New York Giants: Brandon Mosley
The Giants said linebacker Jon Beason would be the only player to begin training camp on the active/physically unable to perform list, which is no surprise given that he's recovering from a broken foot. Beason has said he hopes to be ready by Week 1, and playing him on the training camp PUP list does not affect that hope. He can practice at any time after the team's doctors clear him medically. The only reason for the active/PUP designation is that it keeps the team's options open in case they end up wanting to place him on the reserve/PUP list to start the regular season. At this point, they hope they don't have to do that. Beason was on the sideline watching his team go through its conditioning test Monday afternoon.
Updates on other Giants injuries and assorted issues:
Offensive lineman John Jerry, who's one of the candidates to start in place of Snee at right guard, did not run, but nor was he put on PUP as Beason was. Coughlin said Jerry also would be "limited" in practice after missing OTAs and minicamp due to arthroscopic knee surgery. Jerry, Brandon Mosley and possibly rookie center Weston Richburg are candidates to replace Snee. Coughlin said Mosley was likely to get first crack at it when the first-team offensive line took the field Tuesday.
Wide receiver Mario Manningham, who's got a bad knee and missed spring practices as well, also has been cleared to practice on a "limited" basis, Coughlin said.
Quarterback Eli Manning didn't run with the team instead throwing on a different field with coaches. "He didn't run last year, either," Coughlin said of Manning. This is a case of two Super Bowl MVP trophies buying you special perks, folks. Manning said the ankle he had surgically repaired in April was "great, 100 percent, not an issue at all," which is no surprise since he was able to practice as normal in minicamp last month. He won't be limited in any way in training camp by the ankle issue.
First-round pick Odell Beckham, Jr., who missed some spring practice time with a hamstring injury, is also cleared for practice. The rookie wide receiver will be used on offense and on returns in camp.
The Giants signed undrafted former Auburn guard John Sullen to replace Snee. Sullen was one of several players who tried out for the Giants during their June minicamp.
@DanGrazianoESPN: Speed. Like the Eleanor Roosevelt quote says in the opening credits of Talladega Nights, "hot, nasty, bad-a** speed." Odell Beckham was drafted to give the Giants the field-stretching threat that Hakeem Nicks did not provide last year, and the team believes he can outrun defensive backs and help open things up for Ben McAdoo's offense near the line of scrimmage. Of course, assuming they're right, Beckham can provide a big-play threat in his own right down the field. But their hope is that he has the speed to beat press coverage and stretch out defenses in a way that allows their offense to operate with a variety of quick-hitting options. I have my own concerns over how Beckham will react to big, physical cornerbacks, but there are plenty of people I talk to around the league who like him a lot and believe he'll contribute right away. @DanGrazianoESPN: Well, I think very. But I don't think there's any way you can count on it to happen. Even if Snee stays healthy, can he possibly deliver the same old power and explosiveness, on a consistent, week-to-week basis, that he did early in his career? All due respect to a great player, but I don't see it. They need a reliable backup plan, and I doubt it's John Jerry. So watch Brandon Mosley closely in camp. The Giants liked what they saw from him in the spring, and they're hoping he emerges as a reliable backup option (or a starter option if they do lose Snee and/or Jerry) at guard. A healthy, 16-game Snee would be a huge benefit to the Giants' offensive line. But I think it's a real long shot that they get it. He's a tough, tough champion who could surprise, but bodies wear down over time, especially at that position. @DanGrazianoESPN: I mean, I don't know who you have in mind, but Daniel Fells and Kellen Davis each have five years' worth of experience in the NFL, and those guys are already on the team. Given what's left on the free-agent market at this point, it's hard to see how they could bring in anyone who's any different from those two guys to do what you're suggesting. The Giants honestly want to give Adrien Robinson and Larry Donnell a chance to show what they can do. They honestly don't believe in spending big resources on the position. But it's not as though they have NO TIGHT ENDS on the roster. What they lack is an experienced starting tight end they can trust to be a reliable option in the passing game. If none of the guys they have show any ability to be that, then sure, they could be shopping for tight end help once other teams start making cuts in late August. But given what the Giants tend to expect out of their tight ends, it's hard to imagine how someone on the roster won't emerge as at least a viable option. This is the group they're taking to camp at this point, and the truth is there's not a lot out there right now that would improve it. @DanGrazianoESPN: There's a role there for rookie fourth-round running back Andre Williams if he can take it. The Giants love to have a big, power running back who can grind out yards up the middle. No matter who the offensive coordinator is, that's going to be something Tom Coughlin wants. But they won't force Williams into playing time if he doesn't show he can handle some of the pass-protection responsibilities and maybe catch a ball or two. So while they like Williams and he was extremely productive in college last year, you shouldn't assume he's going to be a big factor in the run game right away. The Giants don't like to rush rookies, and everything I heard about Williams in spring practices indicated he needed a lot more work. They have Rashad Jennings, Peyton Hillis, Michael Cox and probably David Wilson, so they can certainly get by. When Williams is ready, they will have use for him. But that may not be Week 1.
