The New York Giants invested a few of their 2022 draft picks into the offensive line. After years of poor offensive line play, new general manager Joe Schoen has stepped in to rebuild and revamp this front line once and for all. The widely-discussed and praised selection of Evan Neal with the seventh overall pick in the draft will catch all the attention. However, it was Schoen’s second pick on the offensive line which fans need to start paying some extra attention to. Rookie offensive guard Joshua Ezeudu was selected in the third round of this year’s draft and he is a player that provides exponential value.
How Joshua Ezeudu provides so much value to the Giants:
The Giants drafted Joshua Ezeudu to compete at left guard. Some believe that the UNC product could steal the starting job as early as his rookie season. But if Joshua Ezeudu does not land the starting left guard position, he will still be a valuable piece on the Giants’ roster. This value is created by Ezeudu’s positional versatility.
At UNC, Joshua Ezeudu not only played left guard but also played left tackle. Ezeudu started games at left guard, left tackle, and even right tackle in college. During his collegiate career, Joshua Ezeudu bolstered UNC’s offensive line with his versatility. He was a starter at left guard but also the second-team backup left tackle, right tackle, and right guard. UNC trusted Ezeudu to play anywhere on the offensive line if injuries required him to switch positions.
The UNC Tarheels would even rotate Ezeudu along the offensive line mid-drive. On some snaps he would line up at left guard, then, a few snaps later, he would be playing left tackle. Ezeudu is athletic and has quick feet, making him an impact player in the running game. He posted an 83.0 PFF run-blocking grade in 2021 which ranked 3rd among ACC guards.
This summer, the Giants have been missing one of their best players on offense. Andrew Thomas has been sidelined during OTAs recovering from ankle surgery. The starting left tackle is expected to be ready to return soon enough. Thomas’s injury is not one that should affect his regular-season status. But in the case of the worst-case scenario, Joshua Ezeudu could be a potential fill-in for Andrew Thomas.
Joshua Ezeudu has been running with the first team at left tackle during team drills this summer. The Giants are preparing their versatile rookie offensive lineman to play more than one position. Not only might the New York Giants have found a new starting left guard in the third round, but Joshua Ezeudu could also be providing value as the second-team left tackle.