It’s often said in the NFL that teams need to be strong up the middle in order to have a chance at contention. That saying indicates that the center and guard positions on offense need to be well fortified, as well as the tackle position on defense. At present, the Giants’ talent up the middle on offense is suspect at best, and could stand to get better if quarterback Daniel Jones wants to make a third-year leap in his NFL career.
The Giants don’t really have many long-term options at guard or center on the roster. Centers Spencer Pulley and Jonotthan Harrison are both free agents after the 2021 season, as is guard Will Hernandez. While Hernandez has been a decent NFL player, no one in that group figures to be with the team much past this season, so New York would be well served to invest in those areas in the upcoming 2021 NFL Draft.
Who are some interior offensive linemen the Giants might consider selecting in the 2021 NFL Draft?
There’s a spirited debate about whether Vera-Tucker will be best suited to play tackle or guard at the next level. There are some physical reasons (such as Vera-Tucker’s arm length) that have some scouts believing he’s best suited to be a guard, but that would be the best place for the Giants to put him considering the construction of their roster.
The Giants are already decently well equipped at offensive tackle in 2021, with a triumvirate of Andrew Thomas, Nate Solder and Matt Peart. According to Pro Football Focus, Vera-Tucker profiles as the best interior lineman prospect in the draft, which would be a huge boost for a Giants team that could use better play on that part of the line.
Humphrey has been the starting point of a tremendous Oklahoma Sooners offense that plays a professional-style brand of football, and would likely have little trouble transitioning to the NFL. As one might expect, given the Oklahoma brand of offense, Humphrey was more of a mobile lineman who would pounce laterally after delivering clean snaps out of the shotgun.
His projected draft range is a little inconvenient from the Giants’ perspective, as he is slated to go decently after their pick in the first round, but well before their pick in the second round. If the Giants are really in on the Sooners’ center, they might want to trade back to acquire an extra pick and still get their man in the middle.
While there is much talk about what position Vera Tucker will best fit in at the next level, those same conversations have revolved around Northwestern offensive lineman Rashawn Slater in the past. The length of his arms is also a talking point, but regardless, Slater had an impressive college resume.
In 2019, while playing at left tackle, Slater more than held his own against Ohio State and the number two overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, Chase Young. The Giants could decide to initially play Slater at guard, and move him outside in future years if Nate Solder moves on—but he could have another chance to lock horns with Young, who now plays with the Washington Football Team.