NY Giants Offensive Line Shuffle: Flowers to Guard
by Michael J. Basile
When the 2017 season started, many Giant fans were under the impression that if Ereck Flowers had a breakout campaign at Left Tackle, they would win double-digit games and head back to the playoffs. Little did they know that there would be a plethora of other issues to plague this team. A disastrous 3-13 season proved that Flowers could’ve been an all pro at Left Tackle and the Giants still would be watching TV in January.
So what’s the plan with Flowers? Move him to Right Guard. Keeping him at LT would be a stubborn move, a move that is one of the reasons Reese and McAdoo failed miserably. What about getting rid of him completely? That would certainly be a mistake. He’ll be 24 years old at the start of the season, and he does have something a rookie does not: 3 years of playing experience in the NFL.
Drafting college lineman has proven to be more difficult in modern football because of the way most NCAA programs run their offensive systems. Drafting offensive lineman will certainly be a priority with the new regime of new General Manager, Dave Gettleman and Heach Coach Pat Shurmur. Keeping Flowers in the mix allows the Giants not to have to replace 3/5 of the line.
If the Giants were to discard Flowers and hope to replace 2 starters through the draft, it wouldn’t be easy. Remember, this is someone who was a highly touted prospect, and a first round pick for a reason. His scouting report described him as a big physical run blocker who has trouble in pass protection due to sloppy footwork. Flowers can be productive at RG.
Let’s break him down for a second:
Flowers is outmatched when using a kick back technique. He needs to use this technique against most defensive ends that have high motors and want to get after it every play on the outside and excel at the swim move.
He lunges at the waist. Defensive ends that shoot the inside gap, coming across Flowers face, usually find Flowers lunging to get his hands on him. At this point the Defensive End has inside leverage and clubs Flowers to the inside and breaks back outside on a double move. He is overmatched by speed and stuns.
At Right Guard Flowers will have an opportunity to use his best asset…his strength. Without the open end to worry about, Flowers can brawl inside mauling DT and DE’s. He will also have help from the Center and the Right Tackle. Many Tackles have been moved inside with success (Zack Martin). Clearly Flowers won’t be a worthy first round pick at the draft tackle, but maybe he can be a starter at Guard for several years.
This clears the way to sign/draft additional support. There are a few Tackles and guard options in the draft, and there are 2 big time players in free agency (Nate Solder, Andrew Norwell); Then Gettleman has to focus on resigning Justin Pugh. Trying to replace a RT, RG, LG and LT will be impossible.
Despite everyone blaming the teams struggles on Flowers, with the right development and a change in position he can be a part of the solution.