New York Giants Draft: Making the Case for Offensive Line at No. 11

Up next in our "Making the Case" series, we take a look at the pros and cons of drafting an offensive lineman at No. 11.
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To hear New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman tell it, the team is entirely on board with its young offensive linemen already on the roster.

That's understandable as if they weren't on board with that group, then someone needs to be fired. But what Gettleman didn't say was whether they had enough talent at that position unit.

Let's look at the offensive line and where it stands. Andre Thomas is set at left tackle. The presumption is that Shane Lemieux and Will Hernandez will slug it out for the starting left guard spot, and the "loser" of that competition will move to right guard. Nick Gates is set at center, and Matt Peart is penciled in at the right guard spot, assuming he doesn't lose the job to Nate Solder (who last played right tackle in the regular season as a rookie).

There are a few things wrong with making assumptions. Hernandez and Lemieux have been career left guards. While we know that Hernandez has been cross-training at right guard under the watchful eye of offensive line guru Duke Manyweather, making the switch from one side to the other doesn't happen overnight and can take scores and scores of reps to develop a comfort level.

This same argument can be made at right tackle, where Solder and Peart are presumed to be competing for the job.

Now add to all this to the fact that quarterback Daniel Jones is entering Year 3 of his development, a very critical year. The front office has added playmakers to the offense, which should eliminate that excuse. It also feels good about the offensive line, again, about what they have. But can we all agree that the offensive line is not yet a finished product?

That's why a strong case can be made for the Giants to draft an offensive lineman at No. 11. Penei Sewell probably won't make it out of the top 10. 

Still, if Northwestern's Rashawn Slater is there, one can make a strong case for the Giants to draft him, starting with the versatility aspect. 

According to various draft scouting reports, Slater can play either right guard or right tackle, the two spots where the Giants currently have the most significant question marks on their offensive line.

Now, an argument against drafting an offensive lineman at No. 11, especially one that right now strongly projects at right guard, is that it might not be the best value for the team. 

But a counterargument can be made in saying that the long-term health of Jones and the big expectations for the offense this year would outweigh any criticism if the Giants were to draft Slater at No. 11.

And at the end of the day, isn't the long-term health of Jones and the Giants offense the most important thing?

For more on why the Giants should draft an offensive lineman at No. 11, check out the video above.


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