In the past the Giants used a few different blocking schemes. It seems now they are using the zone scheme exclusively. The Giants drafted players for the offensive line in the last two years from schools that use the zone blocking scheme. The learning curve might be easier for them, they can concentrate on footwork, technique and getting stronger. These past few seasons the Giants have used something that is called a stretch zone for running plays. I don’t know if they use that nomenclature for it. In my opinion one reason Jacobs was tip toeing was because of this scheme. The offensive line slides down the LOS and makes their blocks, for a big back like Jacobs it seems he had trouble finding the seams, a smaller back like Bradshaw this scheme is perfect for. The Giants first round pick Wilson should do well in this type of blocking scheme. It is important that the right tackle work with the TE on blocking and be more quick footed than McKenzie was. I am thinking it’s very possible Mosley will end up the starting ROT since he is extremely well versed in this scheme. He used it in college and excelled at it. Having a veteran like Snee and Bennett as bookends to him might get him through some rough times until he develops. If neither Brewer or Mosley make the grade I’m sure you’ll see David Diehl or Locklear there.
The positions that are set on the offensive line are Baas at center, Snee at right guard, Boothe at left guard and Beatty at left tackle. I’m sure if by any chance Beatty is not healthy Sean Locklear is ready to step in. That’s one reason Locklear was signed, as insurance and as a quality veteran backup. The RT position is as I said up for grabs, I am hoping that Mosley steps in and takes the job, I think he has the best technique and upside. Brewer is a little bigger and a better athlete but Mosley looks the more advanced player technically and strength wise. We’ll see in camp and preseason, it is the position to watch on the offensive line, it will be a battle.
The starters first:
LOT- William Beatty – 6’6” 319 4yrs – When he was healthy he played extremely well, when injured not so well, I could imagine it being very hard to play with an eye injury like that. His biggest issues are the “injuries”, can he stay healthy? I hope so because if healthy he is poised to be a standout franchise type LOT to protect Eli’s blindside. He is a very smart and talented player, hopefully this will be his year to step it up and show what he can do, he has long arms, a good punch, a good waist bend and good footwork notice I didn’t say great, not yet. Beatty’s health is so important to solidifying the offensive line.
LOG – Kevin Boothe – 6’5” 320 7yrs – Boothe earned this spot by playing very well when asked to fill in. He played both guard and center when Baas was injured. Boothe is a castoff from the Oakland Raiders and worked hard to be the player he is now. It’s his job to loose and the only person that will give him some competition is Mitch Petrus who played well when he got his chance. I’m comfortable with Boothe but I do feel his best asset is his ability to pretty much play every position on the offensive line. Boothe handled one of the all-time best nose tackles in the NFL like a baby, by getting leverage and showing his strength, he man handled Vince Wilfork in the super bowl. He took Wilfork out of the game and that was one reason the Giants won.
Center – David Baas – 6’4” 312 8yrs – This was a good signing by Reese, Baas was a good center not a great one. Baas has the ability to be a really good player and he flashed some of it when healthy. Like Beatty it’s about his health, if healthy he will handle the center position at or near a probowl level. This will turn-out to be a formidable offensive line this season when or if they all get it together. He too did a good job one on one with Wilfork.
ROG – Chris Snee – 6’3” 305 9yrs – The generals son-in-law, everybody was like “it figures, the coaches son-in-law is drafted higher than expected.” He proved everybody wrong and is one of the best there is. Recently he has struggled with injuries and is getting a little long in the tooth as offensive lineman go. I think Snee has a lot left in the tank and will play at a high level. It’s all about being healthy for Snee and the offensive line as a group. Snee is a mauler who consistently gets into the second level.
ROT – David Diehl – 6’5” 305 10yrs – I am putting Diehl here as a gesture of respect for an aging warrior. A 5th round draft pick who played every position on the offensive line except for center and has been a loyal Giants player. I think his best years are behind him and this might be his last year. It’s possible if he rededicates himself to football he might prolong his career as a backup with the Giants or another team. The Giants drafted some talented offensive lineman not to sit on the bench though.
OG/OT – Sean Locklear – 6’4” 310 9yrs – Another good signing of a solid player by Jerry Reese. Locklear can play a few positions on the offensive line, like Boothe he is versatile. If Beatty is not ready expect him to be the starting LOT or if nobody distinguishes themselves he might be the starting ROT. His real value is as a backup in case of injury or just to keep other players fresh, maybe as a 6th lineman on short yardage plays. He won’t embarrass himself, but he won’t wow anybody with his play.
ROT – James Brewer – 6’6” 320 2yrs – Brewer is a talented athlete and moves well for a man his size, he showed that at the combine in 2011. As a tackle he is a little raw, he needed to improve his technique and strength. So many offensive linemen that come into the NFL have some issues that take time to fix. One is knee bend, you must bend at the knees to get leverage, not the waist. One advantage he has and it should help him develop more quickly is that his college team used similar blocking schemes, at least that’s the hope of the Giants. He has the size and athletic ability to be a standout ROT, we’ll find out if he has developed enough to take the job. If he improved his strength and footwork he should be able to beat out Diehl and Mosley for the position. Due to the lockout, lack of OTAs held his development back last season.
ROT – Brandon Mosley- 6’5” 318 R – Drafted in the 4th round, many had him ranked higher. Like Brewer he came from a college that used the same blocking schemes. On film he looks more advanced than Brewer did in college. He worked the zone scheme very well and did more complex work with the TE from what film I could get, it looked very similar to what the Giants use with their TEs. He also played against a higher level of competition than Brewer did in college. He had some real battles with talented defensive players, it’s possible he will beat out other players for the starting ROT position because of this. Even though Brewer has a year with the coaching staff, Mosley may be more advanced as a player in this scheme.
