There is an assumption that Mike Remmers, signed as a free agent this offseason by the New York Giants, will supplant Chad Wheeler as the team’s starting right tackle. Wheeler, though, isn’t conceding.
Here is what Wheeler told the New York Post during the spring:
“Just a very competitive battle,’’ Wheeler predicted. “I’m going to bring my best, he’s going to bring his best. We’re gonna let the chips fall where they fall.’’
Let’s focus on Wheeler as we continue player-by-player profiles of the 90-man roster that will soon report to training camp for the Giants.
Position: Offensive tackle
How he got here
Wheeler signed with the Giants as an undrafted free agent in 2017, playing in 11 games with five starts. He began 2018 as the team’s swing tackle, but became a starter in Week 3 when the Giants thankfully ended the Ereck Flowers era. Wheeler wasn’t Flowers, which was cool. He also wasn’t good, which was uncool.
Wheeler ranked 58th among 61 qualifying tackles graded by Pro Football Focus. Only five tackles gave up more than the 43 pressures he allowed, and his PFF pass-blocking efficiency score was 53rd among 58 tackles with 364 or more pass-blocking snaps. Wheeler’s run-blocking grade was lowest in the league among 61 tackles.
It’s no wonder, then, that the Giants — who concentrated heavily on defense after selecting quarterback Daniel Jones No. 6 overall in the 2019 NFL Draft — turned to free agency in an effort to upgrade the right tackle spot.
Remmers has played both guard and tackle during his seven-year career. He has acknowledged, though, that tackle is where he is best.
“I have the absolute most experience there, from high school, to college, to pros. I have the most experience at tackle,” Remmers said in the spring. “Last year I played all guard, the year before that mainly tackle and a few games at guard. It was different playing guard, I feel like my experience there will help me though going back to tackle. I feel like I learned a lot there but I am looking forward to playing tackle again.”
Back to that assumption that Remmers will be the starter at right tackle. He did have offseason back surgery that kept him out of spring practices. He is expected to be ready for training camp, but the question of his health will linger until he is on the field showing he is ready to play.
Before the Giants signed Remmers, offensive line coach Hal Hunter was asked about right tackle. His answer then should still hold now:
“The best players are going to play. Who are the best players? They are the players that play the best,” Hunter said. “What I’m saying, is that just because you’re a veteran player, a rookie, a second year player, if you are the best player at that position at any time, we owe it to the organization and the team for you to be in that line up. We all compete. We know and understand that.
“Whoever the best player is should play.”
Could Wheeler still end up being the Giants’ best option at right tackle? Odds are that won’t be the case, but that scenario can’t be viewed as impossible.
Should Remmers, as expected, be the starter then Wheeler would likely return to the role of swing tackle, the primary backup to Remmers and Nate Solder.