Thanks for all of your questions. I'm'a check back in Monday from training camp, and we'll be off and running. Until then ... Shake n Bake.
@DanGrazianoESPN: Let's assume, for the sake of this discussion, that middle linebacker Jon Beason does not make it back from his foot injury to play for the New York Giants in Week 1 in Detroit. If that is the case (as seems likely), then Jameel McClain is the front-runner to start at middle linebacker.
At this point, the starters on the outside would be Spencer Paysinger and Jacquian Williams, but rookie fifth-rounder Devon Kennard impressed coaches in the spring program and could be in the mix to start on the strong side. What's interesting to me is that linebackers coach Eric Hermann had a lot to say Thursday about the improvement Williams has shown as a weakside linebacker in the Giants' base defense. They already love him on the weak side in their nickel package due to his speed and coverage ability. But if they like him there in the base as well, Williams might be ahead of Paysinger to start there even once Beason returns and McClain moves back to the strong side. So to answer your question, I'd expect to see McClain in the middle, Williams on the weak side and either Paysinger or, if he has a big camp, Kennard on the strong side in Week 1.
Giants coaches like his progress. Quarterbacks coach Danny Langsdorf on Thursday praised Nassib's intelligence and his ability to pick up the new system but said he's still got to work on his accuracy and his timing. Which is understandable, given that he's still a young quarterback who's never played in the league. It's clear they view him as the No. 2 right now behind Eli Manning -- or that they're at least giving him every chance to beat out Curtis Painter for that spot in camp. But no, if Manning got hurt, at this point the Giants would not have honest confidence in Nassib or anyone else who might replace him.
Manning costs the Giants 17 percent of their salary cap. He's the player around whom their team is built. If they don't have him, they simply won't be a remotely competitive team. Even if Nassib comes quickly in camp and becomes a viable No. 2, there's no chance that, in 2014, he offers anything close to what Manning offers as a starting NFL quarterback. All the Giants want from Nassib is continued growth and development, and their hope is that he's a decent backup/emergency option this year and maybe more down the road.
@DanGrazianoESPN: I agree that the Giants' defensive line is questionable behind the starters, and that there's a chance it could be a bad defensive line. They desperately need Jason Pierre-Paul to stay healthy and dominate from the defensive end position, because honestly they're not going to get much pass rush from the other side at this point. Mathias Kiwanuka and Robert Ayers are what they are, and they're not the kinds of defensive ends who are going to whip tackles regularly and pile up sacks. And Damontre Moore is still developing.
On the inside, you mention Cullen Jenkins, and I agree he's key because he's the one guy in there who's not a question mark. Coaches were raving this week about the development defensive tackles Johnathan Hankins and Markus Kuhn have shown, and if so then that's a positive thing for them and for the Giants. But there's no way to know until they can practice in pads and play against other teams what they really have in there. To me, the Giants are hoping a lot of people -- namely, Hankins, Kuhn, Moore, Ayers and Kiwanuka -- outperform anything they've yet shown in the league in order to make them strong on the defensive line. It's not nuts to think one or two of them will, but... all of them?
