The New York Giants added depth and made some significant upgrades to their roster this off-season, but there’s still one position that’s a major concern heading into this upcoming season: left tackle.
After a decent rookie season, Ereck Flowers struggled mightily in 2016. He was called for nine holding penalties, and four false starts. In addition the Giants would often have to have a tight end or running back to help Flowers against quick edge rushers.
The Giants cannot enter the 2017 season having left tackle still be an issue for them and expect to go far. It’s time to move Ereck Flowers to either right tackle or guard so the Giants can get someone else to play left tackle.
Question is who will the Giants get to play left tackle?
The two likely scenarios is that the Giants draft Wisconsin’s left tackle Ryan Ramczyk or trade for another Badger alum, Joe Thomas of the Cleveland Browns.
It was widely reported during the middle of last season that the Giants inquired with the Cleveland Browns on what it would take to acquire Thomas. In fact one of the reports were that if the Giants were willing to trade a second record pick in this year’s draft the Browns would have been willing to give up Thomas.
As we all know the trade never materialized, but things might be different this time around if the Giants and Browns revisited the trade.
The Giants have aspirations of winning the Super Bowl this season, the Browns are trying to avoid finishing last in the AFC North for the seventh year in a row, and want to acquire as many draft picks as possible so that they can be contenders down the road.
The Browns have two first round picks in this year’s draft and (number 1&12) and two picks in the second round (33rd and 52nd). So in order for the Browns to even be remotely interested in parting ways with the 32 year old Thomas, the Giants would have to offer their first round pick.
Some may consider giving up a first round pick to acquire Thomas would be mortgaging the Giants future. But in actuality it would just be maximizing on the present.
The Giants are a great left tackle away from being the overwhelming favorites to win the NFC. So giving up a first round pick for a chance to win your fifth Lombardi Trophy is more than a reasonable price.
Thomas is a 10 time Pro Bowler who still has at least three more Pro Bowl caliber seasons in him. With him protecting Eli Manning’s blindside he’ll have the time he needs to connect with Odell Beckham Jr., Brandon Marshall, and Sterling Shepard.
If Thomas is the Giants left tackle, there’s no doubt that they’ll be one of the highest scoring teams in the league.
The downside of going after Thomas is that his has an 11.5 million dollar cap hit this season. Which is why for financial and long term reasons, it would serve them best to draft Ramczyk.
Ramczyk is considered to be the best left tackle in this year’s draft. He was named First Team All-Big Ten and Associated Press All-American.
At 6’6 310 pounds, he has the ideal size that you want for a left tackle. His size and athleticism has already drawn comparisons to San Francisco 49er left tackle Joe Staley.
The only concern about Ramczyk is that he had hip surgery, which is why he was only able to compete in the bench press at the NFL combine. But all signs point to him being a full participant when the Giants have their mandatory minicamp from June 13th to the 15.
If he plays up to what he’s projected to do, then the Giants will have found their long term solution for left tackle.
With the draft less than two weeks away, general manager Jerry Reese will have to decide quickly on who he wants to play left tackle this season. Either trade for the proven veteran who’s one of the best in the league, or draft the rookie who has tons of potential.