New York Giants: 3 plug and play guards to target in the 2nd round

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It doesn’t matter how many offensive weapons Daniel Jones has if his protection on the offensive line is inadequate. The New York Giants still have a lot of work left to do to solve one of their biggest weaknesses, and after cutting their best lineman in Kevin Zeitler this off-season to free up money, they have to solve this hole in the NFL draft, whether it be in the first or second round.

While I believe the Giants will let the first round unfold in front of them, they could have an opportunity to select a premium lineman like Rashawn Slater or even Alijah Vera-Tucker. However, there are a few options in the second-round that could be plug-and-play starters on day one of the 2021 season.

While the drop-off is quite significant, these players have solid upside it might just like that elite talent that Slater and penne so will bring to the table. Not every starter in the NFL needs to be an All-Pro, though, as even an above-average player who slides under the Pro Bowl is still an adequate starter.

If you put it into perspective, Zeitler was easily the Giants’ best lineman and was nowhere near being a Pro-Bowl guard last season; we just need a young player to replicate his efficiency and hold down the right guard position. Now, it all depends on what type of value the Giants want to give up to solve the spot, and we know that Dave Gettleman had never drafted an OL in the first round prior to taking Andrew Thomas 4th overall last season.

Three iOL the New York Giants can target in the 2nd round:

1.) Wyatt Davis

The first option that makes a ton of sense for the Giants is Ohio State guard Wyatt Davis. Davis has pro comparisons to David DeCastro, as a strong and powerful interior lineman who excels on the strong side of the play. The Giants don’t run a ton of counters, so if they are using a power gap scheme or outside zone, Davis should be adequate. As a powerful guard, he has a similar feel to Will Hernandez, operating in the trenches to create space for his running backs but also fend off pass rushers.

The problem with Davis is that he isn’t the most agile lineman, which might be a problem for the Giants if they require their guards to pull across the line of scrimmage to hit the crack blocks. If that is the case, Davis might need a bit of refinement and time to adapt his game, but he has a solid player with upside at the NFL level.

2.) Landon Dickerson

Landon Dickerson is an interesting player, as he hosts a problematic injury history, including a torn ACL and multiple lower-body issues. Coming out of North Carolina, Dickerson was considered one of the top offensive tackle recruits before moving to the inside with Alabama. He was most recently invited to the Senior Bowl but did not participate due to injury, which is still a major concern. The problem with Dickerson, he’s an incredibly talented player and a fantastic person, so despite the injuries, a team will take him in the second round, and he will be an adequate player when available.

He has a solid frame to hold it down in the interior and will easily make the transition to guard if the team wants to move him there. As a vocal leader and superior athlete, I believe he will have a successful career if he can remain healthy, and that might be a risk the Giants are willing to take.

3.) Creed Humphrey

Creed Humphrey is another option the Giants are likely considering, as a left-handed center coming out of Oklahoma. Humphrey is a 6’4″, 302-pound interior lineman, and one of the things I like about him the most is that he is another fantastic leader that diagnoses plays well the line of scrimmage. While Lance Zierlein of NFL.com doesn’t believe he’s a fantastic athlete, he has a high football IQ and is in the right place at the right time. He’s able to finish blocks and has a nasty streak, which is something the Giants prefer and their linemen.

While Humphrey might not be a star of the NFL level, he will be adequate and hold it down and run blocking and pass protection. Zierlein coins him a safe selection rather than a star player, but having three years of experience and two years as a team captain should convince an NFL team that he’s capable of being a valuable player in the trenches.

New York Giants could patch up the interior of their offensive line in round two of the draft

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The New York Giants knocked the ball out of the park in free agency. They addressed their biggest need by signing wide receiver Kenny Golladay as their new alpha dog offensive weapon. The Giants then made another splash with Adoree’ Jackson, upgrading their second cornerback position and giving them one of the best secondaries in the NFL.

The Giants also addressed their edge rusher position, adding a couple more rotational pieces in Ifeadi Odenigbo and Ryan Anderson. But one positional weakness went mostly untouched. The Giants added one depth piece to the interior of their offensive line (Zach Fulton) but did not make a significant upgrade to the position.

The Giants’ offensive line is the biggest weakness on the roster. Their guards are unreliable and unproven. New York needs to upgrade its interior offensive line. Thankfully, the 2021 NFL Draft should provide the Giants with an abundance of IOL options in round two.