@DanGrazianoESPN: The first-team offensive line in minicamp was, left to right: Charles Brown, Geoff Schwartz, J.D. Walton, Brandon Mosley, Justin Pugh. Which, no, is not good. They believe Chris Snee could play right guard if he had to right now, but he's working his way back from elbow and hip surgeries and they're taking it slowly with him. And they're also hoping Will Beatty is healthy enough to play left tackle in training camp ahead of Brown, who was signed as a backup. Rookie Weston Richburg is in a straight-up competition with Walton for the starting center spot. So it's possible that by Week 1 it's Beatty/Schwartz/Richburg/Snee/Pugh, which would look a lot better than what they ran out there this week. But as of now, that's your starting five.
Mosley's an interesting case. They like him and think his development has been hurt by injuries. But the fact that Snee and John Jerry (knee surgery) haven't been able to get on the field helped Mosley get a lot of first-team reps this spring. And that can only help him if they need to turn to him to play a starting role in camp, in the preseason or in the season.
Thanks for all of your questions. Enjoy the first weekend of summer.
The signing Friday of John Jerry, one of the former Dolphins offensive linemen who was implicated in the Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin bullying scandal last month, is an indication of just how difficult things get when you have to be as active in free agency as the Giants have.
Our man Adam Caplan reports that Jerry's deal is for one year and $770,000, with only $25,000 guaranteed. That makes this a no-risk signing for the Giants from a financial standpoint. He'll come in and compete for a roster spot with guys like James Brewer and Brandon Mosley, and if he makes it he could be a useful backup at several positions or even a potential starter if Chris Snee can't answer the bell. Jerry is 27, turning 28 this summer like almost every other free agent they've signed, so he fits the age profile to which they have tried very hard to adhere. (The only player they've signed who is over 30 is kicker Josh Brown.) There are reasons the Giants can convince themselves Jerry makes sense for them, but if he had cost any more to sign than he did, they likely couldn't have brought him in.
This is a tough game the Giants are playing, and it's one in which they are justifiably uncomfortable. There is no way to sign 19 or more free agents and expect them to all work out for you. At best, they are going to end up hitting on maybe half of these signings and have to address the holes left over from the misses again a year from now. Free agency is an imperfect science, fraught with imperfect solutions to larger problems. That is the state of the Giants right now, and the fact that they had to go out and sign someone like Jerry from the pool of backup guards because the Raiders signed Kevin Boothe illustrates it as well as anything yet has.
Usual disclaimers apply: I respect -- nay, revere -- the work Kiper does on the NFL draft. I don't think there's anyone who knows more about it, and I don't believe there's anyone who works harder to make sure that's the case. He's a machine, and nothing I write that disagrees with anything he writes should be taken as any kind of slight against the man, his work or his abilities.
The Giants have not selected a linebacker in the first round of the draft since Carl Banks in 1984.
Carl Banks. In 1984.
That's 30 years, during which the franchise has been run by basically the same people and under the same philosophy, and it's not a coincidence of history that it's been that long. Especially in the salary cap era, during which teams set their priorities and only allocate high-end resources (meaning big free-agent money and high draft picks) to those positions they feel deserve them, the Giants have consistently undervalued the linebacker position and sought to address it with bargains. Even more recently, as passing offenses have evolved to dominate the game, the Giants (and many other teams) increasingly spend more time in nickel defenses, which require only two linebackers on the field if you're a base 4-3. The Giants simply do not believe linebacker is a position worthy of a first-round pick, so they don't pick linebackers in the first round.
Is Mosley good enough to break that trend? Maybe. Did the extent to which Jon Beason revitalized their linebacker corps this year underline the importance of a high-energy field general at that position? Possibly, but it's worth noting that they only spent a seventh-round pick to get Beason, and that fact actually kind of supports their belief that they can get linebacker figured out without spending major resources on it.
So count me as a doubter that they'll pick Mosley at No. 12.
