The New York Giants have consistently had one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL for years. In recency, the team has put an emphasis on rebuilding the trenches. That all began in 2018. That offseason, the Giants signed offensive tackle Nate Solder. While that move has not proven to be the best, it was still the first shift towards rebuilding the offensive line.
Later that offseason, the Giants landed another key offensive lineman. In the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft, the Giants selected offensive guard Will Hernandez out of UTEP. Over the past two years, Hernandez has showed promise, but he has struggled to develop into the player he was expected to be.
Will Hernandez’s Promising Rookie Season
Will Hernandez had a promising rookie season. Many believed Hernandez would be off the board in round one, but the Giants were lucky enough to land him in the second. He definitely looked like a first-round prospect as a rookie.
According to Pro Football Focus, Will Hernandez, in 2018, ended eight of his 16 games with a pass-blocking grade over 70.0, and he allowed just 29 pressures from 664 pass-blocking snaps on the year. On 1,027 offensive snaps in 2018, Hernandez committed only two penalties, an impressive feat as a rookie.
A Shaky Sophomore Season
Also according to Pro Football Focus, Will Hernandez was actually a pretty good pass-blocker in 2019. But he struggled immensely as a run-blocker. His PFF pass-blocking grade was a 72.5, while his run-blocking grade was a 45.7. His overall grade was 58.4 as the second-year player out of UTEP played 1068 snaps in 2019.
Hernandez allowed only 2 sacks in 2019 on 728 pass-blocking snaps. That is down from the 5 sacks he allowed in 2018, but his overall grading was much better in his rookie season. As a rookie, Hernandez was still better as a pass-blocker than he was as a run-blocker. His pass-blocking grade in 2018 was 73.1 while his run-blocking grade was 62.9. Overall, his grade was 67.9.
Will Hernandez was not a liability on the Giants’ offensive line last year and he was far from the biggest problem on the line. Much of his struggles could be attributed to his surroundings. Hernandez was sandwiched between an offensive tackle (Nate Solder) that allowed 56 pressures and a center that struggled the entire season.
The Giants have seemingly upgraded at both left tackle and center entering 2020. This could allow Will Hernandez to return to his 2018 form and maybe even surpass that rookie performance. Additionally, the Giants have a new, talented offensive line coach to help Will Hernandez Develop. Marc Colombo did wonders with the Dallas Cowboys’ offensive line while he was there, and he will likely help the Giants’ offensive line improve in 2020.