Big Blue View Mailbag: Offensive Line, UDFAs, More Questions

We’ve got to the final Big Blue View mailbag before your New York Giants open their 2022 training camp. Let’s answer a few questions while you wait for football to return.

Jeno Phillips asks: There’s clearly some justifiable optimism for the O-Line this season. Potential make-up should be greatly improved in preventing running. For me, the traffic blocking problems are more confined to the interior. It seems to me that in the last year there has been a lot of easy pressure in the middle and inside. Do you know if the statistics support that?

There may be more questions regarding this aspect or protection than the interferences that hold up. It relies on individual and part coordination (the stunts killed them last year while opponents fed on that weakness).

Also, I didn’t read much about the nature of Thomas’ ankle surgeries. Is there any medical risk of this becoming a chronic problem for him?

Ed says: Gino, what I can say is that Will Hernandez finished 58th and Skora died 72 of the 85 qualifying tackles last season with the efficiency of blocking passes, according to Pro Football Focus. Unfortunately, Mark Glowinsky was 77th. Of the positions, Billy Price ranked 26th out of the 40 qualifying spots. So, yeah, there was more compression in the middle than was ideal.

For Andrew Thomas, as I understand it, the hope is that this second surgery will alleviate long-term concerns. It is clear, however, that ankle surgeries in consecutive years are not ideal. Thomas told the team’s official website that he is “ready to get ready” for training camp.


Joel Storey asks: Looking at the Giants’ 2022 offensive line draft picks and free agency buyouts, it seems to me that the most common thread is diversity. I was particularly struck by the choice of Joshua Ezeudu, who occasionally changed O-line locations from play-to-play in North Carolina. I wonder if this kind of in-game diversity is a harbinger of things to come for the giants’ O-line.

We’ve already heard how Brian Dabol and Mike Kafka were moving their backs, wide receivers and narrow ends around other positions in the attack during OTAs. We’ve also heard that Wink Martindale runs a “centerless” defense, constantly moving his players around. It is said that he does not even want his players to use position assignments, such as linebackers, linebackers or defensive end.

So, in that vein, do you think Joe Schoen and Brian Daboll have hired skilled offensive linemen in more than one position, so they can eventually move them in-game or from game to game, in the hopes of making things less predictable and more Difficulty opposing defenses? Or do you think Schoen and Daboll are simply looking for the best and as many options as possible, taking a more traditional approach to building an O-line, i.e. identifying the best attackers for each position, putting them in place, and hopefully they will turn into a cohesive unit?

Ed says: Joel, I think you’re overthinking. Moving players from one place to another in the game is the last thing any coach wants to have to do. Ask any player and it will be very difficult because of the different situations, different techniques and different types of players that you have to block in each position. Being able to do what Ezeudu did in-game in North Carolina is a rare and valuable skill.

Having a diverse offensive navigator is critical. Schoen isn’t doing something other GMs before him haven’t tried for years. There are only 53 locations in the list, and 46 locations on game days. Teams often enter matches with only seven active offensive linemen. Thus, they must have some players who can play multiple positions efficiently. You never know where the need will arise.


Edwin Gummers asks: After the 2018 season, both New York and the national football media began discussing Saquon vs. Darnold has been at it for a long time. In hindsight, it should have been Nelson’s choice, but that’s the water under the bridge now.

With trade returning to last year’s draft, the Giants passed Slater (Pro Bowler, 2nd Team All Pro), and Parsons (Pro Bowl, 1st Team All Pro, and DROY).

However, passing on both allowed the team to draft Neal and Thibodeaux. So what debate are we going to have in the media in the next few years?

Parsons vs. Thibodeau, Neil vs. Slater or both?

Both draft picks this year have high expectations of living up to Parsons and Slater’s performance and I’m curious if and how the media will pick up on this.

Ed says: Edwin, I think you could look at him as Micah Parsons vs. Kayvonne Tibodo or Evan Neal vs. Rashawn Slater. There is nothing wrong with making those individual comparisons. I don’t think any Giants fan would have been terribly unhappy had the Giants stayed 11th and drafted any of these players a year ago.

