One of the most highly-respected offensive linemen in the NFL, New York Giants left tackle Nate Solder said he is impressed with how Ereck Flowers has handled things this offseason.
So much so that he’s not sure he would handle things in such a productive and meaningful way.
Set to enter his fourth year in the NFL, Flowers has received plenty of criticism for what has been a shaky NFL career to date. The former first-round pick was moved to right tackle following the signing of Solder, a move that many think can help settle Flowers and aid in his development.
Taken No. 9 overall in the draft places expectations on a player, both realistic and unrealistic. To date, Flowers has struggled to live up to that billing and instead has become a weak link on the offensive line.
The Giants have not picked up the option for Flowers for next year, making him a free agent and his future with the Giants remains clouded. But the move to right tackle could very well rejuvenate him and help him realize the form that made him a first-round pick in 2015.
Several times last week, Solder iterated his impressions of Flowers, saying he sees maturity in how Flowers has handled this offseason, including rumors around the NFL Draft that the Giants were looking to trade the young tackle.
“His work ethic, the way he goes about his business, the way that he has put it behind him, he’s just doing his thing,” Solder said during Giants minicamp. “He’s trying hard and he cares, and he’s asking questions. He is doing everything that you would want a guy to do.”
The offensive line, considered the last two seasons as the glaring weakness of the Giants, is revamped and might just be a strength of this team.
The signing of Solder adds an experienced and savvy veteran with multiple Super Bowl rings, a physical and emotional leader that this group has been missing. In addition, the Giants inked 28-year-old guard Patrick Omameh as well as drafting rookie Will Hernandez, also a guard, in the second round. The unit has some depth and versatility here, including moving Flowers to the right side of the line.
Saying, “we’ve got a long ways to go” in terms of coming together as an offensive line unit, Solder did acknowledge that the learning and growth process of the line is coming along. Big picture, the same thing can certainly be said about this entire team.
The Giants, a playoff team two years ago, slipped and stumbled en route to a 3-13 record last year. They spent the offseason addressing the big issues, such as the offensive line. The team also got deeper and younger.
Time will tell if it is enough to turn this team around. But it is a good start.
“This is the NFL, every team is competitive, every team is really good,” Solder said. “This team is going to come down to how we perform when the lights are on and we are really getting after it – as with every team.”