The Giants didn’t address the offensive line during the draft, but the organization’s brass has faith in the current unit.
Dave Gettleman, Joe Judge, and the rest of the Giants staff involved with the draft process took a number of expected routes this past weekend. Despite moving back nine spots to No. 20 overall in the first round, the organization still drafted a wide receiver (like many thought they probably would) before adding edge rusher and defensive back depth.
But if there was a decision that surprised fans, it was the one the Giants made not to address the offensive line with any of their six total selections. This came in the midst of uncertainty surrounding both the right guard and right tackle positions; the potential starters in those spots may not be legitimate long-term answers.
The Giants could’ve targeted a tackle such as Virginia Tech’s Christian Darrisaw or Oklahoma State’s Teven Jenkins at No. 20 or remained at No. 11 and took Northwestern tackle Rashawn Slater or USC guard/tackle Alijah Vera-Tucker. But of course, that didn’t occur, and the Giants will thus enter the regular season potentially with five starting offensive linemen who were all on the team in 2020.
That may not be a bad thing though, at least from the organization’s point of view. Both Gettleman and Judge are seemingly fine with the situation and believe in the true development of the group.
“We all have to become professionals in our field with what we’re doing. These young kids are talented,” Gettleman said during a Monday appearance on WFAN’s “Moose and Maggie” program. “[Nick] Gates, [Matthew] Peart, [Shane] Lemieux, Andrew [Thomas], they’re talented kids, they gotta play the game. You gotta learn how to play…nobody’s looking for an offensive line that’s good enough. These guys have the ability to be really good and be a really good group…I think this is a young, talented group that I think [offensive line coach] Rob Sale and [assistant offensive line coach] Ben Wilkerson and [consultant] Pat Flaherty are gonna do a great job with.”
Judge additionally spoke Monday on the state of the offensive line, a unit that’ll need to step up to protect quarterback Daniel Jones while assisting in his development.
“I’m very excited about working with the guys on our roster right now, the guys have been working hard and making a lot of grounds mentally,” Judge said on WFAN’s “Carton and Roberts” when asked if he’s confident in the current shape of the line. “Can’t wait to get them back in the building, get working, and really start making some ground. Training camp is when the competition truly starts.
“The answer is: you’re looking to always add talent at any position. There were definitely linemen that we had evaluated as high players in different rounds…every time we were making a pick there was at least one lineman we were discussing at different points, sometimes they get taken a few picks ahead of you but we’re very happy with all the players we have.”
The issue, however, is that while many of these possible starting offensive linemen possess familiarity playing with one another, they will soon already be on their third offensive line coach in two seasons. Former Giants offensive line coach Marc Colombo was fired after an apparent confrontation with Judge last year and Dave DeGuglielmo, his eventual replacement to finish out the 2020 season, accepted the offensive line coaching job at Louisiana Tech in February.
Rob Sale takes the reigns now with a crucial responsibility. The success of the offensive unit will rely heavily on the line, and the 11-man group can’t underproduce and waste another season especially with the new talented weapons on the roster.