Casserly: Left tackle is Giants’ most urgent need

Former Redskins’ GM Charley Casserly, now an NFL Network analyst, was asked this morning about what he still sees as the Giants’ needs going into the NFL Draft.

“I think they have a number,” Casserly said. “Center is a question. J.D. Walton, they’ve signed him, but he’s hasn’t played in a year and a half. I think wide receiver needs depth. Tight end, they’re very young. Defensive tackle, they need some depth there.”

“But, I’ll tell you the number one thing to me is the left tackle position,” he said. “They have got to get that improved. They’ve got to get it stabilized. It affects the whole offensive line, and more importantly, it affects the confidence of Eli Manning.

“This is the draft they’ll be able to get it done.”

John Fennelly, Lead Writer

If the Giants are going to solve the LT issue in 2014, they’re going to have to do one of two things, and they both involve moving incumbent Will Beatty. The first one would be to replace Beatty right now through the draft. There’s wild mocks that have Jake Matthews falling to the Giants and others that have the Giants selecting Taylor Lewan.

The likely scenario would be to swap Beatty (if healthy) with RT Justin Pugh. They have Charles Brown now at the swing position to spell Beatty and they can bring in a middle-round draft pick to groom at tackle. This is a risky plan, however. Pugh handled himself well at RT last season, but asking him to take on LT at this level may end up not being the upgrade they need.

The problem with taking an OT in Round One is that Giants may not be able to pass on Pitt DT Aaron Donald at No. 12. He is a higher-rated player than Lewan and also fills a need. The positive: Donald could turn the Giants into a top-five defense. The negative: Eli is still exposed.

The Giants will probably be on the outside looking in on a quality tackle with their second-rounder, which is the 43rd overall selection. They will probably take the best available player there, too, such as a TE, WR or DE.

So, it appears the Giants will be seeking a tackle anywhere from the third round on. It’s possible they’ll find one. They could get lucky and land Tennessee’s Ja’Waun James, who in many’s eyes is as good as any of the top tackles in the draft.




27 comments
Matthew Cohen
Matthew Cohen

If we are to judge by 2013, we have no quarterback either (Eli really stunk in 2013) and the Giants will stink in 2014. 

My point is that Beatty had a bad year in 2013.  Why are we assuming that he's washed up?  He was a perfectly solid left tackle in 2012, which is why the Giants gave him all of that money.  

The real question is what will happen to Center and right guard in 2014?  Snee may be done and we don't know what he can do in 2014.  Walton had 1/4 season of decent play in his career so far.  Behind that is a whole lot of nothing.

mcfly
mcfly

I've said it multiple times, I'll say it again - football is won in the trenches. If Lewan is on the board we should draft him. Lewan gives us the ability to reshuffle the line, putting everyone in a position they are more suited for (not including Snee in this equation). Beatty would go to RT, Pugh to RG. Still leaves holes at C and TE, but 4 out of 6 for the next 4 years (who are all fairly young) is a very good start.

If Lewan is not on the board, then pray that Donald is. Our dline is getting thin, and a DT that can rush is a hard find. His size isn't a huge issue because he makes up for it in quickness of the block. Also, we don't run a 3-4 - we don't need DTs that clog holes, we need guys that get off the line.

joeknix
joeknix

Protecting Eli and getting out of the bottom of the league in rushing yardage should have been the #1 and #2 priority this off-season and both can be done by fixing the line.  Yet here we are having released Baas and replacing him with someone who has played LESS than Bass over the last 2 years.  We still have a hole at OT and Beatty should be moved inside after an awful 2013.  The only solid upgrade was Schwartz on the line.  I will be SHOCKED if the Giants do anything other than get an OT in the first round.


Please leave Pugh alone.  It just goes to show how desperate the Giants were last year at the line since TC doesn't like using his young pups so early on.  Pugh just starting figuring things out in the 2nd half of the season and now we want to move him around?  No thank you.  Yes, I know physically he can do it but I'd rather just keep him where he is and let him continue to master that right side.


De La Puente is still sitting out there for the taking and we keep picking up filler guys with our limited cap when we have 2 legit open positions of need on the starting offensive line still (LT and C).  Uggh!

mike23
mike23

Was there not a quality left tackle in free agency that the giants could have signed to improve that spot, they have spent some money this off season but Left tackle was and continues to be an area of concern to protect Eli etc....and it still remains one. 

