The New York Giants have a positional battle brewing at the center position. Center was one of the weakest positions on the team’s roster last season. Jon Halapio struggled the majority of the season before going down with a gruesome injury. The team seems to be moving on from Halapio, but it is still unclear what direction the Giants are heading.
There are a few players on the Giants’ roster that could compete for the starting center position. Spencer Pulley, Nick Gates, and Shane Lemieux are all viable options. Spencer Pulley has played center in the NFL for four years now. Nick Gates showed a lot of promise in some limited action at guard and tackle last season, but could make the transition to center. And Shane Lemieux, the Giants’ fifth-round pick out of Oregon, played guard in college but is also training to transition to center.
But could Shane Lemieux actually start at center as a rookie in 2020? He would have to beat out an experienced center in Pulley and an experienced, versatile OL in Nick Gates. It does not sound too likely, but Lemieux could win the starting center job as a rookie.
Why Shane Lemieux At Center Makes Sense
Shane Lemieux was voted as a Second-Team All-American as a senior in 2019. New York was lucky to land Shane as late in the draft as they did, as he was considered to be a pretty solid prospect (6.17 grade by Lance Zierlein and NFL.com).
Upon being drafted by the Giants, Lemieux instantly started training to be a center. In the video below, you can see him practicing his snaps:
— NY Giants BR (@NYGiantsports) April 25, 2020
Shane Lemieux is one strong hog molly. He stands in at 6 feet 4 inches and weighs 310 pounds. He was also efficient in college, posting an 83.9 overall grade according to Pro Football Focus, surrendering only 11 pressures.
Lemieux had a conference call with reporters post-draft in which he discussed the possibility of playing the center position:
“I think I’m an offensive lineman,’’ Lemieux said when asked what position he plays (via the NY Post).
“I feel like with center there’s a lot more responsibility on you to know the offense and to know more of the defense and to just be more sound with what’s going on around you,’’ Lemieux said. “And obviously you’ve got to snap the ball.’’ – Shane Lemieux via the NY Post
Shane Lemieux has made it clear that he understands how important it is to be versatile. He also explained what it means to be a center. Shane used the keyword “responsibility” when discussing the position. This is an excellent word choice because the center is responsible for knowing and calling pass protection pre-snap, one of the most important jobs on offense.