Second round interior offensive lineman prospects

Wyatt Davis

Ohio State’s Wyatt Davis is arguably the top interior offensive line prospect in the 2021 NFL Draft. If the Giants were able to land Davis in round two, they are getting an instant starter at right guard. Wyatt Davis has actually drawn comparisons to former Giants right guard Kevin Zeitler. He would be a perfect scheme fit and replacement to Zeitler for New York.

But Wyatt Davis is not guaranteed to be on the board at 42 overall. There is a chance Davis gets drafted in the back end of the first round. However, if he is there for the Giants in round two, Wyatt Davis would be a home run selection. Wyatt Davis totaled 865 pass-block snaps in his career at Ohio State. On those snaps, Davis allowed only 4 sacks and 1 quarterback hit (PFF). He is a phenomenal pass protector and a mauler in the run game. Davis could start instantly on the Giants’ offensive line.

Creed Humphrey

If you want an athlete on the offensive line, then you want Creed Humphrey out of Oklahoma. Per Anthony Treash of Pro Football Focus, Creed Humphrey ran a quicker short shuttle at his pro day (4.46) than Jerry Jeudy did at the 2020 NFL Combine (4.53).

The left-handed center out of Oklahoma dominated at his Pro Day. Creed Humphrey put up ridiculous numbers, like his 5.09s 40-yard dash, his 33-inch vertical at 6 foot 4 inches, 312 pounds, and his 29 reps on the bench.

Humphrey is a premiere pass-protecting center. According to Pro Football Focus, Humphrey allowed only 28 pressures over the last three years on nearly 1,300 pass-blocking snaps. While he did play center in college, many feel as though Creed has the talent to play offensive guard at the NFL level. This could make him a great fit for the New York Giants in the second round.

Quinn Meinerz

One of the draft’s biggest risers this year is Wisconsin-Whitewater’s offensive line prospect Quinn Meinerz. The division-three hog molly was absolutely dominant at the 2021 Senior Bowl, sending him skyrocketing up draft boards.

Quinn Meinerz is another prospect that lit up the theoretical scoreboard at his Pro Day. Per Anthony Treash of PFF, Quinn Meinerz at his pro day surpassed the 90th percentile historically among iOL in the 40, vertical, broad, short shuttle, and 3-cone.

Throughout his collegiate career, Meinerz played offensive guard exclusively. At the Senior Bowl, he took his first reps at center and impressed every scout at the event. He did not face or competition during his playing days at Wisconsin-Whitewater, but he dominated the NFL prospects he faced at the Senior Bowl. Knowing how much the Giants enjoy drafting Senior Bowl standouts, Quinn Meinerz could be a legitimate option in round two.

Landon Dickerson

The Giants took a couple of risks this offseason on free agents with injury histories. Kenny Golladay played only 5 games in 2020, but they still handed him $18 million on average annually. Adoree’ Jackson played only 3 games in 2020, yet they also gave him $13 million on average annually.

Alabama interior offensive lineman Landon Dickerson tore his ACL in 2020 and missed the College Football playoffs. But he is still an intriguing option for the Giants to consider in the second round.

Dickerson is a phenomenal run-blocker, earning Pro Football Focus’s highest run-blocking grade in the SEC last season with a grade of 92.8. Landon is also incredibly versatile, a trait Joe Judge values highly. While he might be listed as a center, Dickerson is an option for the Giants because he played multiple positions in college. Dickerson logged snaps at every position on the offensive line during his time at Alabama. He played the majority of his snaps at center, but did play over 200 snaps at right guard in 2019 and could make the transition back there in the pros.

Despite his talent on the field, Dickerson is a player that many teams will avoid drafting due to his medical history. Dickerson tore his ACL as a freshman in 2019 at Florida. He then suffered a significant ankle injury in 2020 that caused him to miss nine games. Then, of course, the torn ACL in 2020. Landon has suffered a significant injury every season of his career. If he can stay healthy at the next level, Dickerson has the talent to be one of the best interior offensive linemen in the NFL.

New York Giants: Offensive linemen to target in the 2021 NFL Draft

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The New York Giants have had a phenomenal free agency period. They re-signed star defensive lineman Leonard Williams and landed free agency’s top wide receiver Kenny Golladay. The Giants also seem to be on the verge of filling another need with the potential signing of Adoree’ Jackson.

