The New York Giants’ offensive line is deeper than ever before

Alexander Wilson
New York Giants, Nate Solder, Jon Halapio, Mike Remmers
EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY – NOVEMBER 04: Jon Halapio #75, Will Hernandez #71, and Nate Solder #76 of the New York Giants look on during second half of the game against the Dallas Cowboys at MetLife Stadium on November 04, 2019 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

The priority this off-season for the New York Giants was to finally solve the complicated puzzle that has been the offensive line. Protecting Daniel Jones and opening running lanes for Saquon Barkley is essential for the offense to succeed and play at an elevated level. General manager Dave Gettleman finally invested in the protection of his two most influential draft picks. Ensuring Barkley and Jones have everything they need to succeed should and is the focus for the Giants.

In 2019, Jones endured poor offensive line play which resulted in him being sacked 38 times. Lowering that number and allowing him more time in the pocket is essential for his future production, and taking a step forward in 2020 is the ultimate goal. His statistical output last season was quite good for a rookie who wasn’t expected to play at all with Eli Manning starting week one. Manning was quickly moved to the bench in favor of Jones, who emerged victorious the next two games but failed to string together a winning season.

The 2019 line consisted of:

LT: Nate Solder

LG: Will Hernandez

C: Jon Halapio

RG: Kevin Zeitler

RT: Mike Remmers

This unit ranked as one of the worst in the league, with Solder giving up 11 sacks, ranking second-worst in the category.

Overhauling this section was a requirement this off-season, and the Giants spent the fourth overall pick on Georgia tackle Andrew Thomas. This move subsequently moves Solder over to the right side, where he will compete with Nick Gates and Cam Fleming for the starting position. Paying nearly $20 million for a fringe starter is problematic, but his dead-cap lowers to $6.5 million in 2021, indicating he will likely be let go.

However, adding Thomas alone does not attest to the overhauling of the unit, which is why the New York Giants spent more draft picks to ensure depth at essential positions. In the third round, Big Blue selected Matt Peart out of UConn, who has fantastic tangible skills and the potential to emerge as a starter in the future. In the fifth round, they drafted Oregon guard Shane Lemieux, who has the upside to play center as well. Developing him over the next few months will hopefully see him adapt to different positions and give the Giants another quality guard to work with.

“Versatility is the biggest factor in this game,” Lemieux said, per the NY Post. “Coaches want to be able to put you in multiple spots. I have really good mentors that told me that at training camp, no matter where you are, they are going to throw you in, and you have to be ready. I just want to be prepared before that happened.”

Last season, the Giants only had Nick Gates as their preferred depth piece, but with the added draft capital to the position and signing free agent Cam Fleming, they have plenty of players to work with and move around in case of injury. Hopefully, this will allow them to solidify the offensive front and protect Daniel Jones adequately.