Giants can plug left guard spot with dominant pass-blocking prospect in the 2nd round

zion johnson, giants

This off-season, the top priority for the New York Giants is to build a quality offensive line around Daniel Jones. Featuring one of the worst pass-blocking units in football the last two seasons, even general manager Joe Schoen indicated the trenches needed a significant boost in talent.

“I think everybody knows, the offensive line, and again, they had some injuries, unfortunately,” Schoen said. “Yeah, that’s going to need to be addressed. Because if you really want to see Daniel Jones put his best foot forward, he’s got to be on his feet. And if you want to see what Saquon (Barkley) can do, it would be nice if you block guys. So, yeah, the offensive line will be a priority.”

Andrew Thomas, the 4th overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft, will be the only holdover. Nate Solder is hitting free agency, Nick Gates suffered a fractured leg early last season, Will Hernandez is a free agent, and the rotating Russian roulette at left guard will finally come to an end.

The Giants will look to the draft for talent acquisitions, especially with two first-round picks at their disposal. An offensive tackle stands out as an immediate need, especially on the right side. Ikem Ekwonu and Charles Cross are the best possibilities, with Alabama stand-out OT Evan Neal likely off the board.

However, the Giants also need an offensive guard, which will likely be a priority in the 2nd round. One option that stands out is Zion Johnson out of Boston College. Johnson was a second-year senior, standing at 6’3″ and 314 pounds this past season.

Johnson is ranked as one of the top interior linemen in this draft class, showcasing exceptional performances throughout the collegiate year in 2021. Multiple mock drafts have him in the 1st round, but if he’s available with the 37th overall pick, the Giants shouldn’t hesitate.

Johnson has a perfect frame for a guard, using his size and athleticism in the trenches to win regularly. His play strength is fantastic, but he lacks the width and size to be an offensive tackle, which is why his better position is inside.

Perfect for what the Giants need, Zion is known for his pass-blocking capabilities, showing solid anchor and football IQ to pick up stunts and unique blitz packages. That is not to say that Johnson isn’t a quality run blocker as well, but Big Blue is looking for protection in passing sets, something they’ve struggled considerably with in recent years.

Pairing Johnson with a rookie right tackle or next to Andrew Thomas is a fool-proof move for the Giants. It could end up being a fruitful combination that solidifies the right or left side of the trenches for years to come.