Big Blue View, Myth's and questions being asked:
Do the Giants now have a good offensive line?
|Baldwin projects that the Giants will have the 24th-best pass protecting OL in the NFL. His prediction uses 2021 Pro Football Focus grades for the projected starters from Ourlads, except for rookies, for which he uses historical year 1 data for previously drafted offensive lineman in different positions in the draft. It tries to correct for players returning from injury this year. It produces a predicted expected points added (PEPA) for each OL, weighted by the importance of each position (T > G > C); that number is the basis for the ranking.
The chart also shows the percentile ranking of each position group. For the Giants, tackle is now a position of relative strength with Andrew Thomas and Evan Neal, though it is not yet projected by Baldwin to be among the best. Why? Because first-year offensive tackles often take time to adjust. There are many more poor-to-mediocre right tackles than left tackles getting a lot of playing time in the NFL, and there are almost twice as many very good-to-excellent LTs than RTs. Obviously the NFL puts what it considers its best OTs on the left side as a general rule.
Are good pass blockers also good run blockers?
|There is indeed some positive correlation between run blocking and pass protection prowess, but there is tremendous scatter. Run blocking does seem to be the most basic skill required of an OT in the NFL: There are no offensive tackles getting significant snaps with run block grades much under 40, but there are seven with pass block grades lower than that. (The player with the awful pass and run block grades in the lower left is none other than ex-Giant Bobby Hart.) Restricting the chart to tackles who played at least 500 snaps gives a similar result.
The bottom line is that while there are plenty of offensive tackles who both pass and run block well, quite a few of the best pass blockers are not good run blockers and vice-versa. The Giants are hoping they got the most versatile OT of the class in Neal, and that both run- and pass-blocking will be improved in 2022.
Does a team need a good OL to reach the playoffs?
|Many Giants fans assume that until the offensive line is fixed, the Giants cannot be a playoff team. The Cincinnati Bengals have pretty much proven that not to be true. The Detroit Lions have shown that a team can be bad even with a great OL. But on average, do playoff teams have better offensive lines than non-playoff teams?
The cluster of points on the diagram now shifts up and to the right, and the correlation between run and pass blocking is stronger, so in some sense there is indeed better offensive tackle play on playoff teams than non-playoff teams. But there is still large scatter - there were plenty of mediocre OTs in the post-season last year. So if the OL is not completely fixed this year, don’t despair
Are left tackles better than right tackles?
|This is a subject of much disagreement among fans. Historically it was thought that teams placed their best OT on the left side, where the defense’s best edge defender was usually lined up, because that is the blind side of most quarterbacks. But these days, edge defenders move around from one side to the other, QBs will roll out to either side, and some feel that the distinction no longer matters. In particular, fans who lamented the Giants taking Andrew Thomas over Tristan Wirfs in 2020 seemed unconcerned that Wirfs played only right tackle in college and plays only right tackle for Tampa Bay.
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