Leonard Williams will make his Giants debut on the biggest of stages: a Monday Night Football game against the team's biggest rival in the Dallas Cowboys.
The Giants, who gave up a third-round pick and fifth-rounder (can turn into a fourth if they extend him), are hoping to find some untapped potential in the 25-year-old Williams. That's exactly why GM Dave Gettleman sparked a trade with the Jets, and they're optimistic enough to reportedly begin contract extension talks before Thanksgiving.
But let's not get ahead of ourselves. Williams obviously wants to start this next chapter in his career on a high note, and to get on Giants fans' good side, there's no better matchup for him than the one he'll see Monday night.
The Cowboys offense is currently the best in the NFL, averaging 437.9 yards a game. And a lot of those yards come in the run game, where Dallas is averaging 146 yards per game thanks to mostly Ezekiel Elliott's production (86 yards per game/six touchdowns).
But that's where Williams can come in and make an immediate impact. Since 2016, Williams has been one of the best interior linemen in the league against the run, with 97 run stops that ranks him third along with Vikings DL Linval Joseph. He is also only second to All-Pro Aaron Donald, arguably the best defensive player in the NFL, with 38.7 percent of his run tackles going for a loss or no gain.
Fans may want him to get to Dak Prescott when he drops back -- that would be his first sack of the season if he does -- but stopping Dallas' run game stymies a lot of what offensive coordinator Kellen Moore wants to do. The Cowboys thrive off their play action that allows receivers like Amari Cooper work their defenders and get open for those big chunk plays. Prescott has seen tremendous success on those types of plays, but if the Giants are stopping the run, those play action schemes shouldn't fool the Giants too much.
Currently, the Giants rank 23rd in rush defense, but they were able to limit Elliott in their first matchup back in Week 1. He had just 53 yards on 13 carries and one catch for 10 yards. However, we must note that came after he just returned to the Cowboys following his holdout in the preseason.
Williams, though, saw him with the Jets during their upset win at MetLife Stadium back in Week 6. He did have 105 yards on the ground, but on 28 carries which is a 3.75 yard per carry average. Imagine Williams now with a better defensive front in Dexter Lawrence, B.J. Hill and Dalvin Tomlinson working alongside him instead of the Jets' line.
The Giants want to tap into Williams' pass-rushing abilities, of course. Getting those sack totals and quarterback pressures up would see him live up to that sixth overall selection by the Jets back in 2015. But, for this matchup, Williams stopping Elliott in the backfield and getting Giants fans pumped up would be a great first impression.