Draft Week: Top OL Candidates

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Let’s take a moment and break down the state of the Giants positions of most need, and select some of the best candidates for each of the Giants needs.  First and foremost, Offensive Line.

It’s no secret that the strength of the New York Giants Offense MUST be the offensive line.  Some teams can get away with winning games with a sub par OL, the Giants aren’t one of them.  Whether it be protection for a reliant pocket passer in Eli Manning or opening holes for the running game, the Giants feed off the fundamentals of a sound OL at every level.

Backup linemen Shawn Andrews, Will Beatty, Kevin Boothe, and Mitch Petrus did well in their roles last year, and across 10 different configurations the Giants were able to harness a consistent approach that kept Eli Manning off his back and retain an adequate ground attack while the starters were out.  In fact, the backups out performed the starters… signs that the aging line that’s become riddled with injuries is no longer the 2008 powerhouse it once was.

Key players Rich Seubert and Shaun O’Hara are coming off two huge injuries that puts their 2011 production into question. While Seubert had a tremendous 2010 season at many levels playing Guard and Center in a backup role, but he was brought down with a serious knee dislocation in the finale against the Redskins.  His status is going to be questionable right up to the 2011 season opener.  34 year old Shaun O’Hara in hindsight should not have played a single snap in 2010 with foot and leg injuries plaguing him all last year… so Center is going to be a huge issue this draft season with nary a seasoned backup available.  Competition should and will be tough for these key positions.

Left Tackle is also a hot button issue – David Deihl stuggles with top tier defensive ends and is a more natural guard.  Will Beatty and Kevin Booth will look to find a larger role with the Giants in 2011, the future of Shawn Andrews with the Giants is not certain, and there should be ample competition for covering Eli Manning’s blind side after this draft.

So to remedy the situation, here are the 5 best prospects for offensive line draft selections