Even though the New York Giants made significant enhancements to various positions, the offensive line continues to be a concern as they head into the 2023 season.
Evan Neal, the right tackle, was a significant weak point in the Giants’ line last year, struggling to adapt to the NFL as a rookie.
Should he make substantial progress this year, the Giants could have a far stronger offensive line. However, position battles are still expected to take place at other interior spots.
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The Giants are set to have a competition for the left guard position:
Josh Ezeudu, an offensive lineman from UNC, was selected by the Giants in the third round of the 2022 draft.
Ezeudu, 23 years old and standing at 6-foot-4 and 308 pounds, possesses the ideal size for the left guard position. He specifically featured at LG as a rookie, adding up to 289. During that period, despite a few injuries, he allowed three sacks and 15 total pressures.
Ezeudu is recognized for his impressive foot speed and athleticism. However, as a rookie, he struggled to synchronize his footwork and hand usage, particularly in pass protection. His run blocking was considerably better, and he will aim to further develop his pass-blocking skills, where he could significantly contribute to protecting Daniel Jones.
Ideally, Big Blue would like Ezeudu to secure the starting role, given his rookie contract and being hand-picked by General Manager Joe Schoen last year. However, they won’t sacrifice Daniel Jones to a developmental player, meaning Ezeudu must outright win the job during the preseason.
There is a high likelihood that Ben Bredeson will start as the Giants’ left guard. Bredeson, a 2020 fourth-round pick from Michigan, performed well last season when fit.
Over 621 total snaps, he allowed a mere 12 pressures and didn’t concede a single sack. Out of these, he played 581 snaps at left guard, 30 at center, and briefly filled in at right guard for just eight snaps. Considering his no-sack record and multiple standout pass protection performances, there’s a compelling argument that Bredeson could clinch the starting role.
Even if Ezeudu ends up as a second-string reserve to cover for potential injuries, he will likely get some game time during the season.
Bredeson has had a varied three seasons in the NFL, dealing with several injuries in 2022. Nonetheless, he has shown moments of promise, and head coach Brian Daboll will aim to coax a bit more consistency from him moving forward.