New York’s biggest need entering free agency has been addressed. They added playmakers on offense in Kenny Golladay and Kyle Rudolph. If they also land Adoree’ Jackson, they will fill another significant need on defense. The Giants’ next biggest weakness to address is now their offensive line.

The Giants’ offensive line was one of the worst in the NFL in 2020. The Giants’ pass-block win rate in 2020, according to ESPN, ranked dead-last in the NFL at 46%. Their run-block win-rate ranked 18th at 70%, which is about average or slightly below. The Giants prioritized upgrading Daniel Jones’s weapons, however, maybe more than anything, they still need to fix the offensive line in front of him.

Offensive linemen to target in the 2021 NFL Draft

Rashawn Slater

The Giants could potentially go offensive line in the first round now that they have added their alpha-dog playmaker, Kenny Golladay. There are a couple of intriguing names for the Giants at eleven. Rashawn Slater out of Northwestern stands out as a realistic top option.

Penei Sewell is the top offensive tackle in this year’s class. But the odds of Sewell falling outside the top-ten are slim. Rashawn Slater has a better chance of falling to the Giants at eleven for one main reason: many teams view him as a guard. Slater was a dominant offensive tackle in college that handled Chase Young better than anyone in his dominant 2019 season. But, at six-foot-three with only 33″ arms, many project Slater to be a guard at the next level.

The Giants’ biggest weakness on their offensive line is the guard position. The Giants have their left tackle of the future in Andrew Thomas. Right tackle is a question mark, but Dave Gettleman is confident in Matt Peart as a future starter. Rashawn Slater could be drafted by the Giants to compete outside with Matt Peart, but he could also move immediately inside to start at offensive guard. He has the talent and athleticism to be a day-one starter, his position is just undefined.

If the Giants draft Rashawn Slater at eleven overall, they are getting one of two things: a talented, undersized player with the potential to be a top offensive tackle OR a day-one starter and upgrade at offensive guard. Rashawn Slater would be a perfect pick for the Giants with the eleventh pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Mid-round options

There are a few interior offensive linemen that stand out in the second, third, or fourth rounds of the 2021 NFL Draft. In round two, a standout name is Wyatt Davis out of Ohio State. Davis is a right guard out of OSU that draws comparisons to Kevin Zeitler.

Wyatt Davis totaled 865 pass-block snaps in his career at Ohio State. On those snaps, Davis allowed only 4 sacks and 1 quarterback hit (PFF). He is a phenomenal pass protector and a mauler in the run game. Davis could start instantly on the Giants’ offensive line.

An intriguing option in the later rounds is Quinn Meinerz, a D-3 prospect out of Wisconsin Whitewater. Meinerz dominated at the 2021 Senior Bowl, putting him on everyone’s radar leading up to the NFL Draft. Meinerz, being from a small school, is much of an unknown, but he handled everything thrown his way at the Senior Bowl and could now go as early as the second round.

Meinerz is a big-nasty mauler on the interior that the Giants could select and give a chance to develop into a starting offensive lineman.

New York Giants: Potential draft replacements for Kevin Zeitler

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The New York Giants are actively clearing cap space this week. They cut two veterans, Golden Tate and David Mayo, to clear over $8 million in cap space. But the Giants’ front office is not done yet. Now, there are reports that the Giants are looking to move on from guard Kevin Zeitler.

According to Jason La Canfora, the Giants are trying to move Kevin Zeitler and via trade due to his high salary cap hit. However, if they cannot find a trade partner, New York will likely release their starting right guard to free agency. Cutting/trading Zeitler would clear around $12 million in cap space for the Giants.

Of course, it is still possible for Zeitler to return to New York. The Giants could restructure or extend Kevin to clear cap space and keep him around simultaneously. But if the team truly does decide to move on from the 31-year-old veteran, they will need to find his replacement. There will be a number of free-agent offensive guards on the market this month, but looking ahead to the 2021 NFL Draft, there will also be a prime list of targets for the Giants to consider in April.

2021 NFL Draft offensive guards for the Giants to target

It would be difficult for the Giants to replace Kevin Zeitler’s consistency on their offensive line. He let up only 28 pressures in the 2020 season and was the Giants’ best offensive lineman. Yet, there are some intriguing prospects that could develop into quality starters for the Giants in this year’s draft.

