New York Giants: Could rookie Joshua Ezeudu steal the starting left guard position?

joshua ezeudu, new york giants

The New York Giants have a position battle brewing this summer. There are a number of players contending for the starting left guard position. As OTA’s kicked off, the Giants gave a first glance at their starting offensive line during team drills. Thus far, Shane Lemieux has been penciled in as the starting left guard. But is this a position that rookie third-round pick Joshua Ezeudu could steal?

Joshua Ezeudu could compete for the starting position. However, Shane Lemieux and Max Garcia are two established veterans that are also vying for the first team. Despite the experience and credibility of those two players, the talent that Ezeudu possesses is undeniable. Joshua is a raw prospect that needs development, but he could sneak his way into the starting lineup with a successful summer of practices.

Could Joshua Ezeudu be the Giants’ starting left guard in 2022?

With the 67th pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, the New York Giants selected UNC offensive guard Joshua Ezeudu. This was the second offensive lineman taken by the Giants in this year’s draft after they landed Evan Neal in the first round. Ezeudu differs from Neal in position, though. Drafting Evan Neal solidified the right tackle position for the Giants and drafting Joshua Ezeudu provided the Giants with a talent to develop at left guard.

Joshua Ezeudu is described by The Draft Network as, “an aggressive blocker that has ideal temperament in the run game.” They add that he “does well to frame blocks, stay square and absorb power” in pass protection. TDN believes that Ezeudu will be a versatile backup as a rookie but has the upside to turn into a starter as early as his second or third season.

While that very well could be the case for Ezeudu, there is also a possibility he wins a starting job this summer. Neither Max Garcia nor Shane Lemieux are lock-in starters at this point. Joshua Ezeudu gave up a total of 32 pressures and 2 sacks in his four-year career (PFF). He showed flashes in pass protection but really excelled as a run-blocker.

Joshua Ezeudu posted a 83.0 run blocking grade in 2021 (3rd among ACC Guards) per PFF. On tape, Ezeudu has quick feet and a strong upper body that turns him into a people-mover in the running game. Refinement is needed, but do not count Joshua Ezeudu out of the race just yet. With a summer of strong practices, the New York Giants’ third-round pick could find himself in a starting position.