For almost every game in 2014, it seemed as if quarterback Eli Manning was scrambling around the backfield with the ball or the running game was halted almost immediately.
One of the many concerns for the New York Giants, that ended this past season at 6-10, is their offensive line.
The Giants O-Line finished the season No. 22 out of 32 teams in run blocking and 10th out of 32 in pass protection.
The Giants could look to free agency to fulfill their needs along the offensive line to bring more experience to the position and then use their first-round draft pick elsewhere.
Four-year-veteran Orlando Franklin could be one of the top offensive linemen on the Giants radar.
The 6-foot-7, 320-pound lineman started last year at left guard for Denver, but did start at right tackle for the first three seasons of his career. The ability to play multiple positions along the line makes him versatile giving the Giants coaching staff more options.
Franklin has a long wingspan, similar to former Giants right tackle Kareem McKenzie, who was 6-foot-6 and 330-pounds.
The 27-year-old has great technique, is relentless and can finish every play to the whistle.
The former Miami Hurricane has allowed just three sacks in the last two seasons including only one in 2014. If he’s willing to leave Denver, Franklin could give the Giants the much-needed run-blocking support they need.
The young veteran is also durable having only missed one game in his career. Durability is a key component to what the Giants should be looking for after their injury prone seasons of late.
At just 25-years-old, Clint Boling has been a big asset to the Cincinnati Bengals offensive line.
The versatile fourth-year pro has started every game, mainly at left guard (14 at left guard and two at right offensive tackle).
Boling was the key to the Bengals ranking third in the NFL for least sack yardage allowed (130) and fewest sacks allowed (23). He was part of the line that did not let up a sack for the first three games of the season for the first time in franchise history.
The 6-foot-5, 310-pounder prevented offensive turnovers with two fumble recoveries.
However, there is mutual interest between Boling and the Bengals for him to resign with the team. He’s Cincinnati’s top free agent and is ranked third for offensive guards, according to Pro Football’s rankings.
The number one offensive tackle, according to Pro Football’s rankings, is Bryan Bulaga.
In his first three seasons as a pro, he’s played 33 of his 37 starts at right tackle.
The 6-foot-5, 314-pound tackle was part of an offensive line that was ranked No. 11 in rushing yards and protected an injured Aaron Rodgers that carried the team to this past NFC Championship Game.
The five-year veteran has been extremely injury prone only playing nine games in 2012 and sitting out the entire 2013 season due to knee injury. This probably is a red flag for the Giants, but he did start 15 games in 2014 and is extremely dangerous to the opposition when healthy.
The Packers have expressed extreme interest in resigning the tackle.
Offensive tackle Derek Newton has been in the league for four years and started three of them.
Since being drafted to the Texans in 2011, the 27-year-old has played 30 of his 44 regular season games at right tackle.
The 6-foot-6, 313-pound Newton, has been durable and has been eligible to play in every game of every season so far in his career.
Newton is also ranked seventh on Pro Football’s rankings.
Mike Iupati is a three-time Pro Bowler and one of the best run-blocking guards in the NFL.
In 2014, the 6-5, 331-pound guard was +18.5 in run blocking, second best among active NFL guards. He also only let up seven sacks from the left guard position.
The five-year veteran has never scored a positive grade in pass blocking.
He is ranked second among guards according to Pro Football’s rankings.
It seems unlikely with their cap space that the 49ers will be able to sign the star guard so the Giants could potentially have an open man to sign a deal that could help their run-blocking tremendously.