OC – Jim Cordle – 6’3” 320 2yrs – Cordle was a top rated college center at Ohio State in 2007. He had some injury issues and lost his starting job. The coach moved him around to play different positions as needed when finally healthy. This caused him to be overlooked by NFL teams come draft time. I do remember him being a very good center there, at one time ranked #2 in the nation at that position. He’s a hard worker and can play every position on the offensive line. Again like a broken car alarm it’s about health. If Big Jim can stay healthy he may be a dark horse, he’s the typical overachiever versatile offensive lineman the Giants love. I’ll be watching him, I’m sure he will see playing time to give Baas and Boothe time off this preseason.
LOT – Matt McCants – 6’7” 295 R – This player has the makings of a franchise left tackle, the reason he went late in the draft (6th round) was his inexperience and lack of stregth. He played in the same zone blocking scheme the Giants use so hopefully this gives him an edge and allows a quicker development, as with Brewer and Mosley. The fact is that he is raw but athletic with quick feet, a slow 40 did not help his draft status. He does need work in every aspect to his game but the ability is there, it will take a few seasons to find out exactly what the Giants have, he could be an all pro, a good solid player or a total bust, nobody knows. He knows he needs a lot of work and I’m sure he is putting in the time.
OG – Mitch Petrus – 6’3’ 315 3yrs – Petrus had a very good combine and showed great strength with 45 reps on the bench, of course his somewhat short arms helped there. He did play well when he was in the starting lineup. He moved well and did not miss many blocks. He has a good bend and nice footwork. He has to get stronger and more explosive, as a guard in the run game you want to see the player get a good push not just neutralize the defender. He does not get into the second level consistentaly like Snee does. I think he has the ability, a few times he did dominate. I do remember Shawn Andrews there and him just blowing out the defensive line, Mitch has a long way to go, I don’t think he will ever reach the play of Andrews, few have. Hopefully he can develop into either a good solid starter or backup. I would really like to see the Giants use a high pick to get a huge pile driving left guard but that’s not the way the Giants work.
OC/OG – Chris White – 6’2”303 8yrs – A journeyman offensive lineman that will be used for camp fodder, I don’t expect to see him on the roster come the start of the season.
OT – Joel Reinders – 6’8” 317 1yr – An interesting story, he was a Canadian football player that was signed by the Browns just from a YouTube video of his college play. He was very highly rated for the CFL draft, Cleveland cut him in 2010 and the Giants signed him in 2012. He is a HUGE man with long arms that moves very well. There is a lot of potential to develop Reinders into at least a serviceable player. It’s all about learning the game and the techniques for the position. He will probably be on the practice squad this season and continue development his for the Giants.
OG – Stephen Goodin – 6’6” 310 R – An undrafted free agent who can play a few positions on the offensive line. He received a phone call pretty soon after the draft and signed with the Giants. I found what looks like a small amount of film and he looked good. Goodin played at a small school, his coach said that he looks like an NFL player it’s up to the NFL to turn him into one. I take that as him meaning he has the frame and athletic ability he just needs to be coached up. He might end up on the practice squad if he makes it through final cuts.
OT – Selvish Capers – 6’5” 315 1yr – Drafted by the Redskins in the 7th round of the 2010 draft, Capers was on the practice squad until being cut in 2011. He was originally projected as being a third round pick until a poor showing at the Senior Bowl and Combine, he was branded as being an underachiever. He has been on the Giants practice squad since 2011. Capers showed great promise in college and has good athletic ability, plus long arms at 34 inches. I guess he’s one of those players who never put in the time and effort to become a good NFL player. He has stiff competition this season and if he doesn’t show anything I can’t see him being retained by the Giants.
That’s 15 players, I don’t see the Giants holding onto 15 offensive linemen. The Giants have 4 draft picks that they have invested in, Brewer, Petrus, McCants and Mosley. They all have upside and potential, the Giants do not give up on draft picks, they give them every chance to work hard and develop into good players. They believe in their coach’s ability to teach and motivate these players, that’s the way the Giants do things. The way Reese drafts is to pick players in the mid to late rounds with the athletic abilities over actual college production, take raw talented players and develop them as they also do with other team’s castoffs. There’s a long list of Giants players who are late round picks or castoffs that have helped win two super bowls. They also have a tendency to hang onto them longer than they sometimes should. Add those 4 to Sean Locklear, Beatty, Snee, Boothe, Baas and that’s 9 offensive lineman already on the roster, will the Giants make it 10 with Diehl? Or do the Giants go with 9 to make room for an extra TE or WR or even a DB? If they do it could mean Diehl might be sitting home waiting for a phone call like Chase Blackburn was.
It really all depends on the health of the Giants offensive lineman and development, especially Beatty. If not this next draft has a lot of offensive tackles and the Giants can draft one of quality even late in the first round. The 2012 season will say a lot about the direction the Giants go moving forward as Reese would say with the offensive tackle position. We still have to see what McCants can do, if anything. If those young players are slow to develop the Giants just might be looking at some late veteran cuts or is it possible that Adam Koets makes a comeback, he was playing very well before he got injured. Reese is always open to minor trades to fill in a gap, this is a team looking for another super bowl. If there is a hole he finds a way to fill it, quickly. I hope Diehl works hard and regains some of his past abilities to solidify the offensive line at right tackle, last season was a big disappointment, he looked old and slow.
Reinders and Cordle will probably be on the practice squad, I don’t see putting any of those draft picks on the practice squad unless they outright stink up the joint, too many teams need offensive lineman and you risk losing an ex-draft pick. White, Goodin and Capers will be cut unless miraculously one of them steps up to a much higher level, although Goodin might just get in there somehow and it might be too early to give up on Capers. There’s always IR as a way to stash players.