This is the first installment of Giants position previews for the upcoming 2018 season. This will be an in-depth look at each position heading into training camp that begins on July 25th.
LT: Nate Solder (PPF Grade: 75.7), Chad Wheeler
LG: Will Hernandez (PFF College Grade: 91.4), John Greco
C: Brett Jones (PFF Grade: 63.9), Jon Halapio, Evan Brown
RG: Patrick Omameh (PFF Grade: 53.6), John Jerry
RT: Ereck Flowers (PFF Grade: 51.5), Nick Becton
ON THE BUBBLE: Malcolm Bunche, Kristjan Sokoli, Zac Kerin, Nick Gates
KEY LOSSES: Justin Pugh, Weston Richburg, D.J. Fluker, Bobby Hart
Here's a good synopsis of the Giants' offensive line play last season: It was really bad.
But what did now-former GM Jerry Reese think was going to happen? He didn't make any changes to the unit after an awful 2016 season, but said progress was made and things would turn around because of hardwork he saw in the building before training camp.
Well, that hard work and dedication clearly didn't work out. For starter, Ereck Flowers was one of those players looking to prove he was worthy of a first-round choice. But it was more of the same from the Miami product as he continued to show inadequacy at the left tackle position all season long.
The same went for the rest of the line. Next to Flowers was Justin Pugh, and though he was normally a reliable option in the past, he posted a 52.4 overall Pro Football Focus rating last season. Siding with Pugh, he was asked to jump around the line as the Giants tried to figure out a lineup that would work. He was playing left guard and right tackle for most of the year.
At center, Brett Jones was asked to take over for Weston Richburg, whose concussion issues had him only see four games on the field. Jones held his own, but throwing an undrafted center in the mix didn't do much to help the line.
That leaves John Jerry and whoever the Giants decided to put at right tackle. Bobby Hart got the nod to start the season, but he was horrendous on that right side with a 37.7 PFF grade on the year. Chad Wheeler made appearances as well, but was effective.
So, Reese's proclamation that the O-line would come through fooled no one as they were lackluster from start to finish. The run game was poor because of no open holes, and Eli Manning was getting the ball off as fast as it was snapped to him to keep himself off the IR.
This group was set up to fail once again, and is one of the reasons Reese's office was cleaned out before the regular season ended.
Biggest Question Heading Into Camp: Will Flowers revive his career at right tackle?
When new GM Dave Gettleman was named to his post with the Giants this offseason, one of his first quotable moments was saying how much he loved his "Hog Mollies." Gettleman knew this offensive line needed fixing and he did just that.
Gettleman made LT Nate Solder the highest paid offensive lineman in the game with a four-year, $62 million contract. And that not only was a big splash in free agency, but it also kicked Flowers out of the left side.
He will now compete for the right tackle position, but there doesn't seem to be any competition to begin with. Wheeler will be there during camp, but Flowers should be able to easily come away with the starting role.
So, can Flowers show the Giants -- who declined the fifth-year option on his rookie contract -- that he was worthy of their No. 9 overall pick in 2015? Most teams scouted Flowers as a right tackle, and even as a guard because of his run-blocking skills. But New York took a chance with him at left tackle, and that move failed miserably.
Flowers' time with the Giants is on its last leg, but maybe (probably not) he can somehow changed their mind with better play on the right side this season. It will tell immediately if the shift on the line worked during training camp.
With Pugh, Richburg, Fluker, and Hart all allowed to sign with different teams this offseason, Gettleman had to get down to business.
Solder wasn't the only acquisition Gettleman as he looked to revive the entire line. Former Jaguar Patrick Omameh was scooped up in free agency, and the Giants landed UTEP G Will Hernandez in the second round, a player Gettleman and company gave a first-round grade heading into the draft.
Hernandez will likely work alongside Solder, and Omameh could easily win the right guard slot next to Flowers. All three of these Hog Mollies should be an obvious upgrade when the season kicks off.
But, Giants fans, don't give in that easy.
The Giants haven't made any Reese-like predictions about their line play, but the tone is it will be worlds better based on these new acquisitions. But, looking at the numbers, Solder allowed his most penalty yards as a Patriot with 80 last season. Omameh wasn't anything special with the Jaguars, and Flowers' transition is a huge question mark.
So, I'm not sold on this group yet despite massive reinforcement on paper. And if one of these five starters gets injured, just pray Manning doesn't find turf in his helmet every other play with depth a major downside.
Seeing Manning comfortable in the pocket, and having some holes for Saquon Barkley to run through will ease my suspicion if it happens early enough. But the Giants better hope this group can perform consistently this year.
The offense will go as they go.