The New York Giants completely rebuilt their offensive line in the 2020 NFL offseason. The team hired Marc Colombo to coach the position group after years of success coaching the Dallas Cowboys’ line. They then signed OT Cameron Fleming as a stop-gat right tackle for the 2020 NFL season. After that, the Giants invested heavily in their future offensive line, spending three draft picks on the line in the 2020 NFL Draft.
New York surprised fans by selecting stud left tackle Andrew Thomas with the fourth pick in the NFL Draft. They then drafted two more offensive linemen in the later round of the draft. But those later picks are not expected to start in 2020. Those selections were made with the long-term in mind. But what does that long-term plan look like? In this article, I will project the future of the New York Giants’ offensive line.
What Does The Line Look Like Now?
- LT – Nate Solder
- LG – Will Hernandez
- C – Spencer Pulley
- RG – Kevin Zeitler
- RT – Andrew Thomas
The rookie offensive tackle Andrew Thomas is going to be in the starting lineup. The question is, on which side of the line will he play? Will they put Andrew Thomas in at left tackle immediately, or leave Nate Solder in the position he already holds? Solder has admitted he is fine with a position switch, so the two tackle positions could be swapped between now and August. But, if I had to guess, the Giants will likely place Thomas on the right side of the line to start his career, then switch him to the left side once Solder’s contract is off the books.
Will Hernandez was the Giants’ second-round pick in 2018 and has looked the part so far. He did take a slight step backward in 2019, but that could have been caused by a multitude of confounding variables, such as an incompetent coaching staff. Entering his third season with a new, talented offensive line coach in Marc Colombo bodes well for Hernandez’s future at guard for the Giants.
The center position is a glaring weakness on the Giants’ roster. There will be a three-way competition for the starting job in 2020. As a default, though, I plugged Spencer Pulley in at the starting center position. He is the only player on the roster with long-term starting experience at the position and is also the only true center on the roster. He has a good chance of winning the competition because of that.
Kevin Zeitler will man the right guard position again. Zeitler is a rock at that position and is as reliable as it gets. He is easily the best offensive lineman on the Giants at the moment and will continue to be in 2020.
What Will The Offensive Line Look Like In The Future?
- LT – Andrew Thomas
- LG – Will Hernandez
- C – Shane Lemieux
- RG – Nick Gates
- RT – Matt Peart
As crazy as it may sound, I genuinely believe Dave Gettleman and the Giants managed to find three future starting offensive linemen in the 2020 NFL Draft class. Andrew Thomas, at a minimum, will be a solid left tackle for years. He is technically sound, played against top-tier collegiate talent, and dominated through all his years at Georgia. The Giants locked down their most important offensive line position for years when they selected Andrew Thomas fourth overall.
On the opposite side of the line, Matt Peart, out of UCONN, was an extraordinary pick at 99 overall in 2020. He will not be ready to start day one, but after some time developing behind the scenes with Marc Colombo, fixing some flaws he possesses, and adding much-needed strength/muscle mass, Peart has the tools to be a starting right tackle in the NFL. He is athletic with very agile feet and already has solid technique. Just a bit of grooming, and he can make an impact as early as next season.
Kevin Zeitler is the best player on the Giants’ offensive line at the moment. But the thirty-year-old guard is only under contract through 2021 and could be pushed out the door sooner than later by the youthful inexpensive options already on the Giants’ roster. Thirty is still relatively young for an offensive lineman, so maybe he sticks around for a second contract with New York, but eventually, he will go, and I think there is a good chance his replacement is already on the roster.
Zeitler’s replacement could be Nick Gates or Shane Lemieux. At the future right guard position, I placed Nick Gates. Nick Gates and Shane Lemieux could end up switching positions, though, with both players being natural guards training to compete for the center position. But I think Gates’s NFL experience at the right guard position gives him the edge. Lemieux is a high-IQ mauler, though, and already understands the importance of positional versatility and will be prepared to move to center if he must.
When looking at the potential of the future offensive line, one trait stands out in particular: youth. These are all young, growing offensive linemen with high ceilings and plenty of work to do to reach their maximum potential. The future of the Giants’ offensive line is in great shape after the 2020 NFL Draft.