2012 NFL Draft: OFFENSIVE LINE

Wonder evaluates the OL.  These guys may not get the press, but astute football fans know that the game is won and lost in the trenches. 

The Giants OL has been neglected.  Very solid coaching by Pat Flaherty held this unit together despite the losses of Seubert and O’Hara last year.  Baas is underwhelming, as his run blocking weakness put more pressure on Eli to bail out the team consistently.  Beatty was serviceable until getting hurt, so he remains a question mark.  Snee played hurt, showed some signs of age and was not dominant they way he used to be.  Snee plays with an awful amount of pride, so I look forward to him bouncing back with a great year, assuming whatever nagging injuries he played with are behind him.  McKenzie took the end of plays off, and exposed Eli to unnecessary pressures and hits.  Diehl gets criticism but his versatility and durability enable the Giants to continually compete.  Probably my favorite lineman is a sub, Mitch Petrus.  I rooted for Baas to stay out so that we could see the Petrus-Boothe rotation, where the Giants would run the ball much more effectively.  How much of this was due to Baas playing hurt?  I do not know.  Flaherty is the star, as he held it together with plenty of moving parts.

Now it is Reese’s turn to draft some good Offensive Linemen.  As in two.  And all else equal, I’d prefer Tackles.  The good news is that because this draft is not top heavy, there is enough middle of the road value to pick up some slabs of meat to protect Eli and make some holes for the RBs.  Wonder sees a handful of guys for the Giants, including a late rounder Tackle named Josh Oglesby.  Then there are Kelechi Osemele and Amini Silatolu, two Guards who the Giants should “run to the podium” to take at the end of R3.  A la Oglesby, Brandon Brooks is a Guard who you can develop into a starter, this one in R4.   

All in all, there are ~23 potential starters in this draft.  Considering there are 160 starting linemen in the NFL, that is about right.  (Separately, remember that Guards and Centers are not drafted as agressively, hence you can get a starter with more ease from this group at a later point in the draft than other positions of need.)

OL is meat and potatoes, but if the Giants can get it right, it will make them a terrific offense.  Eli has elevated his game to such a high level.. combine that with a running game and protection and he is going to be difficult to deal with.  Investing in good OLmen isn’t sexy but it will make the Giants offense hum.

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