Often times skill-position players grab the headlines and attention from the media while other positions go under the radar. For the New York Giants, most will identify the loss of Odell Beckham Jr. and Olivier Vernon but hit on the acquisition of Golden Tate and Oshane Ximines/Markus Golden.
However, the most influential add of the offseason was undoubtedly right guard, Kevin Zeitler. Brought over in the Cleveland Browns trade that sent Vernon packing, Zeitler will be impactful in all facets of the offense.
The New York Giants brought in the perfect player at right tackle:
A top 6 guard in 2018, according to PFF, the “hog molly” brings exactly what GM Dave Gettleman intended to the Giants. His physicality and ability to move defensive lineman at the line of scrimmage will not only benefit Eli Manning in pass-protection, but it will open up the gates of heaven for Saquon Barkley.
Barkley, who racked up over 2,000 all-purpose yards in his rookie campaign behind a lackluster offensive line, will reap the benefits of a rebuilt offensive front, especially on the right side with Zieler and Mike Remmers.
Coined the best pass-blocking guard in the NFL last year, Manning now has a quality of protection he hasn’t enjoyed in years. The days of Ereck Flowers and Bobby Hart are over and a new era has just begun.
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In addition to the former Brown, the Giants added Nate Solder at left tackle and Will Hernandez at left guard, two players capable of a Pro Bowl quality seasons. The biggest factor on the line, though, is health. They have to maintain their bodies to ensure they can compete at a high level for the entire season, giving Manning the ability to work with his entire offense and not plug-and-play lineman.
I anticipate Zeitler will have a very apparent influence on the season ahead, considering the impact of Jamon Brown in 2018. Considering Brown ranked as the 62nd overall guard (PFF), we can only imagine the benefits Zeitler will bring to the team.