Good morning, New York Giants fans!
With the recent announcement that the 2021 NFL Scouting Combine will not be taking place, the NFL released the schedule of collegiate pro days for scouts to attend for the 2021 offseason. With no Combine, Pro Days will be the focus of the 2021 NFL Draft scouting season.
4. NEW YORK GIANTS: NFC East
The NY Giants‘ offensive line very much remains a work in progress.
There are legitimate questions about whether left guard Will Hernandez, and the organization’s second-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, is the long-term solution. Hernandez regressed dramatically under a new coaching staff and was ultimately benched in favor of fifth-round rookie Shane Lemieux.
Lemieux finished the season with a 32.2 overall grade from Pro Football Focus and a 16.9 pass-blocking mark. Not ideal. Neither is the fact that Lemieux surrendered 25 pressures and five sacks in 299 pass-blocking snaps.
The Giants are going to need to do something along the interior of the line, especially if Kevin Zeitler becomes a cap casualty due to his $14.5 million cap number in 2021.
Should Scherff become available, he just might be the ideal replacement for Hernandez or Zeitler. The NY Giants, if Zeitler is released, could offer Scherff a healthy raise and the opportunity to play against the team that strung him along for the past two offseasons without signing him to a long-term contract …
Like Joe Thuney on Tuesday, Matt Lombardo describes how longtime NFC East rival guard Brandon Scherff would be a solid fit for the G-Men. At 29 years old, Scherff is not much younger than incumbent right guard Kevin Zeitler, and the Giants would likely need to cut Zeitler in order to make such a move at Scherff. But what do you think, Giants fans?
The Giants expected to solve their long-term left tackle problem with their 2020 selection of Andrew Thomas with the No. 4 pick. But even allowing for some early struggles after veteran Nate Solder’s opt-out forced him into the Week 1 starting lineup, Thomas underwhelmed in his rookie season. His 5.8% blown block rate was the highest among tackles with 300 or more snaps in pass protection, according to Sports Info Solutions charting. That’s a major problem for young quarterback Daniel Jones, who, despite cutting his turnover rate in Year 2, tied for the league lead with 11 fumbles thanks in large part to a 9.1% sack rate that was second highest at his position.
And it makes tackle Rashawn Slater the perfect choice for the team’s top 2021 draft pick, even if it opens the front office up to criticism from the media and fans that might read it as an admission of failure with Thomas. In truth, a Slater selection would not admit failure. His strength and athleticism will likely allow him to play multiple offensive line positions. But it would plan for the possibility of a failure that could derail the franchise given the necessary timing of a Jones extension.
The Giants will have to decide on Jones’ fifth-year option next offseason, so they need to protect him this season to see if he can protect the football. Slater would provide insurance for the team to make that evaluation in 2021, and he may even be the difference between one bad lineman and two good ones if Thomas is a better fit for right tackle than left.
Under the title of “daring moves,” this one would certainly qualify. There is no denying that a player with Rashawn Slater’s positional flexibility (capable of playing all five offensive line spots) and sound mechanics would make him worthy of being the 11th overall pick. But with so many other pressing needs such as wide receiver and edge rusher that can be addressed at this spot as well, it is highly unlikely that the Giants draft Slater.
A career backup with some game-time experience, Harrison’s signing gives the Giants more depth at the center position behind current starter Nick Gates.
In case you missed it
- NFC East Notebook: How and why strength of schedule will be important in the division next season
- Mel Kiper mock draft: Another vote for Jaylen Waddle to the Giants
- 2021 NFL Draft prospect profile: Jaylen Twyman, iDL, Pittsburgh
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