Giants’ o-line has a lot to prove
In 2020 the New York Giants’ offensive line had a rough start to their season but got better as the weeks went on.
The Giants of course have some questions heading into this season. The biggest is whether or not second year left tackle Andrew Thomas will be the player that New York need him to be in order to protect the blind side of starting quarterback Daniel Jones on a consistent basis. Thomas let up some sacks early on last season but was stout against pass rushers within the final weeks of the season.
The Giants also need left guard Will Hernandez to improve or play well enough for their offense to move the ball down the field. But the biggest question on the interior of the line is at right guard where Kevin Zeitler played last season, but is no longer with the organization after being released this offseason.
Steve Palazzolo of Pro Football Focus has ranked every offensive line in the NFL and has the Giants ranked 32nd, bottom of the league. Here’s a portion of what he wrote:
Giants offensive linemen have combined to produce the fifth-worst overall grade in the league over the past two years, and they rank in the bottom eight in both pass blocking and run blocking.
Starting left tackle Nate Solder opted out in 2020, which hurt the team’s depth up front. First-rounder Andrew Thomas started at left tackle and struggled to a 62.4 overall grade. His 54.7 pass-blocking grade also ranked just 82nd out of 89 qualifiers. Solder is currently in the mix to start at right tackle, a position he hasn’t played since his rookie year in 2011. In his two years in New York, Solder has posted a solid 75.7 grade and a career-low 64.9 mark. He could be a cap casualty before the season.
Matt Peart, a 2020 third-rounder, is competing at right tackle after grading out at 69.7 overall on 150 snaps as a rookie. Peart enjoyed a good career at UConn and is young at the position, so he has starting potential at some point.
On the interior, Nick Gates returns after moving to center for the first time in his career in 2020. He managed just a 59.7 grade, though, ranking 29th among centers. Guard is wide open, with several players battling for the two starting spots. Will Hernandez is a three-year starter at left guard, although he hasn’t graded over 60.0 since his rookie season. Shane Lemieux played 504 snaps there last year and struggled to a 32.2 overall grade. Zach Fulton is also in the mix after recording a 63.0 overall grade last season, ranking 44th among 86 qualifying guards.
I’m not sure if it’s fair to rank the Giants’ line as being the worst in the NFL given how well they played at the end of the last season. But they did lose Zeitler and we don’t know how they will play as a young unit in 2021.
Want to write about the Giants? Contact us today!