The one position the Giants 100% need to avoid selecting in the 1st round

New York Giants general manager Joe Schoen speaks during a press conference during the NFL Scouting Combine at Indiana Convention Center
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants have a few big decisions to make in the 2024 NFL draft, especially regarding the potential acquisition of a quarterback to build around. Of course, the Giants may miss out on a passer and have to pivot to a blue-chip wide receiver prospect, which certainly isn’t a bad consolation prize.

However, if there’s any position the Giants need to avoid selecting in the first round, it is offensive tackle. Yes, the Giants had the worst-ranked protecting line in football last season, but it was not because of a failure to allocate resources toward the unit but rather the failure to develop talent.

For example, the film 23-year-old tackle Evan Neal put on display during his time at Alabama is entirely different than what the Giants have seen over the past two seasons under the leadership of Bobby Johnson. Now, the Giants have a new offensive line coach in Carmen Bricillo, and he has had tremendous success developing young players and experienced commodities. In fact, the Raiders had the 13th-rank passing unit last season and the 14th-ranked run-blocking line.

The Giants Are Hoping to Replicate the Raider’s Success

Consider this: only one of the Raiders’ starting line was a first-round pick, with two of them being undrafted free agents and several mid-round to late selections. The Giants currently have two first-round picks and a second-round pick on the starting unit, so it is unprecedented to consider how little growth and development some of them have made over the past year.

The perfect example of growth and maximizing potential is veteran Greg Van Roten, a formally undrafted player who only gave up 21 pressures over 1,025 snaps last season. If you ask any Jets fan, they will tell you that Van Roten was one of the worst offensive guards they had seen on their offensive line two years ago. Still, Bricillo managed to extract maximum value from a player who was disregarded by every other team and is now 34 years old.

The Giants allocated a nice chunk of change this season to Jon Runyan and Jermaine Eluemunor, two players who should start instantly in 2024. Eluemunor will compete for the starting tackle position, but he has the versatility to play right guard as well, opening up the Giants’ equation for diversity.

Runyan was previously an above-average pass-protecting left guard, but the Green Bay Packers moved him to right guard so they could slot Elgton Jenkins into the strongest position. The Giants will move Runyan back to his strongest spot, and they should get more value than they bargained for on the free-agent market because of that transition.

The Giants Need to Allocate Their 1st Round Pick to Other Offensive Positions

The reason the Giant shouldn’t be taking a chance on Joe Alt or any of the top offensive linemen is that there is a need to develop the talent on the roster and not continue throwing valuable draft selections at the same exact position with hopes of turning things around.

Bricillo is known for his coaching and leadership, so the Giants will lean on those variables instead of investing in offensive tackle when they desperately need to reinforce the receiver position or find a long-term franchise quarterback.

It is also important to mention that the offensive tackle prospects in the 1st round are predominantly left tackles, and the Giants are trying to fill the right tackle spot with an above-average starter. Eluemunor could be a great plug-in play option coming off a solid season with the Raiders, so they may already have a solution on the roster. Forcing a rookie to change positions in their first year seems like malpractice, and the Giants likely won’t go in that direction.

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