Peter Sinapi
Peter Sinapi

It's funny that a lot of people have said the Giants won't draft a LB because they don't value LBs and hadn't taken one in the first round since Carl Banks. However, they have taken exactly 1 DT since 1980, William Joseph at 25, which is not exactly an impact 1st round slot.

A stud tackle like Lewan would be great. Justin Gilbert would be a great pick with 2015 in mind, similar to how they drafted Prince when they already had a solid CB group. But to me you don't draft "depth" at 12. However, I think there are only 12-13 elite type players in this draft. And the Giants might have to settle. My realistic players top 5 - Ebron falls a spot based on some bad reports of late.

1) Evans

2) Lewan

3) Ebron

4) Gilbert

5) Donald

Brian Bannon
Brian Bannon

Clearly Beatty didn't have a great season last year, but neither did anyone else on that offensive line besides Pugh, there's been an upgrade at guard with Schwartz and some good depth signings to go with the young guys that were already on the roster, getting a guy like Donald that has some power and speed up the middle to put along side Hankins would be a nice pair in the middle, then in the 2nd there's a possibility that a guy like Morgan Moses, Joel Bitonio or Ja'Waun James could still be there

jaymanjay
jaymanjay

John,

How does taking Donald help Eli improve? THe owner said the OFFENSE was BROKEN.  How do you justify taking a tiny DT in the first.  We could use another DT but it not s Must.  We MUST soldify the offense line there are too many question marks to think ELi wont suffer again. 

Beatty besides just being aweful broke his leg so he has a lot to prove.  The center position is question mark as well as guard will Snee stay healthy dont bet on it.  By drafting Lewan or even Martin you resolve some of these issues in one swoop.  You plug in Lewan on the Left and move Beatty or one of the signing to the right.  You can then move Pugh to Center or guard.

jaymanjay
jaymanjay

John, I strongly disagree with your perspective on this.

First, Lewan just based on talent alone much higher rated than Donald. Lewan would have been the best Tackle in last year draft. That says something about the top 3 or four tackle in this years draft.

Second, LT is a more important position than DT. So even if Donald who I believe is overrated at this point if equal is talent I take the LT because an Elite LT is more important to the productivity of a team than an elite DT. DT is an important position just not as Important as LT. But this is besides the point if not for Lewans person issues the giants would probably have no shot at him at all and my not have one.

Third, This infatuation with Donald is getting a little out of hand. The giants have a need for debth at DT but is Donald the answer to that. The giants have always wanted to stop the run. How does a 280 lb 6"0 tackle do that?

Fourth, even if Lewan is gone and Evans is gone and Donald is right there I still dont take him. I trade down or I select Zach Martin. People need to get there priority straight. Another season like Eli had and we will go no where. You will have a better defense, but with Eli throwing the ball away with happy feet our defense will be regularly starting off in bad field position.

cole3244
cole3244

you can never go wrong strengthening the d and bpa is foremost, let the new oc help eli be more judicious with ball security than he has been in the past he is quite capable of doing that.

Matthew Cohen
Matthew Cohen

@mcfly He supposedly threatened to rape a girl if she accused his friend of raping her.  This was confirmed by other football players.  He may be off the board altogether for all we know. 

Peter Sinapi
Peter Sinapi

Protecting Eli is great, but who is he throwing the ball to? Those WRs are not great. Randle is averag and makes a ton of mistakes. JJ was about to get cut last year at this time, is he really a sure thing? Cruz will be doubled all year, how will he go back to being an impact player when he is doubled? Manningham was average when he was here, now I'm not even sure he is average still. All of their upsides are good but I'm not banking on that happening. If Lewan is there and no offensive weapons are available then go ahead and take him. And you better hope and pray he isn't going to jail.

Brian Bannon
Brian Bannon

@Peter Sinapi Tampa traded Mike Williams to Buffalo today for a 6th rd. pick, that brings the chances of Mike Evans dropping out of the top 10 even further

Michael Stewart
Michael Stewart

@jaymanjay The Giants have invested a ton of money on Beatty and I believe they won't give up on him so quickly. With that being said, I agree with you regarding re-arranging the personal on the OL. I have always stated that Beatty should more to RT and despite having success as a rookie at RT, Pugh is good enough to move inside (most likely guard and not center). I am not confident that Snee can return to his old form of 2 years old. Jerry and Brown are solid backups, but not the solution long term. The same can be said of Walton as well. I believe the Giants will  draft a OT and a Center in this years draft, but neither in the 1st round.  (Assuming that a player like Robinson doesn't fall into their laps).  Antonio Richardson could be available through rounds 2/3 and JaWuan James through rounds 3/4. Both are big and very capable of being a quality starting LT in the NFL.

