The Giants will be making the 4th pick on April 23rd unless some QB needy team makes a trade offer Dave Gettleman cannot refuse and moves the Giants first pick back a few slots.
Do they take a Tackle?
Let’s take a look at some OT prospects the Giants may be eyeing for the draft to re-tool the tackle position.
The Giants need to protect Daniel Jones’ blindside. Honestly, the Giants need to invest in bookend tackles. The Giants appear set at Guard with Kevin Zeitler at RG and Will Hernandez at LG. Both are still young and big. Nothing is better than watching KZ go through his pass-blocking sets everywhere and anywhere.
Tackle, however, is still a need. The Giants need a Center too. Jon Halapio is coming off his 2nd major injury, this time a ruptured Achilles tendon. There may be opportunity for the Giants to grab a quality center in the 2nd or 3rd round.
Offensive Tackles (OT) on the Roster
The Giants have Nate Solder, Cam Fleming (via FA) and Nick Gates on the roster. Solder has held the LT position for the last two years. It’s been a challenge for Nate, both on the field and off. In comparison to the Giants’ previous LT, Ereck Flowers, Nate Solder is a significant upgrade. But there were times when you worried for the QB.
On the field, Nate was beaten off the edge way too many times. At times, he appeared to lose his balance and had trouble keeping his feet and hands in sync.
Off the field, Nate, a cancer survivor himself, has been shuttling his son Hudson to Boston and back each week for chemotherapy to battle kidney cancer.
Nate is a tremendous human being and a locker room leader. It’s a lot for one man to handle the family demands and the hours needed to gel with your teammates on blocking schemes. But, family first, and the Giants Have always viewed their organization as a family. By supporting Nate and his family, they are doing exactly the support the Soldiers need right now.
Cam Fleming is a good OT, but hasn’t shown he can take over a starting role full time in his first two stops in the NFL. In his first interview today with the Giants.com, he stated he is coming in fully intent on winning a starting tackle job. He knows the coaching staff. They have told Cam directly he’s got an opportunity to win a starting spot. At 6’6” and 320 lbs, Cam has the size to disrupt any pass rush and dominate a run block.
Nick Gates is an up-and-coming wild card that held his own in multiple starts at both guard and right tackle. In a December start for Kevin Zeitler, he had a pull play from right to left that was designed to lead block for Saquon. He totally wiped out two defenders which allowed Saquon to ease his way into the end zone. Gates also did well in a spot RT start for an injured Mike Remmers. He didn’t allow one pressure on the QB. He has shown he can play tackle, guard and even center. That makes him valuable as a plug and play backup across the line. He too has designs on trying to win a starting spot.
So, with a draft that is deep with talented offensive linemen, the Giants may have the first choice to get the man to protect Daniel Jones’ blind side for the next decade or more. What are the qualities experts look for in offensive linemen?
Per Gil Brandt, “The Godfather of the NFL” and NFL Hall of Famer, “The biggest thing for me is a guy with good feet and long arms. The deciding factor is arm length.” And who is Gil’s top four OT in this draft? In order:
- Jedrick Wills: 6’4” 312 lbs Arm Length 34.25”
- Tristan Wirfs: 6’5” 320 lbs Arm Length 34”
- Andrew Thomas: 6’5” 315 lbs Arm Length 36.13”
- Mekhi Becton: 6’7” 364 lbs Arm Length 35.63”
Each of these men did well at the Combine and have really good tape for executives, scouts, and coaches. Nearly every draft pundit ranks all four of these prospects in the top 10. Gil Brandt has been working drafts for over six decades. He is typically on the NFL committee that chooses the players to invite to the draft. He rarely gets it wrong.
The word is that Wills is the most NFL ready. Nick Saban has the ear of this coaching staff and is very high on Wills. Wills played RT for Alabama in the last two years. But, he was protecting lefty throwing QB, Tua’s blindside. Does he stay at RT or can he make the switch to LT? During the Combine, Wills showed a bit of “nasty” in the field drills nearly sending the coach holding the blocking pad off the field with a solid hand push.
Wirfs had an excellent Combine. He’s got great agility. Iowa has a long history of bringing offensive linemen to the NFL. Many scouts view him as an instant starter at Guard or Right Tackle. He played RT for Iowa and, except for one game, manhandled his competition.
Georgia’s Thomas has the longest arms of the four and had four solid years as a tackle for the Bulldogs. He is viewed as a natural LT and the prospect with the biggest upside. If the Giants value a Left Tackle with the #4 pick, this could be their guy. Playing in the SEC for four years carries some weight when translating college experience.
The Giants haven’t seen a man the size of Becton since Long Island’s own Jumbo Elliott (6’7” and 320 lbs) from 1988-1995. Becton has quick feet for a big man. We saw his 40-yard dash at the Combine. But he pulled up on his 2nd run and skipped the other field drills. The competition he faced while playing for Louisville wasn’t of the same caliber as the other three. But, he’s BIG. Can he hold off the NFL’s elite edge rushers?
The Next Tier
Beyond the top four, there is more depth. Here are four more names to keep an eye on:
- Ezra Cleveland: 6’6” 315 lbs Arm Length 33.38”
- Josh Jones: 6’5” 320 lbs Arm Length 33.63”
- Austin Jackson: 6’5” 325 lbs Arm Length 34.13”
- Isaiah Wilson: 6’7” 350 lbs Arm Length 35.5”
It is possible that any of these four could also go late in the 1st round. Keep this in mind if the Giants trade back or go defense at #4. Cleveland (Boise St.), Jones (Houston) and Jackson (USC) all played LT. Wilson was the other bookend for Georgia, playing RT opposite Thomas. All are viewed as potential starters, maybe not year one, but soon thereafter.
Watch These Guys
Now, lets put a couple of wild card names that could surprise us fans and go on the 1st or 2nd day:
- Lucas Niang: 6’6” 315 lbs Arm Length 34.25”
- Matt Peart: 6’7” 318 lbs Arm Length 36.6”
Niang and Peart are potential “good picks” for Round 2. Peart (UConn) has an enormous wingspan with those arms. He’s played RT and did very well at the Combine. He’s rising up the boards, potentially going in the 2nd round. Any Edge will have to work extra hard to get past the shield he can give a QB. Niang(TCU) also played RT, showed good run blocking ability and can stay on blocks.
Do you think the Giants select two (2) tackles in this draft? Trading back could add multiple high draft picks to solve the entire offensive line ills.
Please remember to stay safe. Stay healthy. Social distancing. Flatten the curve.
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