Training camp is just around the corner for the New York Giants. Giants rookies report to camp on July 19th with the rest of the team joining them a week later. Along with training camp comes competitions. This year, there is an exciting position battle brewing on the offensive line. The competition at left guard is the top position battle to watch during this year’s training camp.
The New York Giants revamped their offensive line this offseason. They invested the seventh overall pick in the draft into right tackle Evan Neal. Next to him will be a new face at right guard, Mark Glowinski. Another new addition will start at center, Jon Feliciano. Left tackle is also a position with a locked in starter as Andrew Thomas enters his third season. The one spot with no definite starter, though is left guard. Ben Bredeson and Matt Skura started the majority of games at left guard for the Giants last season. But neither of those players are still with the team. The Giants will need a new man to step up to the plate at left guard.
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Who will be the Giants’ starting left guard?
There are a few names to watch in the Giants’ position battle at left guard. This time last year, the projected starter was Shane Lemieux, however, his season as cut drastically short due to an injury. Lemieux started nine games at left guard for the Giants in 2020. He started the season in opener in 2021 but did not make it through the full game before he was shut down for the year.
Shane Lemieux is back in the running, though, and is considered a strong contender for the Giants’ starting left guard position. The 2020 fifth-round draft pick from Oregon is known to bring a mean streak in the running game. However, Lemieux struggled mightily in pass protection as a rookie. The Giants will need to see Shane Lemieux improve in this regard if he wants to win the starting job this summer.
Another strong competitor in the Giants’ battle at left guard is rookie Joshua Ezeudu. The Giants selected Ezeudu out of UNC in the third round with the 67th overall pick in this year’s draft. Like Lemieux, Ezeudu is also looked at as a mauler in the running game. He posted the third-highest PFF run-blocking grade among guards in the ACC with a grade of 83.0 in 2021. But Ezeudu was no slouch as a pass-protector in college either.
Joshua Ezeudu gave up a total of 32 pressures and 2 sacks in his four-year career (PFF). He has quick feet and a strong lower body with the ability to anchor against bull-rushes. The Giants could see Ezeudu quickly develop into a starter if he perfects this aspect of his game.
Max Garcia is an experienced left guard that the New York Giants signed this offseason. He has been in the NFL since 2015 after being drafted in the fourth round by the Denver Broncos. In 2018, Garcia switched teams and wound up with the Arizona Cardinals. Across the past seven years, Garcia has played in 93 games, making 52 starts.
Garcia is a versatile offensive lineman with career starts at both left guard, right guard, and center. Max Garcia was a Pro Bowl alternate selection after starting in 11 games for the Arizona Cardinals in 2021. He gave up 4 sacks and 13 hurries last season over 808 snaps. Some believed that, because of his experience playing in the NFL over the last seven years, Max Garcia would be the favorite to start at left guard this season. But when OTAs rolled around, it was Shane Lemieux that saw the majority of first-team practice reps. Max Garcia is the experienced option in the Giants’ battle at left guard, but the potential of the other two competitors could push him down the depth chart.