New York Giants: It’s time to draft an offensive lineman

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 02: UTEP offensive lineman Will Hernandez (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 02: UTEP offensive lineman Will Hernandez (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

The New York Giants drafted an all-world running back in Saquon Barkley, but it’s now time to address the offensive line.

The New York Giants turned their second overall pick into Saquon Barkley, a running back with superstar potential. While that is all well and good, they still have holes across their offensive line. Will Barkley be able to dominate in the NFL without capable blocking?

Don’t get me wrong, I love the Barkley pick. I think he was the safest pick and will take Big Blue’s offense to the next level, all while helping to extend Eli Manning’s career. But now it’s time to get serious and address the offensive line.

When Jerry Reese drafted Evan Engram last year instead of Ryan Ramczyk, my initial reaction was, “What are we doing?!” Then I justified the pick by saying, “Engram is a solid offensive weapon and we can add offensive linemen in the middle rounds.” Then Reese decided not to address New York’s biggest need until he traded up in the sixth round to select Adam Bisnowaty. I was quickly back to screaming, “What are we doing?!”

Neglecting the offensive line clearly backfired for Reese and it eventually cost him his job. Dave Gettleman needs to make sure he doesn’t make the same mistake.

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Based on Gettleman’s attitude towards building from the trenches out and adding “hog mollies“, I’m fairly confident that the Giants will draft at least one offensive lineman during Day 2 of the NFL Draft. However, after years of watching Manning’s protection get ignored, part of me is scared of what might play out Friday night.

It is time for the New York Giants to draft an offensive lineman. Plain and simple. Luckily for them, there are still a handful of good ones on the board.

Will Hernandez (OG, UTEP) is at the top of my board and appears to be the fan favorite for the No. 34 pick. Hernandez is a powerful guard with a nasty streak and is the definition of “hog mollie”. He would be an excellent consolation prize for those who wanted New York to draft Quenton Nelson.

Connor Williams (OT, Texas) is also available despite many scouts viewing him as a first-round pick. Williams has franchise left tackle potential and would fit in well on the right side of Big Blue’s line. Bleacher Report ranked Williams as their No. 1 offensive tackle and No. 12 overall prospect.

The Giants could also use their second-round pick on James Daniels (C, Iowa). Daniels was expected to be a first-round pick as the draft’s top center but is still available after Frank Ragnow and Billy Price went ahead of him. Daniels could also play guard in the NFL.

If New York waits until the third round to address their offensive line (or doubles down with two offensive linemen), there are quality options there as well.

There is a trio of offensive tackles who could fall to the early part of the third round. Tyrell Crosby (OT, Oregon), Brian O’Neill (OT, Pittsburgh), and Jamarco Jones (OT, Ohio State) would all be solid right tackle options with the ability to play left tackle if necessary. If the Giants add a tackle like Williams in the second round, Braden Smith (OG, Auburn) could come into play in the third. Smith is a powerful people mover who could develop into a solid starting guard.

There’s risk of ending up with another Ereck Flowers, but Orlando Brown (OT, Oklahoma) could be worth taking a chance on if he falls to the third or even fourth round. Brown lacks athleticism but he knows how to use his size to his advantage and could be a mauling right tackle or guard.

Other names to keep an eye out for are Martinas Rankin (C, Mississippi State), Chukwuma Okorafor (OT, Western Michigan), Austin Corbett (OG, Nevada), Desmond Harrison (OT, West Georgia), Wyatt Teller (OG, Virginia Tech), Geron Christian (OT, Louisville), and Joseph Noteboom (OT, TCU).

Next: 25 prospects to watch on Day 2 of the NFL Draft

Regardless of who it is, the New York Giants have to add at least one offensive lineman on Friday night, if not two. Drafting the flashy playmaker in Saquon Barkley is great. But now it’s time to go to work and finally fix this offensive line.