As New York Giants fans know, general manager Dave Gettleman loves his “hog mollies.” On Friday, the Giants made a major trade. The Giants traded edge rusher Olivier Vernon to the Cleveland Browns in exchange for one of the NFL’s top offensive guards.
That hog molly was right guard Kevin Zeitler. The Browns were reportedly shopping Zeitler earlier in the week and even tried to send him to the Giants in exchange for Odell Beckham Jr. However, the Giants laughed at that offer and completed a much better trade on Friday.
What Makes Zeitler Such A Huge Upgrade?
Kevin Zeitler has been impressively durable and consistent. These are two traits the Giants have not seen from their most recent offensive guards for a few years now. Zeitler has started 72 straight games and has not missed a snap since week 13 of the 2015 NFL season.
On top of all this, Zeitler is arguably the best pass-blocking guard in the entire NFL. He finished with the league’s highest pass blocking grade (91.7) out of any guard in 2018 according to Pro Football Focus.
To compare Zeitler’s efficient play to that of the Giants’ 2018 offensive line: Zeitler let up 11 pressures all season while Jamon Brown and Patrick Omameh let up a combined 39. That is 28 plays that the Giants missed out on as Eli Manning was milliseconds from being smothered by a gargantuan defensive lineman.
Eli will not be the only one benefiting from this trade. Running back Saquon Barkley will benefit from playing behind Kevin Zeitler, too. While pass-blocking is his specialty, Zeitler is not a poor run-blocker.
Overall, Zeitler is an improvement on the Giants’ offensive line in every way possible. He is more durable than any other right guard and much more efficient in pass protection.
Check out this highlight of Kevin Zeitler below:
Great twist pickup by CLE C J.C. Tretter and RG Kevin Zeitler.
1) Both guys stayed in there gaps
2) They kept a hand on their man until he was successfully passed off pic.twitter.com/xFEUjh5NUP
— Matt Wilson (@CoachWilson66) March 5, 2019