With New York Giants veteran quarterback Eli Manning still at the helm, the question of who to address – the offensive line or pass rush – should be easy. The immobile passer requires a steady line to efficiently run the offense, as he’s seen his confidence take a dip due to lack of protection.
In 2018, new general manager Dave Gettleman appropriated resources toward the offensive line, signing Nate Solder, Patrick Omameh, and drafting Will Hernandez. Omameh ended up being the odd-man out, failing to make an impact on an upgraded line. Both Solder and Hernandez proved to adjust well to the Giants’ offense.
The New York Giants need to upgrade right tackle:
I would anticipate that a right tackle is drafted or signed in free agency to help bolster the right side of the line. If Gettleman and successfully improve the unit, Manning could finally have enough time to progress through his reads. But, it seems as if 2019 will be Eli’s final season, which makes having a good line even more of a priority.
Allowing a young quarterback to start with good protection will only help his confidence build – look what happened to Josh Rosen with the worst ranked OL in the league last season. He threw three more INTs (14) than touchdowns (11).
But is the offensive line more important than the pass rush at this point?
You could make the argument that the Giants’ pass rush needs significant help, after a season where they recorded 30 sacks, ranking 31st in the NFL. If the Giants are in a position to grab a solid O-lineman or D-lineman in the second round, they should go with the offensive side of the ball.
Defensive coordinator James Bettcher uses the linebackers as blitzers more than most, which makes the significance of an edge-rusher much less valuable. He likes his interior lineman to also have a pass-rush ability, and with B.J. Hill and Dalvin Tomlinson manning the nose-tackle position, he doesn’t need too much help on the line. Additionally, Olivier Vernon missed a solid portion of the season but managed to make the Pro Bowl with seven sacks and 30 tackles in 11 games.
It’s possible the Giants go after a pass-rusher in free agency, but I expect them to retain Vernon for the remainder of his contract instead of cutting him. He has an out this year that would cost the Giants $8 million in dead-cap if he were cut, which is far too much to give up. They would only retain $11.5 million of the $19.5 he is scheduled to make in 2019.
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