Giants’ assistant GM explains lack of offensive line upgrades in NFL Draft

New York Giants assistant general manager Brandon Brown talks to reporters after the first day of mandatory minicamp at the Giants training center in East Rutherford on Tuesday, June 13, 2023. Credit:Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com / USA TODAY NETWORK
Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com / USA TODAY NETWORK

The New York Giants were the only team in the NFL that did not spend a single draft pick on either an offensive lineman or defensive lineman during the 2024 NFL Draft. Despite the team’s needs at both positional units, they opted to rely on free agency and forewent the opportunity to add young talent through the draft.

Giants assistant GM Brandon Brown explains the lack of offensive line upgrades in the NFL Draft

New York Giants assistant general manager Brandon Brown talks to reporters after the first day of mandatory minicamp at the Giants training center in East Rutherford on Tuesday, June 13, 2023.
New York Giants assistant general manager Brandon Brown talks to reporters after the first day of mandatory minicamp at the Giants training center in East Rutherford on Tuesday, June 13, 2023. Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com / USA TODAY NETWORK Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com / USA TODAY NETWORK

Assistant general manager Brandon Brown met with the media at OTAs on Thursday morning and provided an explanation for the Giants’ lack of offensive line upgrades in the draft:

“BRANDON BROWN: When you talk about forecasting and projecting, we do that across the board, whether it’s in February going into free agency, going into the draft, you know what the landscape looks like,” Brown told reporters (h/t Giants.com). “We knew there were going to be opportunities in free agency to bolster the O-line. You look at adding (Jon) Runyan and (Jermaine) Eluemunor, guys that have been healthy, available. There’s some familiarity there, obviously Carm Bricillo being here, coming over from Vegas, having time with Jermaine.

“Where we were in the Draft, the positions we took, we felt great about those guys being contributors for us this year. Knowing we addressed certain things via the Draft, the way things lined up just from resource allocation, we’re really excited with what we came away with.”

Instead of investing in the trenches, the Giants spent most of their draft capital on skill position players. They took three offensive playmakers (WR Malik Nabers, TE Theo Johnson, and RB Tyrone Tracy Jr.) and two defensive backs (CB Andru Phillips and S Tyler Nubin). They did, however, address the offensive line in free agency, as Brown pointed out.

The Giants bolstered their offensive line in free agency

nfl: las vegas raiders at pittsburgh steelers, jermaine eluemunor, new york giants
Dec 24, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Las Vegas Raiders guard Jermaine Eluemunor (72) prepares to block at the line of scrimmage against Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt (90) during the first quarter at Acrisure Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Throughout the 2023 season, the Giants suffered through poor offensive line play, largely caused by a severe influx of injuries to the position group. They had a revolving door at both guard spots, played without their elite left tackle for much of the season, and sustained injuries to both the center and right tackle positions, too.

Needless to say, the Giants needed some reliable veterans to add to the lineup. They addressed that need in free agency, bringing in Jermaine Eluemunor and Jon Runyan. Between those two veterans are a combined 95 career starts. They provide plenty of experience to an otherwise youthful group.

The Giants’ offensive line still has room for improvement, but it is a developmental position. Rookies rarely make an instant impact and typically need time to grow before they become capable starters. Drafting more rookie linemen would not have solved the Giants’ problems in the trenches this offseason. However, their free-agent acquisition should immediately improve the unit.

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