Best five guys could come from the existing roster.
With the upcoming draft class not exactly overflowing with plug-and-play, Day 1 offensive line starters, the New York Giants might veer off in a different direction when it comes to finding the right five guys to serve as quarterback Eli Manning’s personal protectors.
Certain to have starting jobs are left guard Justin Pugh and center Weston Richburg, the latter of whom admitted during Thursday’s media session that he played last season with torn ligaments in his snapping hand.
Another guy who is certain to have a starting job, though at what position remains to be seen, is Ereck Flowers, the team’s left tackle since being drafted ninth overall in 2015.
As for the rest of the line, the Giants have Bobby Hart, John Jerry, D.J. Fluker, Adam Gettis and Brett Jones as candidates who will likely get some snaps throughout the spring and summer as head coach Ben McAdoo and his staff try to find the right combination.
The key to finding that right combination most likely lies with Flowers, the team leader in the last two years in penalties and a guy who has a big bull’s eye on his back after finishing his second straight rocky season last year.
Flowers has been hard at working he team’s weight room to put himself into a position where he gets stronger and gains better movement in his lower body and his bend. The Giants would like very much to see him turn the corner given that after this season, they will need to decide whether to pick up the option year on his rookie deal.
Fluker, selected 11th overall in the 2013 draft, the same class as Pugh, didn’t pan out with the Chargers, who released him this offseason.
The Giants scooped him up on a one-year “prove it” deal, with hopes that Fluker flourishes in their offense after four forgettable years with the Chargers.
“D.J. is going to come in and battle for a position just like everyone else on the squad and hopefully the change of address and just a new scene for him will re-energize him,” Reese said. “I know he wants to prove that he is still a number one type talent and we are looking forward to giving him the opportunity.”
Where Fluker will get that opportunity is still to be determined.
“Yeah, coming out, we thought he could play both (guard and tackle),” Reese said. “We thought that he had some versatility. I think he is going to get an opportunity. Coach McAdoo will make the decision of where he plays, but we think he has some versatility to play guard or tackle.”
Fluker’s versatility may in fact allow the Giants to have options regarding Flowers, who was originally supposed to start is pro career as the team’s right tackle until injuries forced him to jump into the deep end over on the left side before he might have been ready.
“Again, it is spring and it is a long time before we play,” Reese said when asked about the plan for Flowers.
“In the spring, we will experiment with different lineups and situations with our offensive line, so it is a long way to go. That is to be determined later by Ben and the coaching staff, but we will tinker with a lot of things in the spring.”
He also didn’t rule out drafting an offensive line prospect, though it would be hard to see the Giants making such a move in the first round.
Instead, they could look to Day 2 or Day 3 to add a prospect that can take some time to make the transition to the pro level. Players such as Antonio Garcia (Troy), Justin Senior (Mississippi State) and Collin Buchanan (Miami, OH) are all possibilities.
“We feel like we can use help anywhere, at any position,” Reese said. “We just want to create a lot of competition at every position going into the training camp, so we are going to try to upgrade at every position like we always do and offensive line is definitely a spot that we would like to upgrade as well.”
Next: Possible offensive line configurations based on the Giants’ current roster.
Based on the current players on the roster, here is a look at just a few of the possible offensive line combinations that could take the field for the Giants this spring/summer:
|Left Tackle||Left Guard||Center||Right Guard||Right Tackle|