The New York Giants fielded one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL in 2013. That is not the case entering the 2014 season. At least Mike Tanier of Sports On Earth and Football Outsiders thinks that will be the case.
Tanier's list leans heavily on Football Outsiders data, but is based on "anticipated 2014 performance." Tanier never mentions the Giants in his post, meaning he seems them as somewhere in between the top of the heap and the bottom of the pile. After the misery of 2013, mediocrity from the line in 2014 might be enough.
After all the attention the Giants have paid to their offensive line this offseason, they need Tanier to be right that the line will be better than it was in 2013 when the line was among the league's worst. It certainly should be.
Justin Pugh started all 16 games at right tackle a season ago. The 2013 first-round pick played solidly, allowing five sacks and earning a +7.1 Pro Football Focus grade.
Left tackle Will Beatty was awful in 2013 (13 sacks allowed, -6.3 PFF grade). He should be closer to his 2012 form (+22.3 PFF grade, three sacks allowed) this season. If Beatty, who broke his leg in the season finale, isn't ready free agent Charles Brown or holdover James Brewer might fill in.
At left guard, Geoff Schwartz replaces the combo of Kevin Boothe and Brewer. He represents a massive upgrade, having graded out as PFF's eight-best guard (+15.2) in 2013.
At center, free-agent signee J.D. Walton and rookie Weston Richburg should represent an improvement over a broken-down David Baas, Boothe and a likable but overmatched Jim Cordle.
At right guard, the Giants are hoping for one more healthy, solid season from Chris Snee. They didn't get that from Snee a season ago when he played only three games before undergoing hip surgery. An injured Snee, the now-retired David Diehl, and Brewer did not get the job done last season. The backup plan at the position this time around includes Richburg, former Miami Dolphins starter John Jerry, and Brandon Mosley.