Giants Criticized for Offseason Plan at Key Position: ‘Did Very Little’

Giants' offensive line still ranked dead last after offseason additions.

Getty The New York Giants took some flak for their lack of urgency at an area of need.

The New York Giants doubled down on three former premium draft picks this offseason when they elected to roll with Andrew Thomas, John Michael Schmitz and Evan Neal as three out of the five starters on the offensive line. And they’re catching some flak for it already.

On May 13, Pro Football Focus analyst John Kosko revealed a dead last ranking for Big Blue in the O-line department ahead of the 2024 campaign.

“Even after earning the worst offensive line grade of any team in 2023, the Giants did very little to improve their unit this offseason,” Kosko explained. “The group recorded a 44.6 PFF grade last year and will hope a fully healthy Andrew Thomas and the additions of guard Jon Runyan (56.5 PFF grade in 2023) and tackle Jermaine Eluemunor (68.7) can provide a boost.”

To be fair, no team would even consider replacing Thomas — one of the best left tackles in the NFL when healthy — and Schmitz is only entering year two. It’s the lack of urgency beyond those two that has mystified most analysts and fans.

Neal’s best PFF grade all-time is a 51.1 as a run blocker in 2023. Looking at overall grades, he’s failed to earn better than a 44.1 over his first two seasons.

It’s hard to give up on a top-10 selection after two years, but Neal’s performance made a legitimate case for a reboot at the position ahead of free agency and the draft. The Giants seemingly disagreed, never seriously pushing the Alabama product at right tackle.

General manager Joe Schoen also neglected to select a single OL prospect in the draft despite serious depth concerns within the blocking unit. Instead, NYG practically called it a day after bringing in two new starting-caliber guards — one of which has tackle flexibility — and several unspectacular backups.

Will a Healthy Andrew Thomas Stabilize Giants OL?

Offensive line play is generally chemistry-based. If one or two anchors can stabilize a unit, the rest of the group should have an easier time finding their footing.

Unfortunately, Thomas struggled with injury early on in 2023, leaving New York without their anchor.

In the end, the top-tier left tackle started 10 games and received a PFF grade of 76.1. He was charged with four sacks allowed over 376 pass blocking snaps — which yielded the worst efficiency rating since his rookie season.

It’s becoming blatantly obvious that for the Giants offensive line to make serious strides, Thomas must regain his 2023 form. Behind him, Schoen has put together the makings of a solid interior trio.

If Schmitz follows Thomas’ career trajectory in year two rather than Neal’s, this unit could be better than expected. Neither Runyan nor Eluemunor is a game-changer, but both can be solid cogs with stable pieces like Thomas and Schmitz in between them.

Neal is the one true wildcard in the starting five. And if he falters once again, who’s the insurance policy behind him?

Giants’ OL Depth Is Worrisome Heading Into Crucial Season

PFF likely wanted the Giants to bulk up on starter-worthy talent on the offensive line — giving them six or seven options for the first-team OL. In all honesty though, they did not.

Veterans Matt Nelson, Aaron Stinnie and Austin Schlottmann were the main veteran signings after Runyan and Eluemunor. The only rookie additions were UDFAs Marcellus Johnson and Jake Kubas.

The Giants also roster a collection of former draft picks and journeyman pickups, including Marcus McKethan, Joshua Ezeudu, Yodny Cajuste, Joshua Miles, Jalen Mayfield and Jimmy Morrissey.

That’s a whole lot of beef, but how much experience do these 11 reserves bring to the table? Altogether, this group of nine vets and two rookies combine for 77 NFL starts.

And newcomers Nelson, Stinnie and Schlottmann make up the large majority of that starting experience. The Giants will likely need a few of these players to step up in order for their OL to be successful in 2024.

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