At the center position, Martin, Swanson, Stork and Larson should be available through rounds 2-6.

Giants need an impact player in the 1st round. Now who that player is and who could be available at pick 12 is still unclear. Many believe it to be Donald, Lewan and Barr as the top 3 candidates. Still not sure which player it will be, but I do have a hunch it will be one of the three mentioned.

Michael Stewart
Michael Stewart

@jaymanjay You made some interesting points and allow me to respond to each one>

1. Based on many scouting reports/grading the prospects. Lewan slightly grades higher than Donald and not by much to use as a debate.

2. This years draft, the LT position has more depth than the DT position.

3. Donald can penetrate and disrupt opposing running game. That's how a 6'0/280 DT stop the run. Look at his highlights on youtube and see how many times he has either made tackles behind the line of scrimmage or disrupted the play so his teammates can make the play.

4. Trading down is a possibility and in a deep draft should be considered if your targeted player or players are off the board.

John Fennelly
John Fennelly

@jaymanjay  I would not be tooting the horn for Donald if several people I trust in this business weren't so high on him. He's an inside guy that can rush the passer. His size matters not because he's got great leverage.


Lewan will likely be gone. His personal issues have not affected his draft stock at all. A huge smokescreen. But if it were up to me, I'd take him if he were there.

mcfly
mcfly

Your points are valid, but the skill players can be more easily found in the later rounds of this draft. Also, I wouldn't sell Randle short until after we see what he can do this year.

Peter Sinapi
Peter Sinapi

Yup saw that as well. I've been trumpeting Evans for about 2 months now since I realized that Watkins would be gone by 12.

jaymanjay
jaymanjay

@Michael Stewart The same arguement can be made for taking a tackle in the later rounds.  Evan if Lewan is gone you Zach Martin who actually is the exact versitle type of linement the giants love.  If you can just scoop up elite LT in lower rounds why doesn't everyone just do that. If elite LT's just grow on trees why burn top ten selections on them.  The reason is the elite guys go and by the later rounds the bottom drops out. 

Neither Barr or Donald help Eli get better and since that should be priority number one I dont see ho they are justifiable picks. 

Matthew Cohen
Matthew Cohen

@Michael Stewart @jaymanjay It easier to get a decent left tackle than a defensive tackle that can rush the passer.  The last time the Giants had 3 great rushers at once (Tuck, Osi and JPP), they harassed Tom Brady into a defeat in the Super Bowl.

Matthew Cohen
Matthew Cohen

@John Fennelly @jaymanjay We really don't know about Lewan.  The public nature of the rape accusations is relatively recent.  I'm sure teams are investigating.

Players have dropped because they smoked weed.  In college.  IF pot is harmful, it's harmful to yourself.  Raping another human being is substantially worse and if these allegations are true (and they were confirmed) it's pretty sick. Do the Giants really want another Big Ben at left tackle?  I wouldn't.

Michael Stewart
Michael Stewart

@jaymanjay @Michael Stewart If the Giants only had 1 pick in the draft, then without a doubt selecting a LT in the 1st round is a no brainer. However; the Giants have 7 picks pre draft and there are quality LT through rounds 1-4.

Matthew Cohen
Matthew Cohen

@Michael Stewart @Matthew Cohen@jaymanjayThe same thing but I don't have enough confidence in them to say that a left tackle grades out at slightly better than a defensive tackle.  It's like saying measuring with my hand, my daughter is .1 millimeter taller than a German Shepard.  Wit large measurement error, it's very hard to make statements about small differences.

Michael Stewart
Michael Stewart

@Matthew Cohen @Michael Stewart @jaymanjay So by making that statement. How do you base your evaluation on these prospects. Personally, I spent hours looking at video and read a lot of articles by many knowledgeable people. Its my job to do this and I don't expect others to do the same if it's not a job. This is not to say that I have the answers, absolutely not. However; I do feel comfortable discussing most of the prospects because I research them and refer to other resources. There is not one expert out there that has seen every single game of every single top prospect. All use the media in different forms to gather information.