When the New York Giants drafted Josh Ezeudu in the third round out of UNC, they saw a potential starting player at left guard. Ezeudu stands at 6’4″ and 308 pounds, displaying a great frame with top-end athleticism.
Ezeudu has experience at both tackle and guard, but given the Giants’ need next to Andrew Thomas, he will likely compete with Max Garcia and Shana Lemieux this off-season for the starting job.
However, UNC head coach Mack Brown tried desperately to retain Ezeudu for the 2022 season, even going as far as to project him as a potential first-round pick if he would’ve continued his development at the collegiate level for one more year. Josh exercised his opportunity to reach the NFL, and the Giants might’ve landed an absolute steal in the third round because of his decision.
Brown told Giants.com that both Ezeudu and Marcus McKethan are high-end prospects who both understand the game of football and have tremendous upside.
“These guys, they know what they’re doing, they’re tough, they understand the game, they’re very driven,” Brown told Giants.com. “I think in the case of both of these young guys, their football is ahead of them. I really think they’re on the cutting edge of what’s next. I think the Giants were really smart in drafting both of them.”
Specifically regarding Ezeudu, Brown believed he was one of the best linemen in the country, and if that is true, the Giants should be expecting big things out of him as a mid-round pick.
“Josh is really smart, and he can play anywhere. He’s very athletic,” Brown said. “We thought he was one of the best offensive linemen in the country. In fact, we wanted him to come back because we thought he could be a first or second rounder the next year. I think he’s just going to grow and grow and all of it is ahead of him. He had a sore knee at one point. He also fought through an ankle, so he’s tough. He played through all of those issues.”
McKethan stands at 6’6″ and 340 pounds, a massive human being with incredible strength. He has the premium size to play guard in the NFL but struggles with more athletic pass rushers given his mobility limitations. Displaying such enormous size gives him a good anchor against power rushers and bigger interior defenders. When Marcus gets his blocks squared off, he’s incredibly hard to move, but providing him with a bit more fundamental help regarding his horizontal agility, he can be a potential starter.
Nonetheless, there’s reason to be extremely excited about these two prospects coming out of North Carolina. Their size alone is intriguing, and given the lack of consistency the New York Giants have had at LG over the past few seasons, there’s no reason Ezeudu can’t steal the starting job as a rookie.