The Giants selecting John Michael Schmitz in Round 2, making the Minnesota product the first pure center drafted this year, points to four positions along their offensive line being solidified. Schmitz earning the starting snapper gig would mean he accompanies Andrew Thomas, Evan Neal and Mark Glowinski on New York’s O-line.
With Glowinski stationed at right guard, left guard would seem the unit’s only question. That is, if Brian Daboll‘s draft-weekend assessment of Schmitz’s instant-starter capabilities turns out to be accurate. But the Giants are sending veteran Ben Bredeson into two position competitions, per the New York Post’s Ryan Dunleavy.
The 2021 trade acquisition is vying for both the left guard and center positions, with Dunleavy adding the ex-Raven should probably be considered the favorite at the LG spot. The Giants used a rotation at that position last season, platooning Bredeson and Nick Gates. Washington signed Gates in free agency, clearing a path for Bredeson to earn the job outright in a contract year. Bredeson is going against fellow contract-year blocker Shane Lemieux and 2022 third-round pick Joshua Ezeudu, per Dunleavy.
Lemieux held a starting job during the second half of the 2020 season, replacing Will Hernandez and taking over after the former starter recovered, but suffered a patellar tendon tear in September 2021. That career-stalling injury delayed Lemieux’s return until late November of last year, and the former fifth-round pick only suited up for one game last season. A toe injury added to Lemieux’s early-career health issues. Ezeudu, one of two ex-North Carolina guards the Giants drafted last year (along with fifth-rounder Marcus McKethan), played 290 offensive snaps as a rookie.
Pro Football Focus graded Glowinski, a longtime Colts starter, as a top-30 guard last season. It slotted Bredeson as the best of the rest, ranking him just outside the top 50. Bredson, a former fourth-round pick, has played guard more than center and should probably be considered a long shot to beat out Schmitz at the latter spot. With Bredeson, Lemieux, Ezeudu and McKethan rostered, along with ex-Steelers center J.C. Hassenauer and 2022 second-stringer Jack Anderson, the Giants will have some decisions to make when setting their final 53. McKethan did not play last year, suffering an ACL tear during the preseason.
None of these interior blockers is in the mix to be the team’s top tackle off the bench, with Matt Peart, Korey Cunningham and Tyre Phillips are battling for the swing gig behind Thomas and Neal. Phillips, claimed off waivers from the Ravens last year, made five starts in 2022 but worked behind the other two to start OTAs. Peart and Cunningham each have six career starts, though neither has seen much time since their respective rookie years. An outside addition to work behind Thomas and Neal should not be ruled out, per Dunleavy.
These O-line competitions will not heat up until training camp, obviously, as pads do not come on until August. Despite losing Gates and 2022 center starter Jon Feliciano in free agency, the Giants have a few options along their offensive front.