The New York Giants hired Carmen Bricillo to be their next offensive line coach on Thursday evening, filling an important vacancy on Brian Daboll’s staff. Bricillo will have his hands full attempting to rebuild and develop an offensive line that surrendered 85 sacks this past season (the most by any NFL team since 1990).
Bricillo will fill the same role he held with the Las Vegas Raiders the past two seasons. He led the Raiders’ offensive line to become a top-10 unit according to Pro Football Focus this past season.
Getting the right coach in place was a crucial first step in the process, but the Giants still need to add more talent to their unit before the start of the 2024 season. Three Raiders offensive linemen will be available in free agency this offseason. The Giants could potentially reunite Bricillo with some familiar faces next season.
Bringing a veteran guard back to New York
Greg Van Roten started for the Raiders this season at right guard after spending his last three seasons in the New York area. Van Roten started 23 games for the New York Jets from 2020 to 2021 before appearing in 16 games with the Buffalo Bills (four starts) in 2022.
The 2023 season was a career year for Van Roten. He started all 17 games at right guard for the Raiders, earning a 75.3 overall Pro Football Focus grade, which ranked seventh among all guards in the NFL. Van Roten surrendered only five sacks and 21 pressures this past season.
Bricillo got the most out of Van Roten, a former undrafted free agent who has been in the league bouncing from team to team since 2012. Primarily a backup journeyman throughout his career, Van Roten excelled under Bricillo and may feel motivated to reunite with his offensive line coach in New York next season.
The 33-year-old will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason and could fill a need for the Giants up front. While Big Blue has its starting left tackle and center pinned down (Andrew Thomas and John Michael Schmitz, respectively), the guard positions are open for the taking. Van Roten could potentially compete for one of the Giants’ two starting guard spots next season.
The Giants could add more depth at tackle
The Giants have still not solved their issues at right tackle as Evan Neal continued to struggle in his second season prior to having season-ending surgery. Neal’s right tackle job will likely be open to competition next season as it’s clear that the G-Men can’t simply bank on Neal to take that step forward.
Instead, the Giants could target Raiders offensive tackle Jermaine Eluemunor in free agency to add some competition to the right tackle position. Eluemunor started 14 games for the Raiders last season at right tackle, allowing just six sacks and 28 total pressures en route to a 68.5 overall PFF grade (ranking 35/84 at the tackle position).
Eluemunor is a player who has worked under Bricillo on two separate occasions in his career. Before Bricillo came over to Las Vegas to coach the Raiders in 2022, he was with the New England Patriots from 2019 to 2021. Eluemunor was a member of the Patriots’ offensive line from 2019 to 2020. Maybe Eluemunor and Bricillo will reunite once again this offseason.
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Adding depth to the interior
Another undrafted free agent who started for the Raiders this season was center Andre James. While the Giants don’t really have a need for a new starting center, it wouldn’t hurt to add affordable depth to the interior of their offensive line.
James also had a career year under Bricillo in 2023, earning a 74.6 overall PFF grade after allowing just four sacks and 19 pressures this season. An undrafted free agent in 2019, James has been with the Raiders since the start of his career, going from backup to starter within a few seasons.
This offseason, James will be a free agent, and while he will likely be looking for a starting job somewhere, the Giants could be suitors if the market doesn’t come to fruition. James is the least likely addition of the three Raiders free agents due to John Michael Schmitz’s presence on the roster. However, James could be a potential target as depth or injury insurance.