Taking a look at the New York Giants‘ offensive line and what the starting unit could look like:
The priority going into the 2020 off-season was to solve the everlasting puzzle on the offensive line. General manager Dave Gettleman was adamant that they would solve the line once and for all, and they undoubtedly allocated the assets toward that goal. The Giants spent three draft picks on bolstering the unit, selecting Georgia left tackle Andrew Thomas, UConn tackle Matt Peart, and Oregon guard Shane Lemieux.
With the insertion of more quality talent and depth, we can expect the line will be more prepared for the upcoming season than ever before. In 2019, the Giants were concerned that Mike Remmers would miss a fair share of the season, as a previous back surgery significantly limited his preseason activity. Nonetheless, Remmers played adequately and proved to be capable in his first year with Big Blue. However, drafting Thomas inevitably moves Nate Solder over to the right side.
When you invest a top-five pick on an offensive lineman, they must be utilized correctly right out of the gate. Allowing Thomas and quarterback Daniel Jones to develop chemistry is essential, meaning Solder must be moved to another position and will likely compete at right tackle. I anticipate this will be his final season, as his dead cap hit will only be $6.5 million in 2021, making him a cut option. If the Giants keep him for the duration of his contract, they will be on the hook for $20.5 million.
The Giants seem to have confidence in third-round pick Matt Peart, who has the tangible traits to develop into a starter and emerge as a quality player at right tackle. If the Giants were able to land both starting tackles in one draft, it will have been considered a home run, more so than it already is.
Here is a look at the projected starting offense of line for 2020:
LT: Andrew Thomas
LG: Will Hernandez
C: Nick Gates
RG: Kevin Zeitler
RT: Nate Solder
At first glance, this is a solid unit with plenty of potential. Undrafted free agent from 2019, Nick Gates, has the skill set to move inside and lock down a position that has been problematic for the Giants in recent years. They can no longer rely on John Halapio or Spencer Pulley to lock down the middle of the line. Zeitler was the team’s highest-rated player on offense in 2019, and his consistency is a necessity for the Giants moving forward. Solder is ultimately the biggest question mark, Having only played right tackle in his rookie season in 2011.
I expect Will Hernandez, a second-round pick for 2018, to take a significant step forward with Solder moving over to the right side — being wedged in-between two inadequate players has hurt Hernandezâ€™s ability to develop and play at the level we know he can. With Thomas and Gates slotted in, Hernandez should be considered a breakout candidate for next season.