New York Giants: Is the Giants OL Good Enough?
By Michael Stewart
Before the NFL draft, many experts and mock drafts had the Giants selecting either (OT) Ronnie Stanley out of Notre Dame or (OT) Jack Conklin out of Michigan State, since GM Jerry Reese didn’t sign any big named free agent offensive linemen as well. Obviously, both were selected before the Giants turn and they ended up taking CB Eli Apple with the 10th overall pick.
So where does this leave the New York Giants entering the 2016-17 season on the offensive line? Last year’s 1st rd. selection Ereck Flowers will anchor the LT position entering his 2nd season. Weston Richburg will handle the center position after a solid 2015 season; and Justin Pugh will resume his spot at the RG position for the 2nd straight year.
All three shown promise and production to give the Giants three young OL to build around. That leaves two spots on the offensive line that many believe to be the Giants weakest links: (LG) John Jerry and (RT) Marshall Newhouse. What can the Giants expect from these two players entering the 2016 season? Last season the Giants ranked near the bottom of the league in rushing and that needs to change. The running backs should carry some of the blame, but mainly the offensive line failed miserably.
The lack of talent puts too much pressure on the Giants passing game and although Eli Manning probably saw his best season (stats wise) in 2015, he would have gladly given that up for an opportunity to be a playoff team. The Giants do have possible replacements in house in (OT/OG) Bobby Hart, (OT) Byron Stingily, (OC) Dillon Farrell and (OG/C) Brett Jones.
Bobby Hart was drafted in the 7th round in the 2015 draft out of Florida State. Although he mostly played LT in college, many believe that he could eventually transition to OG in the NFL due to his excellent run blocking ability. If so, he could see more time at OG and possibly replacing current starter John Jerry before the end of the season.
Byron Stingily was signed as a free agent with very little press, however; he could be a sleeper that might push Newhouse out the door. Stingily is versatile as a pass blocker as well as a solid run blocker.
Dillon Farrell has a ton of grit and is a perfect depth lineman that will provide needed production from the bench. His primary position is center, however; with Richburg anchored at that position, expect to see Farrell see a lot more snaps at the OG as well.
Brett Jones was signed before the 2015 season out of the Canadian League where he was arguably the best OL in the league. He can play three positions on the line (RG, LG, and C) which is a major plus for the Giants as he can be a valuable rotational OL and see more reps as the season progresses.
Final Thoughts: Unless an OL of supreme talent gets cut during training camp, don’t expect the New York Giants to make any major moves to improve the OL. They still have plenty of cap space to make such a move, but highly unlikely they will. I believe the Giants offensive line will be better than they were last season, but not by much if Jerry and Newhouse remain as part of the starting 5.
If the Giants expect to be more competitive this season, they must find a way to run the ball better and that starts with the offensive line.