New York Giants' Positional Reviews: Offensive line

Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE

A look at the performance of the Giants' offensive line in 2012 with an eye toward changes that might need to be made for 2013.

Let's continue our series of positional reviews for the New York Giants by focusing today on the offensive line. There are really two ways of looking at this group, and which side you fall on really depends on whether you are a glass half-empty or glass half-full type of person.

Look at this group and there are a number of positive things to focus on. There are also, however, things to be concerned about.

The Good -- The Giants allowed only 20 quarterbacks in 2012, best in the league; they averaged 4.6 yards per rushing attempt, 7th in the league; Will Beatty emerged as a stud left tackle who should be a long-term fixture; Chris Snee had a bounce-back season.

The Bad -- The play of right tackle David Diehl left a lot to be desired, and there is no obvious long-term answer at that position. Sean Locklear is a capable journeyman, and might be a better player than Diehl. James Brewer is a young player who either hasn't had, or hasn't earned, an opportunity in two seasons. There really is little depth. Brandon Mosley and Matt McCants, drafted in 2012, are still unknown and unproven.

The Individuals

Will Beatty -- After missing most of the pre-season with a back injury, Beatty had a breakout 2012 season. He became a premier left tackle, allowing only three sacks, no quarterback hits and only 22 pressures in 569 pass-blocking snaps. His +22.4 placed him 11th among NFL tackles in 2012, and only a relatively high number of penalties (11) hurt his overall score.

Kevin Boothe -- Until this year he was really considered a journeyman better suited to be a backup guard and center, and maybe an emergency tackle. Had a solid season while starting full-time for the first time since he was a rookie with the Oakland Raiders in 2006. Ended the season with a +8.2 PFF grade.

David Baas -- After a rough first season in New York in 2011 Baas settled in and became a solid center in 2012. I don't know that he will ever be considered a dominant one, but he is a good player.

Chris Snee -- I will repeat what I have said several times about Snee. He isn't the road-grader he might have been four years ago, but he had a good season. PFF scored him at +12.8, and Snee allowed only two sacks in 583 pass-blocking snaps.

David Diehl -- Everyone knows Giants' fans have little use for Diehl. The guy has been a contributing player to two Super Bowl teams, but he is the weak link on this line. He had a -6.8 score from PFF and surrendered four sacks and 26 quarterbacks pressures in 284 pass-blocking snaps, meaning he surrendered pressure on 10.5 of his pass-blockingsnaps.

Sean Locklear -- Did a very nice job filling in at both tackle spots. He's not a great run blocker (-3.5 PFF score), but he is a pretty good pass blocker (+2.6) who allowed no sacks in 386 passing plays.

James Brewer -- Drafted in the fourth round in 2011 and after two years we still don't know if Brewer is an NFL player. He played only 34 offensive snaps in 2012. This coming season, however, we will likely find out what the Giants think of Brewer. Do they release Diehl? Do they draft an offensive tackle early? Do they give the right tackle job to Brewer? Whatever they do it will tell us something about what the Giants believe about Brewer.

Jim Cordle -- A decent special teams guy. Has some value since he can play both center and guard. Probably not more than a career backup.

Selvish Capers -- Activated from the practice squad for a couple of games. Not really much to see, or talk about, here.

Matt McCants -- Spent the season on the practice squad after being drafted in the sixth round. He's a developmental tackle project. What he develops into no one knows.

Brandon Mosley -- One of two fourth-round picks in 2012, spent the season on IR with an ankle injury. Seemed overwhelmed much of the time in the preseason, and maybe a year of digesting the NFL game will help him.

2013 Outlook

Beatty is a free agent, and the Giants have to sign him to a long-term deal. Quality left tackles don't grow on trees, and Beatty is one. The Giants, obviously, need to make a decision at right tackle. Diehl has one year ($4.1 million) left on his contract and could be a cap casualty. Diehl may also be a player the Giants keep at a reduced salary simply because of his positional versatility. Guard or center might be a lesser immediate priority, but if the right player is available the Giants could use some additional depth inside.

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