The New York Giants have a few major voids to address in the 2023 NFL draft, with the latest being the center position. Letting Jon Feliciano sign with the San Francisco 49ers and Nick Gates ink a three-year contract with the rival Washington Commanders, Big Blue has a hole that needs filling, and the draft has a few potential instant starters after the first round.
Traditionally speaking, NFL teams don’t invest first-round picks into the position, so the second round offers a great opportunity for the Giants to find a plug-and-play starter. There are several quality players who could be within range, notably John Michael Schmitz, Luke Wypler, Steve Avila, and Joe Tippmann.
Michael Schmitz will likely be out of range, given his outstanding scouting report. He could end up at the back end of the first round or early in the second given his ability to play center and interior guard. However, if he manages to slip to the mid-second, the Giants would have a great opportunity to snatch one of the best prospects at the position this year.
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The Giants have the luxury of patience:
Nonetheless, Joe Shane doesn’t need to move up but rather sit pretty and wait for a player like a Wypler to come along. Coming out of Ohio State, Wypler ranked as the best athlete at the position with an 82 athleticism score, according to NFL.com. Having started two years at Ohio State with a slightly below-average frame but incredibly athletic, he has the qualities to become a tremendous player at the NFL level.
If the Giants are keen on establishing the run, Wypler’s ability to get to the second level and make efficient blocks on the move certainly stands out. Bigger interior rushers may give him problems, given his size concerns, but he has good hands and fundamentals to help fend off aggressors.
The Buckeyes traditionally produce solid centers at the NFL level, so the Giants may be able to find their guy in Wypler at 303 pounds. If they want to go a little heavier, Steve Avila out of TCU, standing at 6’4″ and 332 pounds, could be a slightly better option. Avila has the size and qualities to move to a guard position if need be, but his pass-blocking stands out that could entice Big Blue.
Ultimately, the Giants have a number of quality players they can choose from in the second round, which is exactly where I estimate they will find a long-term solution. Having survived with Feliciano and Gates recovering from injury, the Giants elected to move on and seek a long-term improvement instead of a stopgap measure.