New York Giants: Potential draft replacements for Kevin Zeitler

new york giants, wyatt davis
Sep 7, 2019; Columbus, OH, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes offensive lineman Wyatt Davis (52) against the Cincinnati Bearcats at Ohio Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants are actively clearing cap space this week. They cut two veterans, Golden Tate and David Mayo, to clear over $8 million in cap space. But the Giants’ front office is not done yet. Now, there are reports that the Giants are looking to move on from guard Kevin Zeitler.

According to Jason La Canfora, the Giants are trying to move Kevin Zeitler and via trade due to his high salary cap hit. However, if they cannot find a trade partner, New York will likely release their starting right guard to free agency. Cutting/trading Zeitler would clear around $12 million in cap space for the Giants.

Of course, it is still possible for Zeitler to return to New York. The Giants could restructure or extend Kevin to clear cap space and keep him around simultaneously. But if the team truly does decide to move on from the 31-year-old veteran, they will need to find his replacement. There will be a number of free-agent offensive guards on the market this month, but looking ahead to the 2021 NFL Draft, there will also be a prime list of targets for the Giants to consider in April.

2021 NFL Draft offensive guards for the Giants to target

It would be difficult for the Giants to replace Kevin Zeitler’s consistency on their offensive line. He let up only 28 pressures in the 2020 season and was the Giants’ best offensive lineman. Yet, there are some intriguing prospects that could develop into quality starters for the Giants in this year’s draft.

Wyatt Davis

The top offensive guard for the Giants to target is a player that has drawn comparisons to Kevin Zeitler. Right guard Wyatt Davis out of Ohio State is unlikely to be there for the Giants in the second round. However, if he is there, New York would hit a home run by selecting him. Davis is a player the Giants could even consider trading up to select at the end of round one if they need to replace Zeitler.

Wyatt Davis totaled 865 pass-block snaps in his career at Ohio State. On those snaps, Davis allowed only 4 sacks and 1 quarterback hit (PFF). He is a phenomenal pass protector and a mauler in the run game. Davis could start instantly on the Giants’ offensive line.

Landon Dickerson

Joe Judge loves versatility. Alabama offensive lineman Landon Dickerson is as versatile as they come. While he might be listed as a center, Dickerson is an option for the Giants because he played multiple positions in college. Dickerson logged snaps at every position on the offensive line during his time at Alabama. He played the majority of his snaps at center, but did play over 200 snaps at right guard in 2019 and could make the transition back there in the pros.

Unfortunately, Landon Dickerson suffered a torn ACL last season. This does make him a risky selection early in the draft. But if he is able to recover from this injury, odds are, Dickerson will be a high-quality NFL offensive lineman.

Deonte Brown

Another Alabama product could be an intriguing option at offensive guard for the Giants in this year’s draft. Deonte Brown played primarily left guard for Alabama in 2020, but he did play over 500 snaps at right guard in 2019. Brown has demonstrated the ability to play on either side of the center.

Brown is the definition of a hog molly. He’s humungous at 6 feet 4 inches, 350 pounds. Deonte Brown is a brawler that wins with brute force. He never surrendered a sack in his three-year collegiate career and has plenty of power out of his stance. While he might not be the most refined prospect, Deonte Brown is a player the Giants could consider in the middle rounds of the 2021 NFL Draft.

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