Why Giants’ rookie offensive lineman Josh Ezeudu provides exponential value

joshua ezeudu, new york giants

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.

PFF projects third-round rookie as New York Giants starting left guard

joshua ezeudu, new york giants

The New York Giants have a position battle brewing this summer. New general manager Joe Schoen has worked hard to rebuild the team’s offensive line this offseason. A few free agency acquisitions and draft picks later and New York’s offensive line has been totally revamped. But at left guard, there is a question mark. More than one player will be competing for the starting job this summer. A mix of veterans and a rookie are fighting to earn the starting left guard position, and some believe that the rookie could win. Pro Football Focus projects rookie third-round draft pick Joshua Ezeudu as the starting left guard of the New York Giants in 2022.

Shane Lemieux, Max Garcia, and Joshua Ezeudu are the Giants’ options at left guard this year. None of these players are cemented starters just yet as there is a long summer of practices ahead. Lemieux and Garcia are veterans with starts under their belts already. But much intrigue has been brought by third-round pick Joshua Ezeudu.

Could Joshua Ezeudu start at left guard for the Giants?

Rookie offensive lineman Joshua Ezeudu was drafted by the New York Giants with the sixty-seventh overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. The consensus is that the Giants secured a solid guard prospect in Ezeudu that should step in immediately with a chance to develop into a starter. Pro Football Focus projects that the rookie out of UNC will steal the starting job as early as this season.

In their recent article, “22-man starter projections for all 32 NFL teams,” Pro Football Focus projected the starters on both sides of the ball for the New York Giants. They highlighted the left guard position as “the only spot up front that looks to be up for grabs.” Out of the mix of players, though, PFF believes the rookie will win the job.

Joshua Ezeudu “has the potential and traits to become a starting NFL offensive lineman” according to PFF. The Draft Network concurs, stating, “in year one, Ezeudu should be a versatile reserve but has the upside to develop into a starter by Year Two/Three.” Lance Zierlein of NFL.com is also in agreement, describing Ezeudu as a lineman that “has low-end starter potential with emergency tackle versatility.”

Joshua Ezeudu posted a 83.0 run blocking grade in 2021 (3rd among ACC Guards) per PFF. On tape, Ezeudu has quick feet and a strong upper body that turns him into a people-mover in the running game. Refinement is needed, but do not count Joshua Ezeudu out of the race just yet. With a summer of strong practices, the New York Giants’ third-round pick could find himself in a starting position.

New York Giants: Could rookie Joshua Ezeudu steal the starting left guard position?

joshua ezeudu, new york giants

The New York Giants have a position battle brewing this summer. There are a number of players contending for the starting left guard position. As OTA’s kicked off, the Giants gave a first glance at their starting offensive line during team drills. Thus far, Shane Lemieux has been penciled in as the starting left guard. But is this a position that rookie third-round pick Joshua Ezeudu could steal?

Joshua Ezeudu could compete for the starting position. However, Shane Lemieux and Max Garcia are two established veterans that are also vying for the first team. Despite the experience and credibility of those two players, the talent that Ezeudu possesses is undeniable. Joshua is a raw prospect that needs development, but he could sneak his way into the starting lineup with a successful summer of practices.

Could Joshua Ezeudu be the Giants’ starting left guard in 2022?

With the 67th pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, the New York Giants selected UNC offensive guard Joshua Ezeudu. This was the second offensive lineman taken by the Giants in this year’s draft after they landed Evan Neal in the first round. Ezeudu differs from Neal in position, though. Drafting Evan Neal solidified the right tackle position for the Giants and drafting Joshua Ezeudu provided the Giants with a talent to develop at left guard.

Joshua Ezeudu is described by The Draft Network as, “an aggressive blocker that has ideal temperament in the run game.” They add that he “does well to frame blocks, stay square and absorb power” in pass protection. TDN believes that Ezeudu will be a versatile backup as a rookie but has the upside to turn into a starter as early as his second or third season.

While that very well could be the case for Ezeudu, there is also a possibility he wins a starting job this summer. Neither Max Garcia nor Shane Lemieux are lock-in starters at this point. Joshua Ezeudu gave up a total of 32 pressures and 2 sacks in his four-year career (PFF). He showed flashes in pass protection but really excelled as a run-blocker.

Joshua Ezeudu posted a 83.0 run blocking grade in 2021 (3rd among ACC Guards) per PFF. On tape, Ezeudu has quick feet and a strong upper body that turns him into a people-mover in the running game. Refinement is needed, but do not count Joshua Ezeudu out of the race just yet. With a summer of strong practices, the New York Giants’ third-round pick could find himself in a starting position.

Projecting the Giants’ starting 2022 offensive line after the NFL Draft

The 2022 NFL Draft has officially wrapped up and the New York Giants came away as big winners. They upgraded multiple positions of significant need, including their offensive line. After drafting three offensive linemen and signing six in free agency, Joe Schoen’s revamping of the position group is seemingly complete. The Giants’ offensive line will look significantly different in 2022 from the way it looked in 2021. Here’s a look at what the New York Giants’ offensive line could potentially look like in 2022:

Projecting the Giants’ starting offensive line in 2022

Left Tackle: Andrew Thomas

No-brainer, Andrew Thomas will be the starting left tackle for the New York Giants in 2022. The 2020 fourth-overall draft pick has progressed nicely in his first two career seasons. His PFF pass-blocking grade rose from 54.7 in his rookie 2020 season to 82.1 in 2021. He allowed only 2 total sacks on the season. Andrew Thomas took a big leap in his second season and has a promising career ahead of him as one of the best young left tackles in the NFL.