I think they should take the best available offensive lineman there, given the extent of their short-term and long-term needs on the line. Someone like Michigan tackle Taylor Lewan, should he fall (which he doesn't, in Mel's mock). But others will correctly point out that their bigger line needs are at guard and center, and can be addressed in Rounds 2 and 3. So what's most likely, in my opinion, is that the Giants take someone like Texas A&M wide receiver Mike Evans or North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron if one of them is there, to supply Eli Manning with a fresh new weapon on offense. Or they could go defense and snag someone like Florida State defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan or Alabama safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. Those picks would be much more in keeping with the Giants' drafting philosophy than would Mosley.
And hey, you never know. They went 11 years without drafting a running back in the first round before taking David Wilson two years ago. And they went 13 years without drafting an offensive lineman in the first round before taking Justin Pugh last year. So sometimes trends don't last. But this trend is at 29 years, which puts those others to shame. No offense to Mel or to Mosley, but I have a hard time imagining this.
If he can't, it's possible that rookie Michael Cox would be the only healthy tailback on the Giants' roster. David Wilson and Brandon Jacobs are on injured reserve, and Peyton Hillis missed this game with a concussion. Hard to imagine the Giants going out and signing a running back for the final game of a long-lost season, but it's possible they'd have to. They also have a running back, Kendall Gaskins, on their practice squad.
In other injury news Sunday:
- Tight end Adrien Robinson, active for the first time all season, sprained his knee on the opening kickoff and did not return to the game. Can't make this stuff up. Robinson was on crutches after the game and said he'll have an MRI on Monday to determine the severity of the injury. Lost season for him.
- David Diehl, who's been starting at right guard since September due to Chris Snee's season-ending injury, was inactive for the game due to a knee injury. Brandon Mosley, who replaced him, broke his hand on the opening drive and did not return to the game. Dallas Reynolds replaced him and earned praise from coach Tom Coughlin for his effort. The Lions' defensive line had a field day against the Giants' banged-up offensive line in the second half, but the line held up well enough in the first half to build a 13-3 lead, which obviously mattered.
- Defensive end Justin Tuck had an ice pack on his right knee after the game. He also appeared to injure his neck in the third quarter, but he didn't miss any time as a result of that injury.
Cruz's status for Sunday's game in Detroit and the season finale a week later at home against the Washington Redskins is, to some degree, out of the Giants' hands. Since he has a concussion, he'll have to go through the league-mandated concussion protocol before being cleared to play by independent doctors. We've seen a wide array of recovery times on this around the league. It's possible he'll be cleared to play Sunday. It's possible he won't be cleared until the following week. It's possible he won't be cleared in time to play again this season. The Giants can only wait and see.
The knee sprain, however, is another matter. If Cruz were cleared by the concussion protocol, the extent of the knee problem would be something the Giants and their team doctors would have to evaluate before deciding whether to allow him to practice and/or play. With two games left and no hope of finishing .500, let alone making the playoffs, it's possible the Giants could decide to shut Cruz down for the rest of the season if his knee is at all in question. Cruz has 998 receiving yards, leaving him just two short of cracking the 1,000-yard mark for the third year in a row.
Running back Peyton Hillis also left Sunday's game with a concussion, and Coughlin also said he had no update on him. Likewise guard James Brewer, who left with an ankle injury that he indicated wasn't too serious. Given the way Brewer has played since being elevated to a starting guard spot, it's possible they could take a look at Brandon Mosley at left guard in the final two games even if Brewer is healthy.
Also no news Monday on defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, who has missed the last three games with a shoulder injury and appears unlikely to play again this season.
"We’re going to try to play the best we can and win with the roster that we have," Giants coach Tom Coughlin said Wednesday, clearly annoyed by the premise of the question. "If the opportunity is there, then so be it. But that’s not going to be the No. 1 thought on our minds."
"Those people who are playing have earned their right to play," Coughlin said.
He also asked for specific examples of players who might conceivably see more playing time for future-evaluation purposes, and several of the reporters in attendance obliged. Coughlin was asked about:
Tight end Adrien Robinson: "He was hurt for a long time. He’s practiced for a few weeks now. He did a nice job of being a scout squad tight end for Antonio Gates a week ago. He’s improved from that I can tell on special teams and if he can continue to improve, perhaps that opportunity will come."
