The obvious hole in the New York Giants’ offseason to date is that they have yet to make an aggressive move to upgrade the right tackle spot, where Ereck Flowers played himself out of town and Chad Wheeler graded as one of the league’s worst players at the position.
Scott Wright of Draft Countdown brought that up this week on the ‘Valentine’s Views’ podcast. Matt Williamson hit on that point in assessing the Giants’ draft class. Yours truly also touched on it in reviewing the draft.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that’s one area the Giants would like to address, but have as of yet been unable to find a match. It’s just not possible to sign or draft everybody that you would like to have.
Let’s take a step back and assess what has happened that left the Giants so far unable to fill that hole, and what they can still do about it.
The biggest reality when it comes to right tackle is that the Giants’ first-round decisions made it virtually impossible for them to land a plug and play right tackle on the first two days of the draft.
Andre Dillard (22nd, Philadelphia Eagles) and Tytus Howard (23rd, Houston Texans) were there when the Giants took defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence at No. 17. Had the Giants not taken Lawrence there, perhaps edge Montez Sweat (26th, Washington Redskins) was still more likely.
Trading up to get Deandre Baker 30th overall cost the Giants their 37th overall pick, a fourth-round pick (132nd) and a fifth-round pick (142nd).
For a minute, let’s consider right tackle candidates at those spots, and at 95 (where the Giants selected edge rusher Oshane Ximines) and 109 (cornerback Julian Love).
The Giants could have traded up to No. 30 for Kaleb McGary or Jawaan Taylor, but made the move for the player they thought was the draft’s best cornerback. On a defense where man coverage skills are critical that’s hard to argue with.
At 37, the Carolina Panthers (who got the pick from Seattle) took offensive tackle Greg Little. Maybe the Giants would have taken Little. Maybe not.
At 95, they left offensive tackles Bobby Evans and Yodny Cajuste on the board to take Ximines. Considering that many wonder if they did enough to directly help their pass rush, hard to fault them taking one of the last true pass rushers available at that point.
At 108, the Giants took Love, who GM Dave Gettleman said was “sticking out like a sore thumb” on the team’s board.
At that point, Gettleman said he felt like the “value was pretty much wiped out” at offensive tackle.
Want evidence of that? Cajuste was taken with the 101st pick by the New England Patriots. The next offensive tackle off the board was David Edwards of Wisconsin 68 picks later. He went 169th to the Los Angeles Rams, two picks before the Giants took wide receiver Darius Slayton.
Sure, the Giants could have traded up. But, they chose not to. They chose a wide receiver with 4.3 speed Gettleman said can “flat fly.” The GM compared Slayton to DeSean Jackson and Ted Ginn, saying he can “take the top off the coverage.”
In the end, they made a choice. They valued Baker and defense, with the picks they surrendered pretty much taking them out of the tackle market.
George Asafo-Adjei of Kentucky, taken in Round 7, is probably a developmental player and not one the Giants would want to rely on as a full-time starter in 2019.
So, what’s the answer?
We have talked about this before, but that is probably going to be signing veteran Mike Remmers as a stop-gap solution next to Kevin Zeitler.
Remmers, formerly with the Carolina Panthers and Minnesota Vikings, is familiar to Gettleman and coach Pat Shurmur. He visited with the Giants early in free agency, and Gettleman acknowledged the team is still monitoring him.
“Well, he’s still rehabbing [from back surgery], and we’re continuing to talk with him, so we’ll see,” Gettleman said. “Going to bring him in and take another look eventually.”
The Giants may wait to sign Remmers until he can pass a physical. If it isn’t Remmers, you have to believe the Giants will continue to monitor rosters around the league all the way up to Week 1 of the season to see who becomes available.