The previous New York Giants decision-makers were thrilled to get Chad Wheeler into training camp as an undrafted free agent a season ago, feeling that the big offensive tackle would have been a mid-round selection in the draft if not for some off-the-field questions.
How does the current regime led by GM Dave Gettleman and coach Pat Shurmur feel about the 24-year-old Wheeler? Let’s examine that question today as we near the end of our player-by-player profiles of the Giants’ 90-man roster.
Position: Offensive tackle
2017 season in review
Wheeler made the 53-man roster as an undrafted free agent. Injuries to and incompetence of others eventually forced him into action. He ended up playing 261 snaps, all but two of which came from Week 11 to the end of the season. Wheeler started five games. He allowed three sacks and compiled a 44.2 Pro Football Focus grade, in the “poor” category.
When the Giants signed Nate Solder to play left tackle, coach Pat Shurmur told former left tackle Ereck Flowers he would have to compete for the job at right tackle. Wheeler, who started four games at right tackle last season, would be the player on the current roster most likely to give Flowers a run for that job.
Well, if there is a competition at that position the Giants certainly have an odd way of showing it. Flowers took every first-team snap this spring in practices that were open to the media. It isn’t hard to watch that and figure out that Wheeler is destined for a backup role this season, perhaps as the team’s swing tackle.
That is a job teams usually like to have a veteran player fill. While the Giants are flush with experienced guards, tackle is different. They have little at the position other than the three players already mentioned.
It would not be shocking to see the Giants add a veteran tackle at some point, but for now Wheeler seems likely to fill that swing tackle role.