Guard Brandon Mosley: "Well, he’s been the XO tight end, did a nice job with that the other day. Hopefully you noticed that. And again, if the opportunity presents itself, so be it. But who would you like me to take out? James Brewer is also getting playing time, if you haven’t noticed. He hasn’t had a whole lot of time and he’s getting playing time and he is responding, so I’d like to see Brewer continue to get better, too."
(Editor's note: The obvious answer from fans to "who would you like me to take out?" is right guard David Diehl. But it's obvious by this point that the Giants won't consider that.)
Quarterback Ryan Nassib's chances of being issued a uniform and joining the active roster one of these weeks, if not actually playing: "Not at this point in time. He’s done very well as a scout team player. He’s taking all these running quarterback roles and done a great job with it, played some safety, done a lot of good things. He’s a very good, very sharp kid. Works his tail off, knows what his spot is, he’s in that room with those guys and he’s like a sponge, that’s what the intent was."
So those are the answers in case you've been wondering. Nassib said he was going to play Russell Wilson on the scout team this week as the team gets ready for Seattle, and that's been his role for much of the year. It's unlikely to change, as the Giants obviously aren't going to sit down starter Eli Manning and Curtis Painter has been working as the backup all year and would therefore deserve first crack at the job even if they did.
Basically, the Giants believe they have a means of developing their back-of-the-roster players and evaluating that development. It's tough to figure out which guys they view as actual prospects and which they view as roster-filler. But it's tough when the players in question don't play. Brewer, for instance, was supposed to have been a worthy starter by this point but doesn't appear to be one. The Giants have a lot of offensive line questions to answer in the offseason, and it would be interesting to see what they have in someone like Mosley. But they're not going to weaken their chances to win one of these games just to see someone like Mosley in a game. That's not the way they do it.
After being the only Giant to be limited in practice on Wednesday, tight end Adrien Robinson (foot) was not able to practice on Thursday. That is not a good sign for him as far as Sunday's game is concerned against Carolina. Also, guard Brandon Mosley and quarterback Ryan Nassib were new additions to the injury report. Mosley did not practice due to a back injury and Nassib did not practice because of an ankle injury.
Tackle David Diehl remains out of practice as he recovers from thumb surgery. He was the only Giant to not practice on Wednesday.
DID NOT PARTICIPATE IN PRACTICE
T David Diehl (thumb)
G Brandon Mosley (back0
QB Ryan Nassib (ankle)
TE Adrien Robinson (foot)
CB Corey Webster (hip)
Coughlin may not have some of his starters, though. Justin Tuck sat out practice on Wednesday with a tight back. Coughlin said the team was being cautious and he hopes to have Tuck.
Right guard Chris Snee has been working his way back into practice the last couple days after coming off the PUP list. So the team could keep him and cornerback Terrell Thomas, who also just came off the PUP list on Tuesday, out of Saturday's game. Wide receiver Hakeem Nicks has been somewhat limited in practices this week, so his status for Saturday night at Pittsburgh remains to be seen.
"He’s a tough guy to block no matter where he is," Coughlin said. "He is very, very effective. Very good. Moves well, just give us a nice piece of versatility to be able to play him basically wherever we need him."
Coughlin was asked about Tuck standing up and rushing in some practices. The Giants have also used Adrian Tracy and Justin Trattou standing up at times in practice.
"He’s been probably doing that for the last five to seven years," Coughlin said. "That’s just to move him around to get him in position, bring him to different spots. There’s multiple guys that can play that role but he has been doing it with the first group."
Coughlin was also asked about backup quarterback Ryan Nassib's progression.
"Young guy with a lot of ability," Coughlin said. "[Nassib] is trying to fight his way through all the learning. Did some good things today again."
The head coach also said he's been impressed with second-year guard Brandon Mosley, who got some reps with the first team in place of Snee.
"He’s had some very good practices," Coughlin said. "He occasionally suffers from a lack of experience when something new confronts him but he has been impressive. He’s a tough kid. He’s battling."
Al (Eatontown, NJ): Do you see Marvin Austin making the team this year?
