Thursday, April 25, 2013

New York Giants Draft Preview: Offensive Line

Jim O'Connor/US Presswire

By Kenneth Teape (@teapester725)

The NFL Draft is quickly approaching, as we get closer to the primetime opening round April 25th.  This will be the fifth part in a series where I will discuss the current and needs for the upcoming NFL Draft for the Giants.

The fifth position I will take a look at is offensive line.

Currently the Giants have Will Beatty, David Diehl, James Brewer, Brandon Mosley, Matt McCants and Selvish Capers at tackle, Kevin Boothe, Chris Snee, Stephen Goodin, Chris DeGeare, Michael Jasper and Bryan Browning at guard, David Baas and Jim Cordle at center and Levy Adcock as offensive line.  The only player from last year’s offensive line to not be back is tackle Sean Locklear.

Last year the Giants offensive line was actually quite successful.  They were able to move up to 14th in the NFL in rushing at 1862 yards, 435 than the previous season.  They were also protected Manning well, surrendering only 20 sacks, least in the NFL and down from 28 the previous season; this was all done with injuries causing the line to be shuffled constantly throughout the season.

Injuries have been a problem for the Giants along the offensive line for quite some time, as they have averaged 16 different offensive line combinations over the last four seasons; it is actually amazing they have been able to do what they have been with no continuity being there for that long.

This offseason Jerry Reese made sure to have some stability on the offensive line by re-signing Beatty and Boothe to shore up the left side.  Diehl agreed to a pay cut so that he could stick around with Big Blue this season.  Right tackle will be the position to watch in training camp as the Giants will have to decide between the incumbent Diehl and the up-and-comer Brewer, who would be starting for the first time in his career on a consistent basis.

Cordle gives the Giants some flexibility along the line as he can play center or guard, but beyond the top seven things get a little shaky.  Progress being shown by Mosley or McCants would be a lift to the Giants as the second year players will have an expanded role with the team this season.  Last season Reese added Locklear and it proved to be a great pickup, but he is recovering from knee surgery at the end of last season; if in a pinch Reese could turn to him.

Last season was the last time the Giants drafted an offensive lineman, getting Mosley in the fourth round and McCants in the sixth.  They could look to add to the line in the draft this year though, as Boothe and Diehl are on one-year contracts and Snee and Baas are coming off surgeries.  The age of the Giants line is starting to get up there also, so an infusion of some youth would go a long way.

A stud offensive lineman to go along with Beatty for the future would be a great addition for the Giants.  Top guards Chance Warmack of Alabama and Jonathan Cooper of North Carolina will most likely be gone in the top 12 picks but either would be great additions to the team.

If D.J. Fluker is there at 19 when the Giants pick he will most likely be their pick.  They really like him but there is a chance that he may not be around either as he seems to be moving up team’s draft boards.  Oklahoma tackle Lance Johnson is another player that would fit well with the Giants but most likely will not be around at 19.

Offensive line may provide Reese with the best value at 19 but if there is not one there that they like they will look to add an offensive lineman later in the draft.  Some names to keep an eye on Ohio State tackle Reid Fragel, tackle Vinston Painter of Virginia Tech or Michigan guard Patrick Omameh as they are all on the Giants radar and have visited.

On a scale of 1-10 the Giants need for offensive line is high with an 8. When Reese is letting it known there are players at a position he is looking at you know it is something of importance for the Giants.

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