Left Guard: Joshua Ezeudu

The Giants have some competition at the left guard position. Shane Lemieux could win back his spot once he recovers from his injury, however, that scenario seems unlikely considering the poor performances the Oregon product had turned in throughout his first two career seasons.

Max Garcia and Joshua Ezeudu are new additions that will compete for the starting position. The Giants signed Garcia last month and drafted Ezeudu this week. Ultimately, the Giants’ third-round pick out of North Carolina should win this position. Ezeudu “has the potential and traits to become a starting NFL offensive lineman,” according to PFF. He split time between left guard and left tackle and earned a 77.8 overall PFF grade in 2021. Joshua Ezeudu has quick feet and good size at his position which should help him develop into a starter for the New York Giants.

Center: Jon Feliciano

Former Buffalo Bills offensive lineman Jon Feliciano was signed by the New York Giants this offseason to play center. Feliciano primarily played guard with Buffalo but the Giants plan to move him over to the middle of the offensive line. There is not much competition for Jon Feliciano at center, considering Nick Gates’s injury. If Gates is able to get healthy for the 2022 season, he could potentially compete for the starting center spot. But for now, it seems like a safe bet to say that Jon Feliciano will be the starting center for the Giants this upcoming season.

Right Guard: Mark Glowinski

Arguably the biggest splash signing for the Giants in free agency this offseason was right guard Mark Glowinski. The Giants signed Glowinski to a three-year deal paying him a little over $6 million per year. Glowinski received starting money from the Giants after an impressive four-year run as a starter with the Indianapolis Colts. Glowinski posted a 70.1 PFF grade in 2021, starting 14 games and allowing 2 sacks. The New York Giants needed veteran stability on their offensive line which is exactly what Mark Glowinski will provide them with as their starting right guard.

Right Tackle: Evan Neal

With the seventh overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, the New York Giants selected Alabama offensive tackle prospect Evan Neal. This was viewed as a home-run selection by the Giants with their second first-round pick. Evan Neal is a 6-foot-8, 350-pound monster that was once viewed as a potential first-overall draft pick. He only allowed 24 pressures over the past two years between left and right tackle (PFF). Evan Neal will step in as a day-one impact starter for the New York Giants at right tackle.

New York Giants: A look at the position battle brewing at left guard

joshua ezeudu, new york giants

The New York Giants have a position battle brewing at left guard after spending one of their third-round picks on a new offensive lineman out of North Carolina. Acquiring Joshua Ezeudu should inject more talent into the position. Big Blue signed Pro Bowl alternate Max Garcia this off-season as well to compete with a Shane Lemieux, who is coming off a season on injured reserve after partially tearing his patellar tendon during training camp.

After selecting Evan Neal 7th overall to fill the right tackle spot, the Giants are confident they have plenty of talent to build a competent OL.

New York Giants have a position battle brewing at left guard:

Shane Lemieux:

Back in 2020, the Giants featured Shane Lemieux at left guard over 484 snaps. He posted one of the worst pass-blocking grades in football at 16.9, per PFF. He gave up five sacks, six quarterback hits, and 14 hurries to go with three penalties. Overall, Lemieux was arguably the worst guard in football, but he didn’t get an opportunity to take a step forward in 2021 due to injury.

The Giants will allow them to compete for the starting job this upcoming off-season, but they added plenty of talent to push him. The odds are stacked against him, but Shane will have a fair opportunity to earn reps.

Max Garcia:

Max Garcia spent last season with the Arizona Cardinals, playing in 864 snaps, most of which came at right guard and center. He spent 565 steps at RG and 297 at C, mostly playing at an average level. He allowed five sacks and 15 QB hurries, but his versatility is valuable for the Giants. In fact, Garcia started the season in tremendous form playing both RG and C, but he fell off gradually as the season continued, specifically in the pass-blocking department.

Despite being a Pro Bowl alternate, Garcia is a fringe starter moving forward, or at least that’s what he should be considered. Garcia‘s best season came at left guard back in 2016 with the Denver Broncos when he allowed four sacks and 22 hurries over 1,074 snaps. Given that LG is his best position, the Giants are hoping they can get maximum value out of him for a season.

Joshua Ezeudu:

The Giants drafted Joshua Ezeudu with the 67th overall pick on Friday night, injecting even more talent at left guard. Ezeudu has great size at 6’4″ and 308 pounds, but he has plenty of developmental needs. Mainly, he lacks explosiveness at contact and has sloppy hand placements at times, all of which are coachable. However, Ezeudu features plus athleticism and great footwork, containing the ability to reset and mirror any pass rush moves.

With the right coaching, Ezeudu can easily become a good starter for the Giants at left guard, which is likely what they’re hoping given the position battle that is brewing. In addition, the flexible lineman has experience at multiple positions, including tackle, giving him the versatility to move around if the Giants need him to supplement any injury concerns.