5 Reasons to believe Daniel Jones will be improved in 2020

Daniel Jones(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Daniel Jones(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /
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Daniel Jones
Andrew Thomas of the NY Giants (Photo by Silas Walker/Getty Images) /

1. Significantly Improved Offensive Line

To say that the offensive line of the NY Giants was awful in 2019 would be a massive understatement. With a porous line in front of him, rookie quarterback Daniel Jones was sacked 38 times in just 12 games as the starting quarterback for the Giants.

The tackle play for the Giants was the most glaring of what was poor play along the offensive line. Mike Remmers and Nate Solder allowed Jones to be sacked 14 times and hit 119 times last season. Many of those sacks and hits ended up resulting in fumbles, attributing to the 18 total fumbles that Jones had last season.

In addition, the play from Jon Halapio left a lot to be desired from the center position, while Kevin Zeitler had a down year from his typical Pro Bowl-caliber play and fellow guard Will Hernandez didn’t show the significant improvement most expected in his second year in the league.

As a result of the poor performance from the offensive line in 2019, general manager Dave Gettleman and the Giants made revamping their offensive line a major priority in the offseason, addressing needs both through free agency and the NFL Draft.

The Giants would add an upgrade at offensive tackle with the fourth overall selection in the 2020 NFL Draft when they selected the former University of Georgia left tackle Andrew Thomas. Thomas was ranked as the best-left tackle prospect in the Draft by most draft experts.

Thomas, while known as an elite run blocker, also represents an anchor in pass protection at the tackle position. He should be able to compete with Nate Solder for the starting left tackle position from day one, offering the Giants a young, powerful, athletic tackle to protect the blindside of Jones.

The Giants were far from done upgrading their offensive line, as they opted to draft the 6’7″ and 320-pound offensive tackle, Matt Peart, out of UConn in the third round of the NFL Draft. Peart is an extremely long, athletic tackle prospect that many experts feel can develop into a franchise right tackle in the NFL.  He will provide competition to potentially start as a rookie at one of the tackle spots.

In the fifth round of the draft, New York again addressed their offensive line when they selected the 6’4″ and 320-pound interior offensive lineman, Shane Lemieux, out of the University of Oregon. Lemieux is expected to compete for the starting center position with Spencer Pulley and Nick Gates and could ultimately serve as depth at any of the interior offensive lineman positions.

Former Dallas Cowboys offensive lineman Cam Fleming was signed in free agency to join former Cowboys coaches Jason Garrett and Marc Colombo who came to the Giants as the new offensive coordinator and offensive line coach in the offseason. Fleming is versatile and is likely to be a valuable veteran depth piece along the line.

The starting offensive line for the Giants is expected to be Andrew Thomas at left tackle, Will Hernandez at left guard, Nick Gates at center, Kevin Zeitler at right guard, and Nate Solder at right tackle, with Peart, Lemieux, Fleming, Pulley, Kyle Murphy, Chad Slade, Eric Smith, Nate Wozniak, and Tyler Haycraft all battling for either starting or depth positions along the line.

Between the NFL Draft and free agency, the New York Giants have put together arguably one of the most talented and deepest offensive lines they’ve fielded in nearly a decade, since Chris Snee, David Diehl, Shaun O’Hara, Will Beatty, Kareem McKenzie, Rich Seubert, and company were lined up in front of a young Eli Manning.

With all of these additions, the offensive line should be much more effective in both run blocking and pass protection than it was last year. It is much younger and more athletic and should be able to provide Jones with better protection. Additionally, the added depth should serve as security in the event that the Giants offensive line is ravaged by injury.

Daniel Jones showed incredible accuracy last season despite not having a lot of time in the pocket. If the upgraded line is able to provide him with better pass protection and additional time in the pocket, he has the skillset to surgically disassemble opposing defenses.