New York Giants fans and many pundits who cover the team (present company included) were surprised that general manager Dave Gettleman did not select an offensive lineman in this year’s NFL draft.
Count former NFL offensive lineman Brian Baldinger in that group who attempted to apply some logic to the Giants’ only miscue last weekend in Cleveland.
“It surprised me a whole lot, because I thought they lost their best lineman in Kevin Zeitler. I know Nate Solder is coming back, but he’s never played right tackle, and they’re asking him to play there after missing a whole year…and he wasn’t very good there at left tackle,” Baldinger said on an interview on WFAN earlier this week.
“When I look at the roster, I like what I saw out of Shane Lemieux, but Will Hernandez looks like a guy who hasn’t improved since he was a second-round pick in 2018. Zach Fulton looks like he might come in and win a job, and Matt Peart showed flashes, but I would’ve thought they’d have tried to upgrade and create more competition. Maybe they think because they drafted and played three guys last year, and then they got Fulton and Solder in the building, that they had enough to work with.”
Giants general manager Dave Gettleman explained to the media that the opportunity to select a lineman did not materialize and that the team has a lot more confidence in the offensive line than the public and the media does.
Baldinger, a guard/center who played a decade in the league in the 1980s and 1990s, was a Duke product by way of Massapequa High School. He obviously has taken an interest in the career of another Duke product, Giants quarterback Daniel Jones. He offered a prediction for Jones this season.
“Daniel should have his best year, because it’s the best team he has had around him and they have stability,” Baldinger said. “I think Joe Judge did a great job and they really came on later in the season, but Daniel has to take care of the football. You can talk about the offensive line or the weapons, but at the end of the day, you have to stop turning it over — not for a week, but for long stretches. He just has to keep the turnovers to a reasonable margin; a lot less than it is now.”