The New York Giants’ most important player on offense in 2013 will be someone few notice: Will Beatty. Most fans know that Eli Manning will have an important role, but his ability to succeed is, in many ways, determined by the offensive line.
Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks both have important roles, but neither is as core to the team’s success, as Manning has found new targets when others have gone down in the past. David Wilson has an increased role too, but it is hard to call him the most important player for the Giants’ success when the Giants Super Bowl in 2011 came in a year where they were dead last in rushing yards per game.
The engine to the Giants’ offense is the line, a veteran group with David Diehl, Kevin Booth, Chris Snee and David Baas. Yet in the most important position, left tackle, they have their most inexperienced player, Beatty. Beatty has potential, and with a 6-6, 319 frame, he could be holding down the left tackle spot for the Giants for a long time.
Last year, Beatty stepped in and played well, helping the Giants offensive line to rank second in run blocking and third in pass defense, according to Football Outsiders. This year, however, he came into camp with worries about his back and a lot more pressure. If Beatty goes down it could mean playing time for James Brewer or Sean Locklear, both somewhat unknown. Justin Pugh, a complete unknown, but a talented first round pick, cannot be a potential back up now that Diehl is set to have surgery and be out for six weeks. Often injured stars like Nicks and Justin Tuck are worries for the Giants, but keeping Beatty healthy might be the biggest concern.
Beatty, a young player, must also continue to develop as training camp and the year goes on. As of now, he is on a talented offensive line, but it is aging. The future of the offensive line for the G-Men is in his and first rounder Pugh’s hands. In his second full season, the Giants are hoping that Beatty will show the league that he is here to stay. If not, the Giants could be in trouble. Last year they had a defense constantly getting gashed. Manning did much to keep them afloat for much of the season, but it is hard to throw touchdown passes when he is on his back.
Many have said if Manning is standing in the pocket the Giants will always have a shot at the playoffs, but it is Beatty’s job to make sure Manning can do just that.
Jay Cullen is a New York Giants writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter at JayCullen92 or add him to your network on Google.