strong against the run with a +11.1 grade, which was good for ninth at his position. He posted a +0.7 in the pass rush department.
The former first round pick will need to play more snaps in New York to become relevant in fantasy football IDP leagues. Last season he ranked as the 71st defensive linemen but with more snaps his tackle numbers would rise considerably.
He’s only 28 years old. Kiwanuka is getting older at age 31 and just took a pay cut to remain with the Giants. Moore played minimal snaps last year as a rookie and Pierre-Paul missed the final portion of the season due to injury. If there’s an opportunity for more snaps, Ayers could produce for fantasy owners. However, at this point he’s just a player to watch.
Even with the signing of Ayers the Giants could still improve the defensive end position this offseason. Pressuring the quarterback is second only to quarterback play in the modern, pass-happy NFL.
Editor’s Note: Be sure to check out our new Mock and Companion Draft Tool! Utilizing our updated player projections, run a quick mock draft and see where this year’s crop of free agents are coming off the board in early fantasy football drafts.
Nate Hodges is a lead writer for PFF Fantasy and radio host for Tennessee Sports Radio (Saturdays at noon eastern). Listen at TNsportsradio.com. His work can also be found at TopTierFootball.com. You can follow him on Twitter – @NateNFL