The NY Giants’ offensive line remains very much a work in progress, despite selecting offensive tackle Andrew Thomas No. 4 overall and choosing two other offensive linemen in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Inconsistency up front created a barrage of pressure on quarterback Daniel Jones, which played a role in his disappointing regression in his second NFL season. Jones withstood 45 sacks, 56 hurries, 55 quarterback hits, and 156 total pressures.
The NY Giants’ leaky and inconsistent offensive line allowed pressure on 30 percent of Jones’ dropbacks in 2020.
That is simply not sustainable.
Thomas had an up-and-down rookie campaign, surrendering 10 sacks and 57 pressures en route to a 62.4 overall grade from Pro Football Focus. Matt Peart showed moments of promise, but still allowed two sacks in 84 pass-blocking snaps. Meanwhile, Shane Lemieux was dramatically overmatched, finishing his rookie season with a 32.2 overall grade from PFF.
As Pro Football Focus points out, the offensive line might be the biggest need:
"This unit ranked a respectable 12th in rush yards before contact per attempt, but 31st in pressure rate allowed. Note that Daniel Jones didn’t help matters with a below-average time to release. Either way, upgrading from free agent RT Cameron Fleming should be a priority, and this unit as a whole should be prioritized for as long as Jason Garrett remains the (underwhelming) offensive coordinator."
Ahead of the 2021 offseason, the NY Giants have needs along the offensive line, in the front-seven, at wide receiver, and in the secondary that must be filled if this team is going to make significant strides if it is going to return to the postseason for the first time since 2016 and just the second since winning the Super Bowl in 2011.
Here’s a look at five possible targets through free agency and the 2021 NFL Draft that could plug the NY Giants’ holes along the offensive line:
1) Joe Thuney
Joe Thuney is among the premier offensive guards, and as FanSided’s Matt Verderame reports, a reunion with the New England Patriots remains possible.
However, if Thuney shakes loose and hits the open market, the 28-year-old makes a lot of sense for the NY Giants alongside Thomas or at right guard.
As PFF points out, Thuney has allowed just three sacks since 2018, while playing 2,008 pass-blocking snaps. That kind of consistency and veteran leadership could be exactly what the Giants need along the line.
Judge was the Patriots’ special teams coach with Thuney in 2016, and a reunion could make a lot of sense.