The New York Giants have dealt with continuous problems along their offensive line. These problems, unfortunately, have lasted years. The Giants’ offensive line made a couple of upgrades in 2018.
New York signed left tackle Nate Solder to a record-breaking contract. The Giants followed that move by drafting a promising offensive guard prospect, Will Hernandez, in the 2nd-round of the 2018 NFL Draft.
These acquisitions were strong steps in the right direction. Unfortunately, the offensive line was still far from completion in 2018. In 2019, however, things have changed.
The Giants completed their offensive line rebuild in the 2019 NFL offseason. A couple of key acquisitions will help make the Giants’ offensive line one of the most improved units in the NFL in 2019 due to improvements in pass-blocking.
Improved Pass Protection
The New York Giants’ offensive line put Eli Manning through the wringer in 2018. Manning was sacked a career-high 47 times last season. Fortunately for Mr. Manning, Dave Gettleman made a trade that will bring that sack total down significantly in 2019.
The Giants traded for Kevin Zeitler this offseason, a guard who will greatly improve the team’s pass-blocking. Kevin Zeitler allowed only 11 total pressures in the entire 2018 NFL season. That is an incredibly impressive number. To put it in perspective, Â Patrick OmamehÂ andÂ Jamon BrownÂ combined to allow 39 pressures in only 14 games last year.
According to Pro Football Focus, Zeitler allowed just three sacks, one hit and seven hurries from 642 pass-blocking snaps in 2018, and his 91.7 pass-blocking grade not only led the leagueâ€™s guards last season, but it was also tied for the ninth-best single-season grade ever recorded by an offensive guard.
Kevin Zeitler and Will Hernandez will form one of the best guard duos in the NFL next season. Zeitler is an established pass-blocking extraordinaire, but Hernandez is also an underrated guard who flashed tons of potential in his 2018 rookie season.
Will Hernandez allowed just 29 pressures from 664 pass-blocking snaps on the year. On top of that, Will Hernandez committed all of two penalties on 1,027Â offensive snaps last year, which is especially impressive for a rookie (PFF).
An underrated player along Big Blue’s offensive line is Jon Halapio. PFF had this to say about Halapio: he began last year as the Giantsâ€™ starter before going down with an injury, but inÂ his 116 snaps, he didnâ€™t allow a single pressure, despite playing almost 50 pass-blocking snaps against theÂ JaguarsÂ and their array of pass-rushing weapons in Week 1.
If Jon Halapio can come back healthy in 2019, he could help bring great improvement to New York’s pass-blocking. Gettleman’s rebuild of the offensive line has been a quick and impressive one.
Solder and Hernandez entering their second season with New York will lead to even better results on the left side of the line. Kevin Zeitler’s excellent pass-blocking will lead to overall improved pass protection. The Giants’ improved pass protection will make their offensive line one of the most improved units in the NFL in 2019.