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Giants need healthy bodies on O-line

4/28/2011 - NFL New York Giants

NEW YORK -- Rich Seubert has heard it over and over, and it always seems to be at this time of the year.

The New York Giants veteran guard is often told how the offensive line is getting old and needs an injection of youth entering the draft.

"I think they have been saying that for what? The last 10 years?" Seubert said. "That's fine. The more, the merrier.

"If we get him up in the higher rounds, that means we get a better dinner from those draft picks," cracked Seubert.

On Thursday, the Giants are expected to take an offensive lineman at 19 in the first round. While many have pegged Florida guard/center Mike Pouncey as the choice, strong indications are the Giants are targeting an offensive tackle and have their eyes on USC's Tyron Smith and Boston College's Anthony Castonzo.

They are the top two tackles in the draft, and Castonzo could be the Giants' man if he is there at 19 since Smith is expected to be gone.

The Giants could be tempted by talent such as Alabama running back Mark Ingram and Illinois defensive tackle Corey Liuget. But the indications are the Giants are looking at tackle, and Wisconsin's Gabe Carimi and Colorado's Nate Solder also are considerations if Smith and Castonzo have been taken.

And if the Giants' board falls apart, the surprise choice could be Pittsburgh wide receiver Jonathan Baldwin.

The Giants, though, really can use another healthy body on the offensive line. Seubert (knee surgery) is one of a few Giants linemen who are rebounding from surgery. Centers Shaun O'Hara (foot and ankle) and Adam Koets (ACL) also are coming off surgeries, which is why Pouncey seems like a logical choice to many if he is there.

But drafting a first-round tackle makes sense with David Diehl and Kareem McKenzie both 30 or older. Diehl wants to start at left tackle but can play left guard. Giants general manager Jerry Reese would like to see tackle William Beatty step up, but he's still unproven for the most part. And the Giants have to make a decision on whether to bring back Shawn Andrews, who is due a $3.5 million roster bonus. Andrews played well when healthy but had back issues pop up again last season.

The 6-foot-5, 307-pound Smith has drawn comparisons to the Jets' D'Brickashaw Ferguson. Rated as the top tackle in the draft, Smith has met with nine teams, including the Giants. Many think he could go as early as ninth to the Cowboys.

Not bad for a guy whose late-night diet habits used to rival those of Morgan Spurlock from "Super Size Me."

"Ten o'clock at night going to McDonald's and Jack in the Box," said Smith, who was in the city with other draft prospects participating in an NFL Play 60 event with youth Wednesday. "I was on the dollar menu. ... I might get like four double cheeseburgers, a large fries, a shake and a couple of apple pies and a chicken sandwich. It is a good place to eat but not the healthiest place and not the best place for me."

Smith was able to break his bad habit and now will go from fast food to fast millionaire, as he is all but expected to be gone by 19.

The 6-7, 311-pound Castonzo comes from a program that has been good to the Giants, who have former BC guys in Chris Snee, Mathias Kiwanuka and coach Tom Coughlin.

"He is [a] very motivated, determined player, but on the field, he is vicious," said Boston College linebacker and teammate Mark Herzlich, who hosted Castonzo on his recruiting visit. "That is what you want in an offensive tackle. You can see in his size and stats, he is long and durable."

The 6-8, 319-pound Solder is an intriguing talent who was originally recruited as a tight end. Carimi is a left tackle but might have the ability to play right tackle as well, and McKenzie's contract is up after the 2011 season.

Seubert welcomes new blood on the offensive line if the Giants decide to add a first-round lineman. Any left tackle would have to compete with Diehl, Beatty and possibly Andrews.

"I don't care if you are drafted or you are a free agent, or you come in here, if you are a Giant, you got to prove that you can play," Seubert said. "I think the guys that are here have proven that and whoever comes into our group has to prove it as well."