A: Defensive tackle is going to be one of the most competitive units in all of camp. Linval Joseph and Cullen Jenkins will start. But then it will be a battle royal between Mike Patterson, Shaun Rogers, Austin, rookie Johnathan Hankins and Markus Kuhn. Will the Giants keep five defensive tackles? The Giants will definitely keep Joseph, Jenkisn and Hankins, the team's second-round pick. Patterson, Rogers, Austin and Kuhn will be fighting for perhaps one to two spots. Perhaps the Giants will keep six defensive tackles considering how shoring up the run defense is a major priority. But that might be a stretch. Austin has much to prove since he hasn't done much thus far in his career and hasn't gotten that many opportunities. But it is hard to see the Giants giving up on their 2011 second-round pick already. Jerry Reese doesn't like to do that so my guess is Austin will be on the roster this season.
Rick (Murray Hill): Way too much emphasis on the D-line and not nearly enough at linebacker. It's a fundamental problem with the way this team is constructed. Great to get to the quarterback, but even better to have guys in the middle that can tackle once the ball is past the line of scrimmage.
A: Rick, the Giants place much more of a premium on their defensive line than their linebackers. Sorry, but that is the way they operate. Look at how the team treats the position. The Giants draft linebackers low in the draft and sign cheap veteran free agents for the most part. All the value is placed on the defensive line and that is why you saw the Giants going out and loading up at defensive tackle this offseason. The philosophy is to stop the run at the line first and foremost.
Pete (Asbury Park): Ryan Nassib or David Carr as Eli's backup?
A: I still believe that the Giants will need Carr to serve as an experienced backup this season while Nassib learns the ropes and gains experience. Carr can help Nassib grow tremendously. The problem is, will Tom Coughlin keep three quarterbacks? The Giants are going to feel a tight squeeze and have to make difficult decisions at other positions such as defensive tackle.
Dan (Queens, NY): Do you believe they will stop lining Corey Webster opposite of teams' number one receiver?
A: I think Webster would have to struggle again and Prince Amukamara would have to continue to ascend. If Webster has a repeat of last season, Amukamara could perhaps surpass him with a very impressive season. But the Giants are counting on Webster to bounce back and he is considered their top cornerback.
Tyler (NY): What's the chances of both James Brewer and Brandon Mosley seeing lot's of time this year?
A: I suppose it is always possible that both play awesome in camp and impress the coaches. But of the two, I only see Brewer potentially gaining considerable playing time if he were to win the right tackle job over David Diehl and Justin Pugh. Otherwise, Brewer and Mosley likely would only see "lot's of time" due to injuries to starters. The two did see more snaps in OTAs and minicamp with Chris Snee and David Baas recovering from offseason surgeries. The Giants took a look at several linemen at different spots such as using Kevin Boothe a bit at center.
Nicks didn't appear to be going full-speed, but he worked during both individual and 11-on-11 drills. For the complete story on Nicks, click here.
In other news from Tuesday's practice:
• Rueben Randle and Jerrel Jernigan had been serving as the team's starting wide receivers during OTAs in the absence of Nicks and Victor Cruz. But Louis Murphy was paired with Randle when the Giants began 11-on-11 drills on Tuesday.
Both Jernigan and Nicks eventually got snaps with the first unit as well. But Coughlin has spoken very positively about Murphy in recent weeks, and it appears the 26-year-old speedster, who played for the Carolina Panthers last season, may be climbing up the depth chart.
Coughlin sounded relatively pleased with his team as a whole following the nearly two-hour practice on Tuesday.
"We had good energy," Coughlin said. "Good energy today."
• Center David Baas and guard Chris Snee did some individual work on the side, but watched most of the action again as they recover from injuries.
Coughlin expects both players to be able to participate for a much larger extent come training camp in July.
"That's what I'm told (by the doctors), that they will be ready to go," Coughlin said. "I'm sure there'll be some limitations, but it won't be like it is here. They'll be able to work."
James Brewer continues to start at right guard, in place of Snee. On Tuesday, regular left guard Kevin Boothe slid to center, and Brandon Mosley served as the starting left guard.
