No one expected the renovation of the Giants' offensive line to be a quick fix. It was not a paint-and-spackle sort of job, the kind of project that requires some touching up by a weekend DIYer. This is a complete gut job, the redistribution of essential parts, and eventually, if the Giants are lucky, a brand-new look for the unit that will be charged with nothing less than protecting Eli Manning, opening holes to revive the running game and re-establishing the franchise's offensive identity.
No, a free-agency trip to Home Depot to pick up guard Geoff Schwartz and a few other pieces of hardware isn't going to cut it. The Giants don't want what happened last year -- a near-complete disintegration of the offensive line that was a key component in their first losing season in nearly a decade -- to happen again. So they demolish and rebuild. From the bottom up.
From the draft up.
"We have work to do still on the offensive line," general manager Jerry Reese said last week. "We brought some offensive linemen in, but we're still going to try to get players on the offensive line."
There is a good chance that a year after selecting tackle Justin Pugh, the Giants will spend another first-rounder on the same position group, marking the first time they'll do that in back-to-back years since 1990-91, when they drafted running backs Rodney Hampton and then Jarrod Bunch. The last time the Giants stocked up on young offensive linemen with first-round picks in successive years was 1988-89, when they selected tackle Eric Moore (with tackle Jumbo Elliott taken in the second round) and then guard Brian Williams.
Picking an offensive lineman is usually not an exciting process, but this one could come with some drama and decision-making, particularly if Michigan's Taylor Lewan and Notre Dame's Zack Martin are both available when the Giants are on the clock Thursday night.
Lewan is a tackle, period, and although he has more of an upside than Martin, he also comes with some off-the-field issues, including three misdemeanor assault charges pending for a May 19 arraignment. The Giants typically stay away from players with character questions early in the draft. But on an offensive line that has lacked some nastiness, his off-field issues may not be an entirely bad thing.
Martin played tackle for Notre Dame, but many project him as a guard. Reese said he probably could even play center, which might be where the potential heir apparent to Chris Snee starts his career. "I just see him as a good offensive lineman," Reese said, passing on the opportunity to peg him for a position.
The Giants covet versatility -- it's one of the things they love about Pugh -- but Reese made it clear that the inability to play multiple positions would not be a deal-breaker.
"We're not going to pass up a left tackle who we think is only a left tackle because he can't play guard or center or different positions," he said. "But the more you can do in this league, the better off you are."
And let's face it: At this point, the Giants need just about everything when it comes to their offensive line.