This past season, the New York Giants had their first losing season, 7-9 record, since 2004-2005. One way the Giants can have a winning record next season is by revamping their offensive line.
Last season, the Giants finished second in the NFC East, behind the 10-6 Washington Redskins, with a record of 9-7. Running back Ahmad Bradshaw signed with the Indianapolis Colts during the off-season, but there was a lot of optimism surrounding the Giants.
However, the Giants struggled for the majority of the season. One of the reasons why they struggled so much was the poor play of the offensive line.
In order for an offense to excel in the NFL, they need to be able to pass and run the football efficiently. The Giants’ offensive line made it tough for quarterback Eli Manning and the offense to succeed.
Manning had trouble driving the offense down the field because of the offensive line’s poor protection.
The Giants’ offensive line ranked 19th in pass protection with an adjusted sack rate, “sacks (plus intentional grounding penalties) per pass attempt adjusted for down, distance, and opponent,” of 7.5 percent, according to footballoutsiders.com. This contributed to Manning throwing only 18 touchdowns against 27 interceptions, losing four fumbles and defenses sacking him 39 times.
It is tough for Manning to effectively lead the offense down the field when the offensive line is unable to protect him. Manning was not the only Giant to have a terrible season because of the offensive line.
The running attack, led by David Wilson and Andre Brown, struggled because of the offensive line’s poor run blocking.
In order for running backs to excel, they need to be able to find running lanes. The Giants ranked 31st in stuffed rank, “percentage of runs where the running back is tackled at or behind the line of scrimmage,” according to footballoutsiders.com.
It is tough to find running lanes when the offensive linemen have trouble preventing defenders from reaching the backfield. The best way to fix an offense that finished 28th in scoring is to improve the offensive line.
The two ways the Giants can improve the offensive line is through free agency or the 2014 NFL Draft.
There are three free agent offensive tackles that rank inside nfltraderumors.co top 20 projected free agent class. The offensive tackles are Oakland Raiders‘ Jared Veldheer, Baltimore Ravens‘ Eugene Monroe and Kansas City Chiefs‘ Branden Albert.
Veldheer and Monroe are 27-years-old; while Albert is 29-years-old.
Albert was selected to the 2014 Pro Bowl, so he could improve the Giants’ offensive line. If the Giants do not want to sign an offensive lineman in free agency, then they could draft one.
The Giants will have the 12th pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. CBSSports.com is projecting that six offensive linemen will be drafted in the first round.
In the Monday’s CBSSports.com NFL Mock Draft, Rob Rang has the Giants drafting Texas A&M Junior offensive tackle Cedric Ogbuehi:
Protecting Eli Manning should be priority No. 1 in New York and given the way the Giants’ offensive line has played this season it wouldn’t be surprising if general manager Jerry Reese invested multiple picks in reinforcements. Ogbuehi doesn’t get the national attention of his teammate, Matthews, but his long arms and light feet gives the junior a higher upside in the minds of some scouts.”
Ogbuehi is a 6 feet 5 inches and weighs 300 pounds. He is listed on CBSSports.com as the fifth-best offensive lineman.
The Giants will have plenty of options to upgrade their weak offensive line. If they want to have a winning record next season, they need to upgrade their offensive line through free agency or the 2014 NFL Draft.