Giants’ underrated offensive lineman stepping up in big moments

new york giants, jon feliciano
Jan 8, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; New York Giants guard Jon Feliciano (76) against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

When discussing the Giants‘ offensive line, Andrew Thomas is the first name that pops up. Thomas has been lights out this season, particularly late in the year, after going through a rough stretch while dealing with the flu.

Thomas finished the Wild Card against Minnesota Vikings, allowing zero pressure over 46 pass-blocking snaps, but one of the more unheralded linemen, Jon Feliciano, deserves equal praise.

Surprisingly, Feliciano has coined a Pro Bowl alternate this year, despite putting together an up-and-down first half of the season. However, after a Week 14 performance against the Philadelphia Eagles, he’s picked things up significantly.

The New York Giants are getting a ton of value out of Jon Feliciano:

In fact, Feliciano has given up just two pressures over his last four games combined, enjoying 46 pass-blocking snaps against Minnesota as well, giving up zero pressures. By most accounts, he’s been excellent, serving as the Giants’ starting center, getting better as the season has progressed. General manager Joe Schoen signed Feliciano to a one-year contract paying him a measly $1.15 million in base salary with a $2.9 million cap hit.

For a starter playing excellent ball late in the season, that is an absolute steal of a contract and one the Giants may look to renew moving forward. His communication in the trenches and chemistry with quarterback Daniel Jones stands out, and he also brings a mean streak that can’t be forgotten. Feliciano comes to the aid of his teammates and has continuously improved week in and week out after the team’s BYE.

At the beginning of the season, most fans saw center as a position of weakness. With Nick Gates returning, there was a legitimate conversation to be had that he should transition back to his natural position. However, Gates has assisted at the left guard spot, and Feliciano has been excellent at center, which certainly wasn’t expected.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Schoen retained Feliciano beyond the 2022 season and kept their current offensive line structure from center to left tackle. Andrew Thomas, Ben Bredeson, and Feliciano seem to be building chemistry at an adequate pace, and given how cheap two of the three options are currently, there’s no reason to break them up now.

The right side of the line will remain similar as well. Evan Neal has struggled as a rookie but has the physical tools and work ethic to improve drastically in his sophomore season. Mark Glowinski has been inconsistent at times but has performed well in his last two starts.

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