Everyone knows that top offensive line prospect Quenton Nelson will make a big impact for whatever team drafts him, but what about the prospects that can be found in later rounds? It looks like the New York Giants will use their first pick on a quarterback or a running back, leaving them to look for an offensive line addition in a later round.
If they go for a quarterback in the first round, they may target a running back in the second. Fortunately, there’s at least one good tackle prospect that might be worth looking into as a third round steal.
You might not recognize the name Geron Christian unless you follow ACC football, but you probably know the player that he was responsible for protecting, Lamar Jackson. Christian played as both a left and right tackle for Louisville and led them in pass protection, and he has NFL size and athleticism while also showing good skill at anchoring himself against the pass rush.
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He’s big enough that most defensive ends can’t just bull rush through him, but isn’t too slow on his feet in a way that would allow rushers to beat him consistently with inside and outside moves. His experience on both sides of the field will be a benefit heading to the NFL, because he has the experience of being the main pass protector at left tackle but can also be moved to the right side to accommodate Nate Solder, who will be a starter for the Giants at left tackle next season.
However, Christian is still a player that needs time to develop. He’s not a surefire starter over Ereck Flowers at right tackle if the Giants draft him, and he doesn’t have experience playing in a pro style system. Not only are the schemes different, but he’ll be expected to block for longer as his quarterback holds onto the ball instead of making quick passes in a spread offense.
One concern is that even while playing in the spread, Christian couldn’t protect Lamar Jackson as much as one would desire. Jackson is a scrambler who could get out of trouble sometimes, but an NFL tackle can’t expect his quarterback to run away from danger and pick up yards or avoid a loss after the pocket collapses. Still, when he’s playing well, Christian is good at blocking both strength based and technique based pass rush moves, and it looks like he has a higher ceiling than likely starter Ereck Flowers does.
He’s projected to go in the second or third round by most sources, and if he drops into the third, it’s definitely worth it for the Giants to consider drafting him and letting him learn from Nate Solder and other experienced players while fixing the flaws that he showed in college. If they do that, they could have an above average starter on their hands in the near future, when he gets more playing time.