For The Giants, Who Will Protect Eli Manning?

Twitter can be a very useful place to get lots of information in a short amount of time. It can also be entertaining, like it was Tuesday evening when ESPN NFC East blogger Dan Graziano tweeted his reaction to the news that the New York Giants would be releasing starting center Shaun O'Hara, starting guard Rich Seubert and sometimes starting tackle/guard Shawn Andrews.

Graziano wrote:

I know Giants fans say I'm nuts and Reese knows what he's doing, but... he knows they need five offensive linemen, right?

Well, yes, Reese knows the rules. And yes, the Giants do currently have enough offensive linemen on the roster to put five guys in front of quarterback Eli Manning. And hey, reports are that they will re-sign veteran backup Kevin Boothe. Right now the starting offensive line would look something like this:

LT -- David Diehl or Will Beatty; LG -- Diehl or Mitch Petrus; C -- Adam Koets or ... well, your guess is as good as mine; RG -- Chris Snee; RT -- Kareem McKenzie

Hard to imagine that Reese and his staff are not working diligently to try and supplement that group, especially at the center position. Tough to envision the Giants entrusting the center spot to Koets, a five-year veteran with all of six starts under his belt. There can, however, be little doubt that the time had come for changes to a group of proud, veteran offensive linemen. Reality is we knew a season ago that the unit was on borrowed time.

Unfortunately, the market for veteran centers appears to be thin. It is possible, though seemingly not likely, that the Giants could bring O'Hara back on a lesser contract. More likely, though, the Giants will have to wade through a not-so-great market to find somebody.

Pro Football Talk just came out Tuesday with its list of the top 80 free agents. There is not one center on the list. Walter Football has a full list of available centers, and the name that leaps off the page is Arizona's Lyle Sendlein, a 27-year-old four-year veteran who has started every game the past three seasons for the Cardinals. Pro Football Focus does not see Sendlein as anything special, having graded him only +0.7 in 2010 and -0.5 in 2009.

Another option could be Scott Mruczkowski of the San Diego Chargers, who we discussed a couple of weeks ago.

Mruczkowski is a six-year veteran who can play center and guard, and who played well in 13 starts at center during the 2009 season, earning a +13.6 grade from PFF. If he is looking for a chance to start the Giants are, obviously, a good fit.

There are several free agent guard on Pro Football Talk's list of its top 80 free agents. Among the best could be Harvey Dahl of Atlanta (+14.4 by PFF in 2010) and Justin Blalock, also of Atlanta, who was +9.4 a season ago.

No matter what the Giants do, though, the line is going to have a vastly different look than the one the Giants have started the last several seasons with.

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