While Eli Manning may be punching a wall somewhere at the moment, the rest of New York Giants faithful are likely ecstatic by the efforts the front office has put into rebuilding the offensive line this offseason, following years of almost forcefully ignoring the issue.
The Giants didn’t make the free agency splash many expected when they entered the period with an abundance of cap space, although the addition of swing tackle Cam Fleming certainly adds depth.
However, their draft haul across the offensive line has quickly turned heads, and evidently changed the view of the position group as a whole in NFL circles.
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Giants O-Line Improved Exponentially
Free agency and the NFL Draft are officially in the books, and teams’ rosters are quickly taking shape for the 2020 season.
Pro Football Focus decided to take this time to examine which units/position groups around the league have improved the most since the conclusion of last year, and the Giants’ offensive line found themselves ranked within the top-10.
THE NEW YORK GIANTS OFFENSIVE LINE All of New York’s improvements made to its offensive line came in the NFL Draft when they took three offensive linemen within the first five rounds.
Firstly, they picked up Andrew Thomas with the fourth overall pick. Thomas is going to provide an immediate upgrade at tackle; he has all the physical tools you want at the position, and his production against the toughest conference in college football was near-perfect. He produced a 92.5 overall grade at Georgia in 2019 — third in the FBS — and he was a top-10 pass-protector and run-blocker.
After Thomas, New York grabbed tackle Matt Peart in Round 3, and if he can add some strength to his 6-foot-7 frame, he can become a quality starter in the NFL. He’s produced pass-blocking grades above 75.0 in all four seasons as a starter for UConn, with 2019 (86.0 pass-blocking grade and 90.3 run-blocking grade) being his best year to date.
Then in Round 5, the Giants picked up interior offensive lineman Shane Lemieux out of Oregon. Lemieux has a lot to work on in pass protection, but he is feisty in the running game. His 84.3 PFF run-blocking grade over the last two years ranks fourth among the 486 offensive guards who played at least 500 run-blocking snaps over that span.
Thomas might be the only one who will make an impact from Day 1, but Peart and Lemieux are great pickups and could become valuable additions down the road.
Giants Draft Class Will Have Lasting Effects
New York went all-in on protecting Daniel Jones during April’s draft, shocking many by snagging Andrew Thomas out of Georgia with the 4th-overall pick. Big Blue then came back around in the 3rd-round and nabbed Uconn’s Matt Peart, who while raw, is oozing with upside. Lastly, they drafted versatile interior lineman Shane Lemieux for good measure with their 5th-round selection.
All-in-all, the G-Men came away with three potential long-term starters across their offensive line, something that is likely music to the ears of quarterback Daniel Jones. The former Duke Blue Devil led the NFL in fumbles a season ago with 18. While a plethora of them were solely on Jones’ plate, Big Blue’s o-line did allow the 3rd-most QB hits in all of football in 2019, including 43 total sacks.
The additions that the Giants have made across their line should help improve those numbers across the board in 2020 and well beyond.
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