A few days ago, I had a very interesting conversation with someone close to the Giants organization who I respect a LOT, which helped me get really clear on this Giants Offensive Line as I think through what I would most like to see in the draft. Let me see if I can walk you through this. First I’ll repeat (from my last blog):
“(the) number one personnel priority going into the offseason, is we need to improve the offensive line.” ~ John Mara (following the 2013 season)
The Giants have a lot of options now on that line. But amongst them, who are the starters we absolutely know are starting? Who are the ones without a lot of question marks next to their name? Who are the ones that we know can be part of a “solid brick wall” to protect Eli?
We are pretty clear that these 3 are starting. Right now, it looks like this from right to left on the line:
Pugh ?TBD? ?TBD? Schwartz Beatty
We also know that one of those 3 has at least one question mark by his name because of his 2013 play (Beatty); but he is expected to be better, so I have him in there.
This leaves the Giants with:
Snee – likely last year before retirement; injured
Herman – TBD; also just had surgery
Jerry – TBD; ‘laziness’, ‘out of shape’ are terms used, also allegedly part of the Incognito bullying crew
Walton – TBD – we know very little
Reynolds – TBD – we know very little
Can’t really have a big fat bunch of TBD at Center…
Brewer – TBD
Moseley – TBD
If they have a TBD next to their name, it means we haven’t seen or heard anything to think they are a starter caliber until they get on the field and show us.
Of these 7, maybe one of these guys can effectively start at one of the open slots (I don’t really care who it is – though I hope it’s Snee). Remember, the idea is to create a wall, so a half-baked OL, does not fulfill the priority for this offseason. Everyone will have to bring it, and compete for a starting spot.
Meanwhile, Pugh is versatile. He can play RT (we know he can play it well), he can play G, and he was even projected to play C as a possibility before his draft.
Another versatile player, Kevin Boothe (G and C), has moved onto the Raiders during free agency.
Picking another versatile guy in the draft at 12, like Zach Martin, who can also play across the line (per Mike Mayock, “the only guy at the Senior Bowl who could play “at a high level” at all five offensive line positions”), is a smart move (and he is a smart player). If the Giants put Martin in at Center, Pugh can stay or move based on the one man amongst those 7 (above) that shows he can start at Guard or Tackle. If Martin comes in and plays RT, Pugh can move to Center or Guard, also depending on who shows they can win that starting open spot in camp for that remaining open starter slot.
Many fans comment that they would not pick Martin so high (he is projected 1-2, and I would say gaining momentum – he won’t be there in the 2nd). I say to that, most expected Pugh to be a 2nd rounder also, and he worked out just fine. In another comment by Mike Mayock, he compares Martin to Pugh, however, he also says Martin is an even “better prospect”.
I personally see this as all very logical when, again, the most important objective is to shore up that Offensive Line, to protect Eli, to make sure there are the blocks needed, and holes created for the runners.
Right now, this makes a lot more sense in my mind than selecting a receiving Tight End (as great a receiver he may be) who cannot yet block well (nor does he seem to realize he needs to put the work in here – Ebron) in the first round. This is not to say that could not work if the Giants decide to go that way. But to me, I think my position is a strong one.
Firming up the OL, creates opportunities for the QB and the specialist to get their job done!