Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Jon Asamoah is this year's best free agent guard.
The Giants guard play was atrocious in 2013, racking up an unsightly minus-50.5 PFF rating over 2,076 snaps.
Changes at the team’s worst position are already underway, as long-time Giant David Diehl has officially retired. Also, Kevin Boothe is an unrestricted free agent and Chris Snee will likely be cut due to his bloated cap figure.
That leaves James Brewer as the only other guard on the roster that received significant playing time in 2013. Despite a manageable contract, he shouldn’t be a realistic option to start for Big Blue next season.
The 2011 fourth-round pick was barely able to get on the field in his first two years in the league. Last season, his minus-8.8 PFF rating over 406 snaps at guard doesn’t lend much confidence that he can help solidify the position going forward.
Without a viable starter on the roster, the Giants need to fill both guard positions in the draft and through free agency. Here are their best options.
Xavier Su'a-Filo, UCLA – Su’a-Filo is an exceptional athlete. His quickness allows him to excel as a pass-blocker and in a zone-blocking scheme (the system the Giants predominantly used under former offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride). At a somewhat light 305 pounds, he is not overpowering and does not figure to be a dominant run-blocker. He will certainly be adequate at worst, though.
The 23-year-old is currently rated the second-best guard in the draft and is slated, as of now, to go early in the second round. He may not make it to the Giants, but if he does, it will be hard to pass up the former Bruin.
Gabe Jackson, Mississippi State – Jackson is not as pro-ready as Su’a-Filo, but he may end up being a better pick in the long run. The reason why is his size, as the 22-year-old weighs in at a hefty 340 pounds, yet possesses good feet and strong mobility. If he gets more of a nasty streak he will be a dominant run-blocker in the NFL, while also excelling as a pass-blocker.
Jackson also may last until the third round, making him a potentially better value than Su’a-Filo.
Other Notables: David Yankey, Stanford; Cyril Richardson, Baylor
Jon Asamoah, Kansas City Chiefs – Asamoah is easily the top guard available in free agency. The 25-year-old has posted a regular season PFF rating north of seven in each of the last three years. He was also durable up until this past season, in which he was limited to only 682 snaps, due mainly to calf and shoulder injuries.
Asamoah may not match the six-year, $46.8 million contract Andy Levitre received from the Tennessee Titans last offseason. He’ll likely get close, though, given his level of play and the fact no other guard approaches his combination of youth and talent on the free agent market.
John Jerry, Miami Dolphins – If the Giants miss out on Asamoah, Jerry makes for a decent lower-cost fallback. While the 27-year-old posted a minus-2.9 PFF rating in 2013, it was still significantly better than the minus-26.5 PFF rating Diehl put up in only 11 games.
Jerry is also durable, having logged more than a 1,000 snaps in each of the last two seasons.
Other Notable: Chad Rinehart, San Diego Chargers
*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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