Monday, March 25, 2013
Giants piecing the offensive line together
By Dan Graziano
The New York Giants wanted unrestricted free agent Kevin Boothe back to play left guard for them in 2013, and it appears they will get their wish. Like so many others before him on this year's miserable free-agent market, Boothe was unable to find anything better than the one-year deal his current team was offering him, and multiple reports Monday morning said Boothe has agreed to return to the Giants on a one-year deal.
That means the Giants have brought back the two unrestricted free-agent linemen they set out to retain, starting just before the free-agency period opened when they signed left tackle Will Beatty to a five-year deal. Beatty, Boothe, David Baas and Chris Snee appear set as starters from left to right along the Giants' line, which leaves right tackle as the only remaining question mark.
Currently, the right tackle options on the Giants' roster are David Diehl and James Brewer. Diehl is a decorated and valued veteran whose effectiveness has been fading. Brewer is an unproven 2011 fourth-round draft pick. Neither, then, is an ideal solution, and it's entirely possible that the Giants will look to address the right tackle position in the draft.
Thing is, though, while it might make sense for the Giants to draft a tackle at No. 19 in the first round, it would also be out of character. They have not taken an offensive lineman with their first-round pick since guard Luke Petitgout in 1999, and their last first-round tackle was Eric Moore in 1988. The Giants' organizational priorities are pretty well established through the generations, and it appears as though tackle is a position on which they believe they can wait. Beatty was a second-round pick and they now believe he's their franchise left tackle. It's unlikely they feel compelled to use a first-rounder on the less important right side.
But we'll see. Alabama's D.J. Fluker is known as a great run-blocking tackle and should be there at No. 19 if they want him. Or maybe they have someone targeted for the second round or third round that they like. Or maybe they see Brewer or Selvish Capers or someone else on their roster as a good developmental player and believe they'll get by with another year of Diehl while they wait on that. Certainly, having the four guys they wanted as starters at the other four spots gives the Giants some leeway at right tackle. I imagine that's how they'll operate.