Why the NY Giants’ rebuild is further along than the Jets’

NY Giants vs NY Jets(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
NY Giants vs NY Jets(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) /
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NY Giants
NY Giants vs NY Jets(Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images). /

Offensive Line

To say the NY Giants and NY Jets offensive lines were atrocious in 2019 would be a wild understatement. According to PFF, the Giants offensive line ranked 25th overall in the National Football league and gave up 43 sacks in 2019. Meanwhile, the Jets were even worse, ranking 31st overall and giving up 53 quarterback sacks.

Both teams worked hard to address what was clearly a glaring need in the offseason. The Giants spent a lot of draft capital on their offensive line, selecting tackles Andrew Thomas with the fourth overall selection and Matt Peart in the third round, and selecting guard Shane Lemieux in the fifth round. They also added former Dallas Cowboys lineman Cameron Fleming in free agency.

The Jets opted to add both through the draft and free agency. They used their first pick, the 11th overall, to select tackle Mekhi Becton and their fourth-round selection to draft another tackle, Cameron Clark. The team was active in free agency signing guard Greg Van Roten, formerly of the Panthers, center Connor McGovern from the Denver Broncos, former Seahawks tackle George Fant and former Indianapolis Colts center, Josh Andrews.

As a result, both teams look to have drastically improved the status of their offensive lines on paper. Doing so was critical to assure that they provided much-needed protection of their young franchise quarterbacks and to open holes for their electric running backs.

The Giants are expected to start Andrew Thomas and Nate Solder at the tackle positions, with former second-round pick Will Hernandez and Pro Bowler Kevin Zeitler manning the guard positions and Nick Gates as the center. They will have Matt Peart, Shane Lemieux, Spencer Pulley, Cam Fleming, Chad Slade, Nate Wozniak, Eric Smith, and Kyle Murphy battling for depth positions.

Meanwhile, the Jets are anticipating that Mekhi Becton and Chuma Edoga will start at tackle, Alex Lewis and Brian Winters will start at guard, and Connor McGovern will start at the center position. George Fant, Cameron Clark, Jonotthan Harrison, Ben Braden, Greg Van Roten, Conor McDermott, Leo Kolomatangi, Josh Andrews, Jared Hilbers, Brad Lundblade, and James Murray will compete for depth positions on the offensive line for Gang Green.

Advantage: Draw

Both teams seem to have done an excellent job of shoring up the gaping holes on their offensive line. The additions of first-round picks Thomas and Becton should give both teams their franchise left tackles to protect the blindsides of their quarterbacks.

The Giants have an excellent guard duo in Hernandez and Zeitler, despite underperforming last season. Winters and Lewis provide the Jets with a more than serviceable tandem at that position that should provide solid pass protection while opening holes for the running game.

McGovern was an excellent pickup for Gang Green at the center position and was someone I advocated for the NY Giants to sign repeatedly.

Big Blue does have two young center candidates in Gates and Lemieux who are strong and athletic. Between the two of them, they should have someone emerge as a solid contributor.

Both teams have excellent young talent and a lot more depth than in previous years to help them through any potential injuries. As a result, I expect both offensive lines to be vastly improved both in 2020 and in the foreseeable future. Which line is better will likely depend on which team sees their rookie additions get acclimated to the pro game quicker.