1. Will Beatty
Honestly, any of the top three guys on this list could have been put in any order, as none of them were so outstanding at the tackle position during the past decade that they warranted the top position. Beatty received the top position on this list simply due to the fact that he actually manned the position for more than a year or two. In fact, only he and Ereck Flowers are the only two to start five or more games at the tackle position for more than two seasons for the NY Giants last decade.
Beatty, the second-round pick of the Giants out of UConn in 2009, managed to start ten or more games at tackle from 2011-2014. However, his tenure with the Giants would be marred with significant injuries.
In 2010, Beatty was expected to be the starting left tackle for New York, however, he began the season as an extra tight end and special teams contributor. In the first game of the season, Beatty would injure his foot and would be sidelined for eight weeks.
He would return from injury in 2011 and win the starting left tackle position. Beatty would start ten games at left tackle for the Giants playing well at the position for those starts. However, he would be hit in the eye against the Philadelphia Eagles and would suffer a detached retina that would require surgery and cause him to miss the remainder of the season.
Beatty would begin 2012 as a backup tackle and an extra tight end. However, David Diehl would suffer an injury in the second game of the season, forcing Beatty to become the starting left tackle. PFF would grade Beatty as the second-best left tackle in the NFC and fifth-best overall for 2012. As a result of his solid performance, he would sign a 5-year $38.75 million contract extension with the NY Giants in the offseason.
In 2013, Beatty would start every game of the season, performing solidly throughout the year for the Giants. However, he would suffer a broken leg during the final game of the season against the Washington Redskins.
Despite concerns that the broken leg would cause him to miss time, Beatty would not require any additional time to recover and would start all 16 games at left tackle in 2014. He would spend half of the year as PFF’s top-graded left tackle but would suffer a bit of a drop off as the year progressed, finishing the year as PFF’s 11th best-left tackle.
Beatty was slated to begin 2015 as the starting left tackle for the Giants, with 2015 first-round draft pick Ereck Flowers starting at right tackle. Flowers was seen as a great run blocking tackle who needed a lot of work at pass blocking, so he would be best served to learn at the right tackle position. The Giants felt like they had a solid tandem at both tackles that would solidify their line for years to come.
However, prior to the start of the 2015 season, Beatty would suffer a torn pectoral muscle and would miss the entire 2015 season. As a result, Flowers was forced to move immediately to left tackle with Justin Pugh moving to right tackle. The deficiencies of Flowers in pass protection would be immediately exposed and he would not ever be able to develop them enough to be a viable option at tackle for the Giants.
Beatty would suffer a torn rotator cuff while rehabbing his torn pectoral and would be released by the NY Giants before the 2016 season. In many ways, the injuries to Beatty derailed any chances the Giants had of having a cohesive offensive line.
Had he been able to remain healthy and maintain his superb play at left tackle, Flowers may have been able to develop at right tackle with Justin Pugh and John Jerry manning the guard positions and Weston Richburg at center, forming a formidable line. Instead, Flowers was unable to develop and the Giants were forced to piecemeal the line together, with disastrous results.
While Beatty’s career was significantly hindered by injury, he still remains the best player to man the tackle position for the New York Giants in the past decade. This serves more as an indictment on the abilities of Jerry Reese and Dave Gettleman to find adequate solutions at tackle than it does a ringing endorsement of Beatty’s play.