Most New York Giants fans understand the simple concept that Daniel Jones needs protection if he wants to utilize all the weapons the front office provided him with this off-season.
Having a 6’4” WR1 in Kenny Golladay on the outside and a speedster like John Ross won’t matter if he doesn’t have time in the pocket to find them on the break of their routes. Taking it one step further, running back Saquon Barkley won’t have the proper running lanes to utilize if his men up front don’t get the job done in their power gap scheme.
It is no secret the Giants are considering drafting an offensive lineman in the first or second round of the 2021 NFL draft, in fact, it would probably be in their best interest. However, there are only a few options worth considering with the 11th overall pack, including Penei Sewell of Oregon and Rashawn Slater out of Northwestern.
Options like Christian Darrisaw and Alijah Vera-Tucker might just be out of contention at 11, but in a trade-back scenario, they could very well be in the mix. Despite the obvious need for a big man upfront, the Giants have an odd sense of confidence in their offensive line, with Andrew Thomas at left tackle, Will Hernandez at left guard, Nick Gates at center, and a rotation of Matt Peart and Nate Solder at right tackle. With the departure of Kevin Zeitler, there is a massive void at right guard, the position they need to fill in the draft. It is hard to imagine Shane Lemieux is considered a starting-caliber player after his performance in 2020.
According to PFF, LeMieux had the worst blocking grade out of any lineman in the NFL, allowing five sacks and 14 hurries over 504 snaps. He played nearly all of his 504 snaps on the left side of the line, so transitioning him to the right side after struggling considerably in 2020 with only spell trouble.
Otherwise, the Giants and general manager Dave Gettleman believe the rest of their starters can hold it down with the acquisition of playmakers who will force defenses to allocate more attention to the secondary. Playing primarily cover-1/0 last year, teams were allowed to send extra blitzers with confidence their corners could hold up in man coverage, which they did. The return of Saquon and additions of Golladay and Ross won’t allow that, so management has an argument to make that their line was simply overwhelmed due to inadequate threats on offense.
That doesn’t avoid the problem at right guard, and there are plenty of plug-and-play starters in the second round that could be considered. In fact, I believe that would be the most efficient choice of action.