The NY Giants have invested a lot in Saquon Barkley and Daniel Jones and it should help dictate the Giants 2020 first-round pick.
The NY Giants’ offensive line has been a problem for a long time now. You can argue that Big Blue hasn’t had a stable unit along the offensive line since the 2012 season. This issue often hurt Eli Manning and last year despite an excellent rookie year it plagued Daniel Jones.
Both quarterbacks have felt the pressure of opposing defenses and it’s had a major effect on their play.
Last year we saw the offensive line issues have a negative effect on Saquon Barkley in the run game, as he was forced to dance behind the line of scrimmage to look for holes far too often.
The offensive line’s struggles can be directly linked to some of Jones’ fumbling issues. The GMEN have made Jones and Barkley the faces of the franchise – using top-six picks on both – and backing up those investments could move the needle from taking Isaiah Simmons to drafting an offensive tackle.
The NY Giants surely have a ton of other holes to fill besides offensive line, but it’s likely the development of Daniel Jones will the deciding factor.
After another terrible year from Nate Solder and without many other promising options at offensive tackle and center, the NY Giants will need to address these positions in the draft. One could make the argument center might even be a bigger need, although the prospect of young, versatile lineman, Nick Gates, switching over to the pivot position could pay major dividends.
Whether the NY Giants trade down or stay at the 4th pick, it appears if they go offensive line the options will be plenty. Tristan Wirfs, Jedrick Wills Jr, Andrew Thomas, and Mekhi Becton have emerged as the top targets, with Houston’s Josh Jones being a potential dark horse should the team trade back, as well.
Becton’s stock could take a hit after a failed drug test at the NFL combine.
Recent rumors have heavily linked Wills Jr to the NY Giants, wth Vegas books listing him as the current favorite on draft day. The major question with Wills will be whether or not he can play left tackle, as his value takes a bit of a hit if he can only play the right side. The same thing goes for Iowa’s Tristan Wirfs, although he did spend a few games playing left tackle in college.
Andrew Thomas remains a strong possibility as he had the best tape out of the group, although he seems more likely should a trade down happen.
General Manager Dave Gettleman has recently made it seem that trading down is a possibility, and made pointed comments about this offensive line class being very deep. If the Giants do trade down, I don’t expect it to be a huge trade down as they wouldn’t want to miss out on one of the aforementioned top prospects.
Many quality offensive linemen are available in the first round, but expect them to go off the board quickly. If the Giants attempt to wait until #36 to address offensive tackle, they could be in a situation where they are taking the 7th or 8th ‘best’ tackle in the class which is not ideal.
The NY Giants’ defense is lacking any sort of elite playmaker at the moment after failing to find one in the past few drafts, so it’s worth noting that passing on Isaiah Simmons should the team not be able to trade back will be difficult.
It’s really a tough decision for Gettleman, although he is the one that has put us in this situation after failing to fix the offensive line or pass-rushing issues since he has taken over.
The Cowboys have enjoyed success by surrounding Dak Prescott and Zeke Elliott with an elite offensive line, and the Patriots did the same for years with Tom Brady. New England also heavily relied on great offensive line coaching, which the NY Giants sure hope they have now in Marc Colombo and Jason Garrett.
The Chiefs and Ravens have also tried to provide their young quarterbacks with stability on the offensive line and it has led to both players winning NFL MVP awards.
Nate Solder, who signed a mega-contract with the NY Giants in 2018, allowed 11 sacks last season according to Pro Football Focus. This was the second most in the NFL. He also allowed 57 pressures, most in the NFL. Will Hernandez regressed in his second season, and the fact that he’s been Gettleman’s only big draft investment along the offensive line means the team will likely be forced to invest further tonight.
The NY Giants will hope for a bounce back from both players, but even if they get it, they still don’t have any young talent outside of Hernandez which isn’t great during a rebuild. Kevin Zeitler is as solid as they come and still in his prime, so really, the team has just 2/5 spots filled in a meaningful way, and that’s being generous to Hernandez who hasn’t proven he can be a long-time starter yet.
At the end of the day, the fact that the team has invested so much into Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley means it makes the most sense to fortify the offensive line and, in turn, potentially give the Giants a terrific offense.
At least then the team would be moving in the right direction on one side of the ball and would be able to score points, as we’ve seen many teams in recent years neglect defense to a certain degree and still be able to win with a solid offense.
So while drafting Isaiah Simmons is going to be enticing, the best move tonight for the future will be finally fixing the offensive line.