• Coughlin also provided updates on a couple of other injured Giants, who were out of sight on Tuesday -- defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, who had back surgery last week, and fullback Henry Hynoski, who had knee surgery in late May.
"He's here. But he's in the process of getting to the point where he can do some things," Coughlin said, of Pierre-Paul. "I know probably for the first three or four weeks he's not going to be doing much."
"He's doing well. Every day he's in there," the coach said of Hynoski, adding that he hopes both will be ready for the start of the regular season in September.
• There weren't many flashy plays during Tuesday's practice. One that did stand out, however, was a swat-down by rookie defensive end Damontre Moore off a pass thrown by fellow rookie Ryan Nassib.
Moore, the team's third-round draft choice out of Texas A&M, has been impressive this spring, and the coaching staff has talked him up as well.
The Giants also attempted a rare flea-flicker during 11-on-11 drills. The pass by Curtis Painter was on the mark, but second-year man Brandon Collins, leaping up over a crowd of defenders, couldn't haul it in.
Position: Offensive line.
Depth chart: T Will Beatty, G Kevin Boothe, C David Baas, G Chris Snee, T David Diehl, T James Brewer, C Jim Cordle, T Brandon Mosley, T Matt McCants, T Selvish Capers, G Stephen Goodin, OL Levy Adcock, G Chris DeGeare, G Michael Jasper, G Bryant Browning.
The departed: T Sean Locklear (free agent).
Scouting report: The Giants finished 14th in rushing with 1,862 yards in 2012, up from 1,427 yards the year before. The line also surrendered 20 sacks, fewest in the league, which was down from 28 in 2011. And the line did this despite shuffling Diehl and Locklear in at right tackle during the season due to injuries.
Health has been a concern for the offensive line. According to ESPN Stats & Information, the Giants used 16 different groups of five linemen, tied for 27th. Over the past four seasons, the Giants averaged 16 different combinations during a season.
Jerry Reese did a splendid job this offseason of keeping the left side of his offensive line intact by re-signing Beatty and Boothe. He also worked out a pay cut with Diehl to maintain cap space. But the Giants have to figure out who will start at right tackle, whether it will be the veteran Diehl or if Brewer is finally ready to start.
"I see him competing for right tackle, guard –- anywhere," Reese said on Thursday. "But it is time for him to get in there and play."
Cordle can play center or guard. But the Giants have to wonder how strong their depth is after their top seven guys. The Giants drafted Mosley and McCants a year ago and would like to see progress from the two in camp this summer.
Locklear was one of Reese’s best pickups last season and is recovering from a season-ending knee injury. If he’s healthy later this summer, the Giants could perhaps take a look at him if they feel the need to add more depth.
The last time: The Giants drafted Mosley in the fourth round and McCants in the sixth round last year.
Potential targets: The Giants will probably go with Diehl or Brewer at right tackle. But with Boothe and Diehl playing on one-year contracts and Snee and Baas coming off surgeries and getting up there in age, the Giants should be looking at offensive linemen in the draft to groom for the future and to provide depth for this season.
The Giants can certainly use a stud offensive lineman to add to Beatty for future seasons to come. Alabama guard Chance Warmack and North Carolina guard Jonathan Cooper could both be gone by the first 12 picks but either would be a terrific addition to the Giants if one were to fall to No. 19. Warmack visited with the Giants and had dinner with offensive line coach Pat Flaherty.
Alabama tackle D.J. Fluker might also be a consideration at 19 for the Giants if he’s there. Oklahoma tackle Lane Johnson is not expected to be on the board when the Giants pick.
Offensive line might provide the best value at 19 for Reese, depending on who is available. But if the GM opts to go pass rusher, cornerback, safety or linebacker in the first round, Reese could look to offensive line in the next few rounds.
Ohio State’s 6-foot-7 tackle Reid Fragel is on their radar, according to a source. Virginia Tech tackle Vinston Painter and Michigan guard Patrick Omameh have visited with the Giants according to the Newark Star-Ledger. The Giants were also in attendance for Kent State’s pro day to watch guard Brian Winters according to the Akron Beacon-Journal.
Need rating (scale of 1 to 10): 9.
