The New York Giants waited patiently for the return of Nick Gates following a broken leg he sustained in Week 2 against the Washington Commanders last season. Gates underwent seven surgeries and there was a realistic possibility he would never walk again let alone play football.
However, the Giants never gave up on Gates, who made his first appearance this season against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 8, playing five snaps as an in-line tight end. His role has increased week over week leading up to Thanksgiving against the Dallas Cowboys with starting center Jon Feliciano out due to injury.
Feliciano had been polarizing as the team’s center, giving up two sacks and 18 total pressures across 656 total offensive snaps. He had a few decent games but was inconsistent as a first-time center. He had only played just over 300 snaps at the position leading up to 2022, with this being his first full-time opportunity. Feliciano spent the last three years with the Buffalo Bills, so general manager Joe Schoen and head coach Brian Daboll were willing to give him an opportunity.
- New York Giants: One ideal cornerback to target in free agency
- New York Giants land star USC wide receiver in Mel Kiper’s latest Mock Draft
- Why the Giants should franchise tag Saquon Barkley
The New York Giants may be considering a change at center moving forward:
However, after Gates’s performance against Dallas, there’s a serious discussion to be had regarding who should be starting the rest of the season. Over 64 snaps, Gates produce an 88.6 run-blocking grade and 64.6 pass-blocking grade, according to PFF. In fact, he was the second highest-rated player on the entire team, giving up just one pressure over 43 pass-blocking snaps.
It seems as if the former undrafted free agent out of Nebraska has reclaimed his starting job and could be a long-term solution. Gates has always been a fan favorite given his mentality and aggressiveness, but his story projects an even greater result. The 27-year-old interior lineman has earned every bit of the chance to reclaim his starting gig, and after dominating against Dallas, Daboll should consider keeping him there even when Feliciano is 100% healthy.