The New York Giants roster is coming together nicely after a week of NFL free agency. The team kept the players they needed to keep, brought in some fresh blood, and is now preparing to fill holes with fringe free agents and in the 2023 NFL draft. As of now, the team’s biggest issue is the Giants’ center position, which they will need to address.
The biggest need after the first week of NFL free agency in the Giants’ center
It’s already been a busy NFL offseason for Giants general manager Joe Schoen and head coach Brian Daboll. They’ve managed to keep quarterback Daniel Jones and running back Saquon Barkley and add a few players in NFL free agency, like linebacker Bobby Okereke and wide receiver Parris Campbell.
While the Giants' roster is trending up overall, there are some issues along the offensive line, with the biggest being the Giants’ center position.
Most of the O-line is set for 2023. Cornerstone tackles Evan Neal and Andrew Thomas are the no-doubt starters on the ends, and last year’s NFL free agency signing, Mark Glowinski is penciled in at right guard.
Left guard is a little more up in the air, but there are plenty of candidates for the job. Shane Lemieux seems to have a leg up right now, but Wyatt Davis, Josh Ezeudu, Marcus McKethan, Jack Anderson, or Tyre Phillips could all come in and win it in training camp.
Now, the issue is, who will be the Giants’ center in 2023?
Last year, the Giants' roster featured two players who could man the position. Veteran Jon Feliciano came over with Daboll from Buffalo and started 15 games for the coach. Nick Gates filled in for Feliciano when he was out after returning from a gruesome broken leg in 2021.
Both centers are now with other teams, though. Gates signed with the Washington Commanders — the team he broke his leg against — and the San Francisco 49ers snatched up Feliciano.
That leaves guard Ben Bredson, who filled in briefly last season at center, as the only Giants “center” on the roster right now.
Bredson is just not going to cut it as the main man giving the ball to Daniel Jones this season, so the team is going to have to figure something out in the remainder of the NFL free agency period and/or in the 2023 NFL draft.
At this point, counting on NFL free agency to fill the hole isn’t going to be all that fruitful. The Giants are now up against the cap after all their offseason moves, and the center pool is dwindling by the day.
The best middlemen left on the market are Ben Jones (Tennessee Titans), Connor McGovern (New York Jets), and J.C. Hassenauer (Pittsburgh Steelers). Each has an issue, though, that the Giants will have to decide on. Jones is turning 34 and banged up, McGovern is likely too expensive, and Hassenauer, frankly, isn’t that good.
New York could also look at Indianapolis Colts center Ryan Kelly, who is apparently on the trading block. However, he likely makes too much money for the Giants' roster currently.
All this means that Joe Schoen and Brian Daboll will likely look for a center in the 2023 NFL Draft. This isn’t a shock, and NFL Network draft guru Daniel Jeremiah even has the team taking one in the first round.
That player is Wisconsin center Joe Tippmann. The Indiana native is huge for a center at 6-foot-6, 313 pounds. However, he is incredibly athletic, and that makes him one of the most intriguing offensive line prospects in the NFL draft.
Drafting a new Giants center No. 25 may seem high, but if the team can find a player to plug in between Neal and Thomas for the next decade, it will be well worth it.
If the Giants miss out on Tippmann, there are several other centers the team could consider in the NFL draft to round out the Giants' roster at the positions. John Michael Schmitz from Minnesota, Olusegun Oluwatimi from Michigan, Luke Wypler from Ohio State (all also from the Big 10, ironically), and Ricky Stromberg from Arkansas are alls other centers who could start in the NFL Week 1 of the 2023 season.
In the end, the Giants' roster next season will have a new center on it soon, and likely multiple centers via NFL free agency and the NFL draft. After that, who the starting Giants’ center is will get decided in a training camp battle. Right now, my money is on whoever the rookie is.