The narrative that the New York Giants could have bolstered their chances this year by upgrading their offensive line through the NFL Draft doesn’t hold true, at least not through the first week of the NFL season. The Giants lost on Sunday night 19-3 at the Dallas Cowboys with their offensive line taking the brunt of the criticism.
It is admittedly a small sample size, but the offensive linemen selected after the Giants picked at No. 23 this past April didn’t exactly light things up. With that pick, the Giants took tight end Evan Engram, whose NFL debut rolled along nicely with five catches for 44 yards.
And while the Giants offensive line surely struggled, allowing three sacks and struggling to clear holes for the running backs (New York averaged just 2.9 yards per carry in their season opener), the immediate answer to help the offensive line wasn’t in the NFL Draft. At least not for this past Sunday.
So likely any offensive lineman taken instead of Engram would have been a wash at best in terms of helping protect quarterback Eli Manning.
According to Pro Football Focus, the six offensive linemen taken after Engram didn’t fare terribly well. Engram graded out at a 75.1 per the PFF evaluation, a number that was No. 18 among the 51 eligible tight ends.
Here are the grades given by Pro Football Focus to the six offensive linemen taken after the Giants picked at No. 23:
Ryan Ramczyk (No. 32) - 70.6 overall grade in Week 1 ranked 28th among 63 qualified tackles
Cam Robinson (No. 34) - 44.4 overall grade in Week 1 ranked 48th among 63 qualified tackles
Forrest Lamp (No. 38) - No offensive snaps in Week 1 - Out for Season
Ethan Pocic (No. 58) - No offensive snaps in Week 1
Dion Dawkins (No. 63) - 51.1 overall grade in Week 1 ranked 40th among 63 qualified tackles
Taylor Moton (No. 64) - No offensive snaps in Week 1
Those are numbers that certainly, albeit again with a small sample size, don’t point to an offensive lineman being able to immediately help the Giants this past Sunday. And while Ramczyk, the New Orleans Saints first round pick, certainly was solid in his debut, the remaining five offensive linemen taken after Engram’s selection either didn’t grade out very well, were injured or didn’t play.
This all says nothing, of course, about the Giants options in free agency that they didn’t pursue. They had (and still have) the salary cap space to make a run at a starting quality offensive lineman or two. It may not have been a Pro Bowl player but it could have been a solid contributor to help in a trickle down fashion.
But a late first round pick or Day 2 selection likely wouldn’t have helped them, at least not this past Sunday.