When a reliable starter is not apparent at three positions on arguably the most critical unit of a team, it easily makes it the biggest draft need.
The interior of the Giants offensive line is in shambles. The guard play was awful in 2013, racking up an unsightly minus-50.5 PFF rating over 2,076 snaps. It is probably good news, then, that both Kevin Boothe and David Diehl are unrestricted free agents this offseason and Chris Snee is a good bet to be cut due to his bloated $11.75 million cap number.
That leaves James Brewer as the only guard with any NFL experience who is under a manageable contract with New York in 2014. He is, at best, a backup when you consider he barely played in his first two seasons with the Giants and garnered a minus-8.3 PFF rating in 406 snaps at guard last season.
The situation isn’t much brighter at center, where David Baas, like Snee, is a potential cap casualty. The other center option, Jim Cordle, only has seven career starts and is coming off a season-ending knee injury.
Even with all these holes to fill, the Giants would be wise to wait until the second round of the draft to start addressing them. The main reason why is that no guard or center is currently projected to go earlier than late in the first round. With that said, New York should use two of its first four picks to solidify these positions.
Some good targets at guard are Xavier Su’a-Filo of UCLA and Mississippi State’s Gabe Jackson. Su’a-Filo projects to be a better pass-blocker, while Jackson could be a true road-grating run blocker if he can find a nasty streak.
As for center, Arkansas’ Travis Swanson tops the pack, but a selection with more value is Bryan Stork from Florida State. Swanson currently projects as a late first-round, early second-round pick, but from what I saw in film, Stork looks to be more physical and a better run blocker.
Stork could last until the fourth round since center is usually an overlooked position, and Colorado State’s Weston Richburg is also a player who will generate interest.
*All stats, unless otherwise noted, courtesy of Pro Football Focus (subscription required) and Pro-Football-Reference.com. Contract information, unless otherwise noted, is courtesy of Spotrac. Draft information, unless otherwise noted, courtesy of CBSSports.com.
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