by Spiro Kasabian @nyspawtsguy_spi
The news dropped like a bomb for some New York Giant fans yesterday when it was announced that starting Right Guard, Kevin Zeitler, was going to be released. The writing has been on the wall for some time now, with the Giants being up against the NFL Salary Cap and Zeitler being paid like a Top 5 Guard despite his recent slip in play. The options were, take a pay cut or get cut, and the Giants ended up going with the latter.
I understand why Giant fans are worried about this. While Zeitler’s play was not living up to his salary, he was still the most consistent lineman that Giants have had over the past two years. For me, that is a low bar to set. The Giants should not be complacent with overspending on a player just because he was providing consistent play.
How Do the Giants replace Kevin Zeitler? I’m glad you asked.
Matt Feiler – Played Right Tackle and Guard for the Steelers. Judge will love his versatility. Only 28 years old. Good pass blocker and a decent run blocker. Bloomsburg Alumni like your boy!
Gabe Jackson – 29 years old. Solid player for his whole career and started 16 games for the Raiders last year while playing good football. Good pass blocker and can move bodies in the run game.
Richie Incognito – Englewood, NJ’s own is still a bully on the field (no longer off of it!). He’s 38 and at the end of the road, but he played well last year. Another victim of Oakland’s cap issues. Can be a stop-gap solution. Whether he is a Judge/Gettleman kind of guy is another matter altogether.
Kelechi Osemele – 31 and an injury risk. A stop-gap option that will not break the bank. Showed good things in 2020 before his season ended prematurely. Monster of a man.
Jon Feliciano – Just turned 29. Has the attitude you like to see out of a Guard, and he can play both spots. A very solid player for the Bills the past two years.
Lane Taylor – Injured a lot the past two years, but that should keep his price down. Solid Guard that can excel in the run game. Stop-gap solution.
Rashawn Slater – Yes, he is my OT1 in this draft. One of his best attributes is his versatility. Short arms might make him a more natural fit inside. Provides Pro Bowl potential just about anywhere on the line and could be your long-term starter at RG or RT (depending on how Peart develops). Legit option with the 11th pick.
Wyatt Davis – Dominant run blocker that can pull with his awesome athleticism. Just the kind of guy that Gettleman, Judge and Garrett are looking for in their run-heavy scheme. Tough player that is a plug and play option in Round 2.
Deonte Brown – An absolute tank at 360 lbs that is another dominant run blocker. Cannot physically be pushed around and is the definition of a Hog Mollie. Would be a very nice Day 3 selection.
Trey Smith – Can play Tackle but is best suited for either Guard spot. Another powerful Hog Mollie that will move people and dominate the line of scrimmage. Giants hired his former Head Coach, Jeremy Pruitt, who will have good insight into the player.
Landon Dickerson – Can play any of the three interior offensive line positions. Big, powerful, and smart. Durability concerns push him down from a Top 20 prospect to a guy that should be available in Round 2. Good player to take a risk on.
Aaron Banks – Day 3 guy from Notre Dame. Plug and Play.
Ben Cleveland – Day 3 player from UGA. Plays with Nasty Streak and is strong as hell.
Mr. Glass-Half-Full’s Take:
I think the Dave Gettleman and Joe Judge will have a very good plan to replace Zeitler. Gettleman’s job depends on getting this Offensive Line right, as this will be his last chance to do so. I think the Giants will sign a veteran Guard for under $7-8 million dolllars while drafting his eventual replacement in the first three rounds of the draft. That will set the Giants up with two good options to replace Zeitler at half the price.