New York Giants: Center Is The Most Valuable Pick In The Second Round

New York Giants, Cesar Ruiz

The New York Giants are heading into another crucial NFL Draft. Set to take place Thursday night, this year’s draft features a plethora of talent on both sides of the ball that could instantly improve the Giants’ roster. New York will be picking fourth and thirty-sixth overall in the first two rounds of this year’s draft.

The debate at fourth overall has largely been between drafting Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons or one of the class’s top-ranked offensive tackles. But what should the Giants do in the second round? The thirty-sixth pick holds plenty of value, too. And the Giants could potentially grab a starting-caliber player there as well. So, based on positions of need and positional value, who should the Giants be targeting at thirty-sixth overall?

The Biggest Position of Need

The Giants desperately need to upgrade the center position. The thirty-sixth overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft is the perfect place to do that. New York can spend their first-round pick on an offensive tackle, as they are widely expected to, then solidify their line with a center in round two.

Jon Halapio is coming off of an injury and Spencer Pulley has spent most of the last two seasons as a backup. Dave Gettleman and the Giants know they need to upgrade the offensive line and that includes the center position along with offensive tackle.

Enticing Second-Round Prospects

There are a few center prospects that the Giants could target in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft. The top target of them all would be Michigan center, Cesar Ruiz.

Cesar Ruiz is a projected late first-round pick, but some predict he could slip into the second round. If the New York Giants could land Ruiz a thirty-six overall, he would be a home-run selection.

Another name that has been brought up in speculation with the Giants is Matt Hennessy. The Giants have met with Hennessy and shown interest in drafting him in the second round. The Temple center prospect grew up a lifelong Giants fan and would be a perfect fit with the Gmen.

Either one of these prospects would likely start for the Giants in Week One of the 2020 NFL season. Protecting Daniel Jones and creating running lanes for Saquon Barkley will be the Giants’ keys to success in 2020 and beyond. Shoring up the offensive line is the perfect way to accomplish this. The New York Giants should look to go offensive tackle in the first round and center in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft.

The New York Giants Need To Address The Center Position In The Draft

New York Giants, Cesar Ruiz

The New York Giants spent much money this free agency upgrading their defense. However, the team did not invest a whole lot into their offensive line- a positional unit that has not performed well in years. Nevertheless, the 2020 NFL Draft is two weeks away, and the Giants are going to have to spend some picks on offensive linemen.

There is plenty of debate about whether or not the Giants should select an offensive tackle fourth overall in this year’s draft. But there is no debate to be had over whether or not the Giants should draft a center this year- they absolutely have to. No, not with the fourth overall selection, but the Giants need to address the center position early in the draft. Reportedly, this is New York’s plan.

The Weakest Link

The Giants’ offensive line is the weakest positional group on the team. But there is no single position weaker than the center. Offensive tackle is the other position that can be debated here, but that is only because it is a more valuable position. The Giants have two starting-caliber players playing tackle. They are not high-end starters and are not long-term solutions.

But the Giants do not have a legitimate starter at center right now. If the season started tomorrow, Spencer Pulley would be starting at center for the Giants. Pulley played in four games and started only one game in 2019. He is a high-quality backup and not someone the Giants should feel confident in starting when the 2020 NFL season kicks off.

Some Center Options Early On

There are multiple centers for the Giants to target in the 2020 NFL Draft. A few prospects could be worthy of the Giants’ thirty-sixth overall selection. If Cesar Ruiz slips out of the first round, he would be a home-run selection for the Giants in the second round. New York has held a virtual meeting with the stud Michigan center prospect (according to Jordan Reid of TDN).

If the Giants decide to wait a little later to find their center, they could snag Wisconsin center Tyler Biadasz in the third or fourth round. Biadasz started 41 collegiate games in Wisconsin and is one of the best interior offensive linemen in the draft class. He might not be day-one ready like Ruiz, but he definitely has potential as a long-term solution for the center position.

New York Giants looking into one of the NFL draft’s best offensive lineman

New York Giants, Cesar Ruiz

The New York Giants are looking at plenty of offensive linemen, but Cesar Ruiz should be a name to keep an eye on in the NFL Draft.

There are more holes for the Giants to fill than not, but the upcoming NFL Draft offers loads of talent to choose from to solidify positions of need. Offensive linemen are plentiful, and Big Blue has reportedly been interested in some of the top young prospects preparing to make the jump from college football to the NFL.

Several top recruits, including Andrew Thomas, Tristan Wirfs, Jedrick Wills, and Mekhi Becton, represent the cream of the crop, whom the Giants have done their due diligence with and will ultimately consider with the 4th overall pick. However, there’s one other offensive lineman who won’t be considered along with the top tackles available.

Center Cesar Ruiz is a player that should be on the Giants’ wish-list, but in the second round. The talented center would fill a significant void for Big Blue, who let Jon Halapio go in free agency this offseason and currently only boasts Spencer Pulley at the spot.

At 6-foot-3, 307-pounds, Ruiz has a great foundation and center of gravity, two necessities for centers at the professional level. PFF regards Ruiz as the best pass-blocking center in college football, allowing just eight pressure over 447 snaps on passing downs. He’s equally as talented in the running game, moving defensive lineman and climbing to the second level with ease.

What else should the New York Giants like about Ruiz?

As arguably the most athletic center in the draft, his combination of technique and raw skills brings his overall potential sky-high. He can fit a variety of blocking schemes and is likely the most NFL-ready player at the position. The exciting part is that he also has plenty to develop, which only attests to the hype quickly building around his draft stock. He also has the potential to move to the guard position later on in his career, which improves his value even more, given the Giants eventually move on from Kevin Zeitler and look to allocate less money toward filling the center spot. This isn’t an ideal scenario, but you have to look at a player and wonder — where can they play if need be?

That’s the mentality new head coach Joe Judge, and GM Dave Gettleman have agreed upon, which I believe will help the team in the long run tremendously.