How big of a need do you think offensive line is for the Giants in the draft?
Position: Offensive line.
Projected starters: LT Will Beatty, LG Kevin Boothe, C David Baas, RG Chris Snee and RT David Diehl.
Projected reserves: T James Brewer, G Mitch Petrus, C Jim Cordle, T Sean Locklear, G/T Brandon Mosley, T Matt McCants.
New faces: Locklear, Mosley, McCants, T Joel Reinders, G Stephen Goodin and C Chris White.
Going, going, gone: RT Kareem McKenzie, T Stacy Andrews and T Tony Ugoh.
Player to watch: Beatty. His back kept him out for most of OTAs and minicamp. He still took mental reps and was in on all the classes. But Tom Coughlin was concerned about his left tackle's health. Beatty assured reporters his back will be fine once camp starts. But backs are always tricky and you never know when it can flare up. If his back continues to be problematic, Brewer and Locklear will see snaps at left tackle or they could move Diehl back to left tackle and play Brewer or Locklear at right tackle.
Potential strength: The Giants are hoping that their offensive line will be better this season by having a healthier line. Last season, Baas, Snee and Diehl battled through injuries while Beatty’s season ended after 10 games due to an eye injury.
The Giants also believe moving Diehl to right tackle to replace McKenzie and having Beatty back at left tackle is the answer. The versatile Boothe will start at left guard unless there’s an injury at center which could always force the Giants to move Boothe there to plug a hole. The feisty Petrus showed last season he is a capable starter when he started three games due to injury.
Baas had an up and down season due to injuries but the Giants are banking on a healthier Baas to play better and be more comfortable in his second season with the Giants. If Baas performs the way the Giants believe he can, the offensive line will be better and more physical.
If the offensive line can stay healthy, it should be better having had a full offseason and camp to work together. Last year, Eli Manning and the line had basically just a month in camp to come together due to the lockout.
Potential weakness: The running game. The Giants finished last in rushing last season and the offensive line has to show that it can dominate at the line of scrimmage and open holes for the running backs.
The Giants did improve late in the season, rushing for 100 yards or more in six of their final nine games, including the postseason.
But if the Giants can’t get the running game going, Manning will have to shoulder the load once again. He passed for nearly 5,000 yards and had to produce several fourth-quarter comebacks. He will be even deadlier with a potent running game.
Also, the Giants must protect Manning. While the line allowed Manning to work his magic in so many of those fourth-quarter comebacks, it did allow three or more sacks in eight games last season, including a total of six sacks against San Francisco in the NFC Championship game.
Wild card: Brewer. If Beatty’s back becomes an issue throughout camp and even during the season, Brewer needs to be the guy to step in either at left tackle or at right tackle if Diehl moves back to left tackle in the case Beatty is injured. Locklear provides veteran insurance at tackle and the Giants also liked Selvish Capers to keep him on the practice squad last year. But Brewer is the guy the Giants want to see emerge because they have high hopes for their fourth-round pick for the future.
Here's Scouts Inc.'s breakdown of fourth-round pick Brandon Mosley. Tomorrow we look at the Giants' sixth-round pick Matt McCants.
FOURTH ROUND: BRANDON MOSLEY, RT, AUBURN
What he brings: “Mosley could do a better job of sinking his hips and generating power, but he has above-average quickness and lateral mobility for his size. He's more than capable of pushing for early playing time at right tackle.” –- Scouts Inc.
How he fits: “This is an offensive line that could use help all across the board and especially at the tackle position. Age is really a factor in this unit. Mosley is a developmental guy who likely fits best at ROT and he needs to get a little more physical, but at the very least he should be a swing guy and provide some depth to this group.” -–Scouts Inc.
Ohm’s take: The Giants believe Mosley is old school, tough-minded and versatile like David Diehl. Diehl could start at right tackle this season with Kevin Boothe at left guard and Will Beatty at left tackle. So Mosley could sit and learn this season and provide depth and perhaps compete for a starting spot next season. At best, perhaps Mosley can compete at right tackle this season.
Tell us what you think of Mosley and how the offensive line is looking for this upcoming season below.