Wyatt Davis

The top offensive guard for the Giants to target is a player that has drawn comparisons to Kevin Zeitler. Right guard Wyatt Davis out of Ohio State is unlikely to be there for the Giants in the second round. However, if he is there, New York would hit a home run by selecting him. Davis is a player the Giants could even consider trading up to select at the end of round one if they need to replace Zeitler.

Wyatt Davis totaled 865 pass-block snaps in his career at Ohio State. On those snaps, Davis allowed only 4 sacks and 1 quarterback hit (PFF). He is a phenomenal pass protector and a mauler in the run game. Davis could start instantly on the Giants’ offensive line.

Landon Dickerson

Joe Judge loves versatility. Alabama offensive lineman Landon Dickerson is as versatile as they come. While he might be listed as a center, Dickerson is an option for the Giants because he played multiple positions in college. Dickerson logged snaps at every position on the offensive line during his time at Alabama. He played the majority of his snaps at center, but did play over 200 snaps at right guard in 2019 and could make the transition back there in the pros.

Unfortunately, Landon Dickerson suffered a torn ACL last season. This does make him a risky selection early in the draft. But if he is able to recover from this injury, odds are, Dickerson will be a high-quality NFL offensive lineman.

Deonte Brown

Another Alabama product could be an intriguing option at offensive guard for the Giants in this year’s draft. Deonte Brown played primarily left guard for Alabama in 2020, but he did play over 500 snaps at right guard in 2019. Brown has demonstrated the ability to play on either side of the center.

Brown is the definition of a hog molly. He’s humungous at 6 feet 4 inches, 350 pounds. Deonte Brown is a brawler that wins with brute force. He never surrendered a sack in his three-year collegiate career and has plenty of power out of his stance. While he might not be the most refined prospect, Deonte Brown is a player the Giants could consider in the middle rounds of the 2021 NFL Draft.

The New York Giants should target offensive linemen early in the 2021 NFL Draft

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The New York Giants are on a mission to rebuild and revamp their offense this offseason. New York’s offense was terrible in 2020. The Giants averaged only 17.5 points per game this past season, an average that cannot translate to a winning season in today’s NFL.

Dave Gettleman and company have vowed to add playmakers to the Giants’ offense. But in addition to New York’s lack of playmakers, they also had a lack of pass protection. The Giants’ offensive line was nearly incompetent in pass protection last season.

The Giants’ pass-block win rate in 2020, according to ESPN, ranked dead-last in the NFL at 46%. Their run-block win-rate ranked 18th at 70%, which is about average or slightly below. So while the Giants prioritize upgrading Daniel Jones’s weapons, they, maybe more than anything, need to fix the offensive line in front of him.

Daniel Jones was a much-improved quarterback in his second season. But if the Giants want to see Jones take that next step and have that year-three breakout, they need to fix the offensive line. Daniel Jones had a Pro Football Focus 91.5 passing grade when kept clean in 2020. That is an elite grade. When under pressure, though, Jones’s grade was 46.9.

Unfortunately, Daniel was under pressure more often than not. The Giants should make it a top priority to find competent offensive linemen and keep Jones clean in 2021. As we inch closer to the NFL Draft in April, there are a number of offensive lineman prospects that the Giants should target within the first three rounds of the 2021 NFL Draft.

NFL Draft offensive line targets

The 2021 NFL Draft class is filled with offensive line talent. This is one of the best offensive line classes in recent years. At the top of the class is a premier offensive tackle talent in Penei Sewell out of Oregon. Penei is an elite prospect who is unlikely to fall to eleven, but the Giants should pray that he is there for the taking.

With New York seemingly destined to go wide receiver in round one, it is in the second and third rounds that they should focus on the offensive line. Prospects like Wyatt Davis and Creed Humphrey stand out on the interior. Jackson Carman and Walker Little could be options in those rounds as well.

Of course, the Giants already have young, promising players on their offensive line that need to develop. Nick Gates flashed great potential in his first season starting at center in 2020. Rookie Matt Peart also looked good in limited playing time at right tackle. But general manager Dave Gettleman has said before that he is not afraid to draft over players. So if one of these offensive linemen, like center Creed Humphrey, is the best player on the board when the Giants are on the clock, they are realistic options.

Regardless, the offensive line is not a positional group that the Giants can wait on. They need to address it and fix it immediately. Taking chances on late-round prospects rarely works out on the offensive line. If Gettleman and the Giants are serious about amending the offensive line, they need to target prospects within the first three rounds of the 2021 NFL Draft.