New York Giants 2007 NFL Draft Preview: Offensive Line
by KWALL for BigBlueInteractive.com
The interest and offer to unrestricted free agent Leonard Davis, who signed with the Cowboys, means something. I believe he was slated for guard duty with the Giants. And the move to land Davis made a lot of sense. If the Giants really believe in Jacobs (they should), then a adding a massive interior OL is the way to go. The strength of the Chiefs’ team the past 5+ years was at guard. These interior linemen were the reason for the enormous success of the run game with Priest Holmes and Larry Johnson. Jacobs is a very unique talent. He is the only 260+ lb hammer at RB in the NFL. In the right situation he can give us Larry Johnson-type production. He’s the guy they should build the offense around. And the best way to do that is with an inside mauler. And that is what I believe they were trying to do with the Leonard Davis. They wanted to give Jacobs another mauler to follow. This draft has several intriguing guard prospects in the second round. Giants should also have the option of drafting the #1 guard in the draft at #20. So don’t throw the remote if Giants go offensive guard very early. It is never a bad idea to add an enormous and talented offensive lineman to your football team.
Joe Thomas, 6’7″, 311lbs, Wisconsin (Combine: 40: 4.92, 10:1.75, bench: 28, vert: 33″, SS: 4.88, 3 cone: 7.95): 35+ starts. Won Outland Trophy as best OL in college. #1 pass blocker LT in draft. A top shot and discus guy. Head Coach said he’s one of the best athletes he’s ever had at Wisconsin. Tall. Quick. Strong. Competitive. Smart. Consistent. No chance for Giants. Top 5 pick.
Levi Brown, 6’6″, 325lbs, Penn State (Combine: 40: 5.40, 10:1.84, bench: 31, vert: 25.5″, SS: 4.89, 3 cone: 7.87): I’ve seen a lot top-10 projections. NFL Draft Scout said he could go as high as #2 in the draft. They currently have him at #9 overall. An athletic and long-armed OT prospect. Tough kid who plays through injuries. Brown is a very strong run blocker. Considered best run-blocking OT in the draft. Went to the Senior Bowl and impressed in pass blocking drills. Pat Kirwan at NFL.com called him the “most impressive player at Senior Bowl”. However, some, including BBIs Phil in LA, feel he lacks the pass protection skills and feet to play LT in the NFL. The guys at Northwestscouting.com agree with Phil. They compare Brown to Bengals’ RT Willie Anderson and said he “lacks the feet and blocking range of an elite Left Tackle at the next level…over-rated a little by those in desperate need of a Weakside Tackle. He is, however, an outstanding NFL Strongside Tackle prospect…” Mike Mayock said there are mixed opinions of Brown. According to Mayock, NFL coaches love his size and strength but the NFL personnel people aren’t as high on him. Recently, we heard some NYG talk with Brown as the #20 pick. I don’t think he’ll be there. Round 1.
Joe Staley, 6’6″, 305lbs, Central Michigan (Combine: no workout. Pro Day: 40: 4.79, 10:1.64, bench: 27, vert: 32″, SS: 4.40, 3 cone: 7.09): Kiper and Rang have him as the pick at #20 for the Giants. Three year starter. Former TE with speed and impressive athletic ability. Long arms too. Off the chart grade athlete for the position. However, level of competition is an issue. Didn’t play versus top players. When he got to the Senior Bowl versus top players he didn’t look like a first rounder during practice and almost killed a couple of QBs during the game. Entered college as a 220lb TE. Needs more bulk but may have maxed out. A project. Won’t be ready for a while. And that is too much risk for a first rounder for the Giants. Round 1.
Tony Ugoh, 6’5″, 301lbs, Arkansas (Combine: 40: 5.06, 10:1.71, bench: 32, vert: 32.5″, no shuttles): Another plus athlete at OT. College track guy in shot and discus. 30+ starts but still need strength work and coaching. Thin legs. Can probably use another 20lbs to handle NFL work. Struggled at Senior Bowl in pass rush drills. Not ready to play in the NFL. Upside and athletic as a future LT gets him drafted late in round 2.
James Marten, 6’8″, 309lbs, Boston College (Combine: 40: 5.08, 10:1.72, vert: 30.5″, SS: 4.54, 3 cone: 7.68 Pro Day: Bench: 25): BC continues to produce tough OL prospects. Marten is another one with day-one potential. Played guard and LT at BC. Not athletic enough for LT duty on the next level. 34″ arms. Can beat him with speed. Played RT at Senior Bowl. Future RT or guard in NFL. Giants shouldn’t have much interest here. Round 3.
Doug Free, 6’6″, 324lbs, Northern Illinois (Combine: 40: 5.19, 10:1.78, bench: 22, vert: 30″, SS: 4.53, 3 cone: 7.38): 45+ starts. Entered 06 as one of the top OT prospects in country and potential top 50 pick. Didn’t play up to it. Rough year in 06. Injuries may have played a part with reports he played the year on a stress fracture. His game was exposed at Shrine Game. I recall the term “turnstile” was used to describe his showing against the fringe NFL talent at DE in Shrine. Some thought he was a Staley-type athlete. Not close. Still a plus athlete for OT but not elite. Late round 3 or early day 2.
Marshall Yanda, 6’4″, 307lbs, Iowa (Combine: 40: 5.15, 10:1.69, bench: 23, vert: 27″, SS: 4.58, 3 cone: 7.36): JUCO. 20+ starts at LT and RT. Improving player with upside. Needs to add strength and bulk. Probably a guard in the NFL. Quick off the ball. Will excel on pull and getting to the 2nd level. Round 4.
Ryan Harris, 6’5″, 305lbs, Notre Dame (Combine: 40: 5.09, 10:1.75, bench: 22, vert: 25.5″, SS: 4.52, 3 cone: 7.78): Four-year starter with 45 starts at ND. Head Coach Weiss says he’s a LT in the NFL. Might be nothing more than a coach touting his guy. Not sure if he can handle NFL speed on the edge. He sure couldn’t handle it from Purdue DE Anthony Spencer. Abused all week at Senior Bowl. Not a day one player. Round 4+.
Ben Grubbs, 6’2″, 315lbs, Auburn (Combine: 40: 5.18, 10:1.80, bench: 29, vert: 26.5″, SS: 4.72, 3 cone: 7.99): 30+ starts at guard after moving from TE. Excellent size and athletic. Smart. Tough. Strong. Quick. High effort player. Can maul and has the feet to pull. Can pull short or long. Hits guys on the move and in space. Outstanding in every phase of the game. Best interior OL at Senior Bowl. Improved draft value with a solid all around week at Senior Bowl. Moved him into round 1. #1 guard in draft. Round 1 in the 20-30 range.
Justin Blalock, 6’3″, 320lbs, Texas (Combine: 40: 5.10, 10:1.73, bench: 40, vert: 25.5″, SS: 4.72, 3 cone: 7.75): 50 starts for Texas. 40+ at RT. Played guard and tackle and Senior Bowl but best play was at guard position. He a future OG in the NFL. TSN called him the most athletic guard in the draft. Great drive blocker as well. Strong hands to jolt DL. Gets plenty of movement of the snap. Short yardage and red zone factor. Lacks ideal height but thick and powerful. Combine best 40 benches. NFL Draft Scout compares him to Jammal Brown. Day one starter at guard. Round 2.
Arron Sears, 6’3″, 320lbs, Tennessee (Pro Day: 40: 5.09, 10:1.74, bench: 21, vert: 30.5″, SS: 4.50, 3 cone: 7.63): Versatile player. Played all over OL at Tennessee. Most of playing time at left tackle (25 starts). Height is a drawback at OT. Probably move inside in the NFL to give you a powerful and mobile force at OG. Explosive off the line with plenty of pop. Hard working player. Finishes blocks. Only 21 bench. Needs upper body work. Round 2.
Andy Alleman, 6’4″, 305lbs, Akron (Combine: 40: 5.07, 10:1.71, bench: 27, vert: 30″, SS: 4.65, 3 cone: 7.80): Started college career as a DE at PIT. After 2 seasons at PIT, he transferred to Akron to play OL. 24 starts at Akron. Very strong player with a 595lb squat. Northwest Scouting says, “Plays with a mean streak. Gets good movement and can really push the pile in the run game. Pulls and can get to second level blocks very well.” Alleman has very quick feet and impressive agility for a 300lb player. 4.38 SS and 7.44 s cone at his pro day. Fastest shuttles in this draft at OL. With only two years of OL experience he’ll need a little time but all of the tools are there to be a future NFL starter for years. Late round 2/early round 3.
Manuel Ramirez, 6’3″, 326lbs, Texas Tech (Combine: Injured. Only bench: 40): Four year starter. Smart. Made all of the line calls for the past two seasons. Thick base. Physical and very strong. 550lb bench. 780lb squat. Once he locks on it’s over. Power run blocker. Played in pass heavy offense at Texas Tech. A lot of pass protection. He held his own. Impressed in pass block drills at Senior Bowl. Extremely effective in close quarters. A pile mover and classic mauler. Texas Tech scored a large percentage of rush TDs in the red zone thanks to Ramirez. Round 3. Nice fit for the Giants and Jacobs.
Cameron Stephenson, 6’3″, 306lbs, Rutgers (Combine: 40: 5.40, 10:1.81, bench: 34, vert: 28.5″, SS: 4.81, 3 cone: 7.72): JUCO DT. Only one year at guard for Rutgers. Led the way to 180+ yards/game for RU. Thick and strong. Plays hard. Very effective on the short pull for Rutgers. An emerging player. May need a little time because of lack of experience. A real sleeper in this draft. Wasn’t on the draft radar before big season in 06. Now a mid round pick and could slide up to round 4.
OFFENSIVE CENTER: The Giants shouldn’t have much interest at center. There are only two day-one prospects.
Ryan Kalil, 6’3″, 299lbs, USC (Combine: 40: 4.96, 10:1.71, bench: 34, vert: 26″, SS: 4.34, 3 cone: 7.50): As athletic as any center prospect in 5+ years. Very quick feet. Can pull short and long. Can get to second level and hammer moving targets. Son of a former NFL center. Knows the game and all of the tricks. Mayock said he’s the “best technician in the draft” at OL. Strong for his size. Only negative is lack of bulk. Maybe not “enough sand in his pants” as they say. May struggle with massive NT like Casey Hampton in Pittsburgh. Obvious NFL comparison: TOM NALEN. Could sneak into round 1.
Samson Satele, 6’3″, 300lb, Hawaii (Combine: 40: 5.24, 10:1.75, bench: 25, vert: 33″, SS: 4.29, 3 cone: 7.47): Four-year starter with 50+ starts at center, guard and tackle. Moved to center in senior year and crushed opponents on a weekly basis. Didn’t allow a tackle in seven games in 06. Aggressive and physical. Explosive (33″ vertical). Excellent in pass protection. Versatile player. Can play guard in the NFL. Short arms at under 31″ are a disadvantage. Round 2/early round 3.