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Thursday, April 17, 2014
Big Blue Morning: Interior OL a concern?

By Dan Graziano
ESPN.com

I was up in Bristol the last two days doing TV, and I asked former Colts center Jeff Saturday what he thought about newly signed New York Giants center J.D. Walton.

Saturday remembered talking to the Broncos about Walton in 2012, when Denver had Saturday in to talk to him about joining the team following its signing of Peyton Manning. He said it sounded as though the Broncos liked Walton, who would end up showing some improvement early in 2012 before suffering an ankle injury that has kept him from playing since. (Saturday ended up instead with the Packers for what would turn out to be the final season of his career.)

Saturday said he felt Walton would be an upgrade over former Giants center David Baas, and that everything he's been told about Walton is that he's a good guy and a hard worker, but that he's not a big, bruising, push-em-back type of offensive lineman. But he also said that the Giants' blocking scheme doesn't require that of its center -- that it relies on its guards to dominate, and that may be where the concern still lies.

Geoff Schwartz is almost certainly an upgrade at left guard, but Chris Snee remains a question mark coming off his second hip surgery in as many years, and John Jerry is no sure thing behind him. I know NJ.com wrote recently about the Giants' potential interest in Colorado State center Weston Richburg, and I wouldn't be surprised to see them address center in the draft next month.  But I also wouldn't be surprised if they addressed guard also or even instead. Not with their first-round pick, mind you -- No. 12 overall is too early to take an interior offensive lineman this year -- but maybe in the second and/or third rounds.

The ability of opposing defenses to pressure Eli Manning through the A-gaps last year was devastating to the Giants' offense, and they need to make sure their guard play is vastly improved if they want Manning and the offense to have a chance to recover.