In my view, it is much more accurate than that. It comes down to whether the buildup of what the Giants have gained by sealing the deal is worth passing on to Parsons and Slater.

In the end, the trade allowed the Giants to end up with Tony Cadarius, Aaron Robinson, Evan Neal, and Daniel Bellinger. Ultimately, will these four players combined be more valuable to the Giants than Parsons or Slater?

This is how I look at the situation. I don’t know how other members of the media would portray it.


Steve asks: Who starts next to Martinez? McFadden? There is more depth at the edge. Can someone like Ximines be swapped inside? Can’t be Crowder again, right? Please say no.

Ed says: Steve, he could definitely be Ty Crowder again. At least initially. Sorry, but that is the reality. There is optimism about Micah McFadden, but it was a pick for the fifth role. Same with Darian Beavers, sixth round pick. I think in sub-packs, a player like Dane Belton in the fourth round might replace Crowder on occasion.

The only player who might outshine the viewer is Cam Brown. He played indoors in Pennsylvania, and took some shots there in the spring. Auchan Siemens? inside? What makes anyone think they can do it? Honestly, I would be very surprised if Ximines made the list.


ctscan asks: I’ve been reading through the profiles of the 90-man roster as usual and I’ve been thinking about the optimism/buzz/interest we feel in the state of the Giants, and perhaps the wider NFL fan community, and we seem to feel the uncoated free agents immediately after the draft and all that training camp. Perhaps this is the influence of Victor Cruz here in New York, but it seems that people are usually more hopeful of finding a diamond in rough condition among the unmade free agents than among the late players. I’m sure I want to see what Austin Allen can do!

Anyway, is this optimism even born? What is the success rate of seventh-round draft picks versus non-drafted free agents? I’m sure you and your man have a fantastical statistic that defines this, right?

Ed says: CT, everyone loves the “The Undesigned Gamer Makes Well” story. Many fans think “Well, he’s drafted, so he should definitely do that” and “He’s a rude guy, so maybe he doesn’t have much of a chance.

Players drafted in rounds 5, 6, and 7 are actually posts. They are lottery tickets. No player drafted on Day 3 should ever be said to have been “tuned” as an NFL player. These guys are generally considered spare parts from the moment they were drafted, and the story is when they made a long and successful career for themselves.

The truth is, there are a lot more unskilled players in the NFL than there are seventh-round picks. think about it. Including the make-up picks, there are approximately 35 seventh-round picks each year. If every NFL team brings a dozen unoccupied agents into training camp, which is probably average, that’s 384 unoccupied players in camp versus 35 picks in the seventh round.

Listwire has made a piece detailing the 2021 NFL rosters. It went like this:

  • round 1 – 263 players
  • Round 2 – 223
  • Round 3 – 226
  • Round 4 – 184
  • Round 5 – 146
  • Round 6 – 138
  • Round 7 – 94
  • Unformulated free agents – 415

Crazy, right? Not right. Not when you remember there are seven rounds in the draft, 53 spots on the roster and 350 or so unstructured players vying for jobs at each camp. Coaches often say they don’t care where a player is drafted. It’s not quite right – guys who are drafted in the first round or make big money get more chances just because of the investment made, but NFL teams need to find useful uncredited players.

I found an incredibly well written 2018 dissertation from a Claremont McKenna College student on the subject. This is part of the conclusion that Trey Smith wrote:

“…in general, the probability of being drafted out of the NFL is higher for non-drafted free agents than for draft picks in the seventh round, but there appears to be an advantage in not drafting…also, I found evidence that kickers, punters, and The defensive line tends to give the unoccupied free agents a better chance of surviving longer in the NFL.Given these two outcomes, it could well be that an unoccupied player could choose to either try with the Packers or Bengals, or he could try 29 to find a team that lacks a defensive line, kickers or gambler, assuming it plays that position.Through survival analysis, I also found that as unaccompanied players play more seasons, their survival estimates converge and eventually pass Draft Picks Estimates in Round 7. This may be due to the fact that there are a lot more non-drafted free agents than there are 7th-round picks in this sample, and therefore, the raw survival estimates are much worse to begin with for non-draft players stylists”.

Here is one of the many diagrams in the paper:

Read the paper for more details if you wish.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: