New York Giants 2017 NFL Draft Preview: Offensive Tackles
by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Sy’56
*Please Note Cam Robinson (OT grade 81) and Forrest Lamp (OT grade 80) will be in the OG/C post.
WHERE THEY STAND
A first round pick at left tackle. A first round pick at left guard. And a 2nd round pick at center. All since 2014 with some considerable money thrown in to the free agency pool as well. All of those resources and the NYG offensive line played like a bottom third unit in 2016. The running lanes weren’t there and Manning’s mental security in the pocket was never quite there, and rightfully so. Even though the offense is host to a bevy of short passes with 3-5 step drop backs, he was too often scrambling for his life or even worse, rushing himself in to poor throws. I have been very critical of how this line has been built and I still believe it is the one thing that will hold this team back as a whole.
TOP 15 GRADES AND ANALYSIS
1 – Conor McDermott – 6’8/307 – UCLA: 80
Summary: Fifth year senior. Two time 2nd team all Pac 12 selection and 2-plus year starter. Was a big time high school basketball player, winning a Mr. Basketball award in 2011 as a senior. McDermott has tools that don’t come around very often. He is a better athlete that he is on tape, but lacks the confidence to trust it. He bails on his technique too often and will make him look horrific at times. If he can be put in to the right system and really hone in on strength gains, there is a potential here that most tackles simply do not have. He is a risk, but one with a high potential reward.
*I’m aware there isn’t anyone out there with a #1 ranking on McDermott. While I do like him and the upside, it is likely more a result of just not liking this OT class as a whole. For the record, Robinson and Lamp were graded out above him, but I am keeping them in the OG group. McDermott had an awful, awful game against a healthy Myles Garrett and I think that performance unfairly stuck to him in some peoples eyes. What I saw late in the year was an enormous frame with plenty of room for growth that had a violent initial punch and really athletic footwork. In time, I think he is a quality starting LT.
Upside Pro Comparison: Nate Solder – NE
2 – Garrett Bolles – 6’5/297 – Utah: 79
Summary: Spent one year at the FBS level after a dominating two-year junior college run. Bolles had a very rocky teenage stage of his life, but is more than a few years removed from it and appears to be on track. His athleticism and hand strength are among the best in this class, respectively. His progression will need to come once he gets in to an NFL strength and conditioning program and that does take time, something that may go against the soon to be 25 year old. In a weak tackle class, however, Bolles could be the top prospect.
*This is an interesting situation, on that carries an equal amount of risk and potential reward. Bolles certainly appears to have his head on straight enough. The issues he has had off the field don’t bother me too much nor does his age. He has the tools you want to work with and there may not be a more aggressive, angry player in this entire group. But there is a ton of sloppiness to his game that will be exploited in the league and he simply needs to get more core strength. He’s a gamble, that’s for sure.
Upside Pro Comparison: Joe Staley – SF
3 – Ryan Ramczyk – 6’6/310 – Wisconsin: 79
Summary: Fourth year senior that sat out the 2015 season because of transferring to Wisconsin from Division III Wisconsin-Stevens Point. Started every 2016 contest and earned 1st Team All Big 10 honors. In his one season at the FBS level, Ramczyk played at a level that may very well put him at the top of this year’s offensive line class. He will have to prove his hip is fully healed and ready to go, however. If those medicals check out, the body control, size, and fluid technique is enough to label him a potential week one starter.
*The fact this kid only played for one year at the Division I level is bothering me. The fact he has a bad hip AND shoulder coming in to the league is bothering me. It’s hard to ignore those two when considering his upside. Ramczyk is such a smooth operator and with the uniform he wore in college, it’s hard not to think about Joe Thomas when scouting him. While I don’t see the physical upside of an elite tackle, there is a natural sense of ability with him that makes you feel comfortable despite the red flags. Probably a safer pick than Bolles, but with less potential.
Upside Pro Comparison: Joe Thomas – CLE
4 – Will Holden – 6’7/311 – Vanderbilt: 78
Summary: Fifth year senior ended his career with 37 consecutive starts and a 2nd team all SEC nomination. Has experience at both tackle spots and could likely offer something as a guard in the NFL. While his strength is questionable at times, Holden showed the ability to anchor and stay on his man more often than not. He can handle any version of a defensive lineman. He may not have ideal measureables or athleticism, but he is a guy that plays with reliable technique that will add the needed strength to his large frame in time. Holden will be a starter sooner rather than later.
*One of my favorite day 2 prospects in the class that some people are considering a day 3 guy. Holden quietly but consistently was one of the top OL in the SEC over the past two seasons. Like Ramczyk, I think there is a lack of top tier physical ability and potential but you know what you’re getting. Very smart, very repeatable player that can be the immediate 6th lineman on a team with versatility and the upside of being a starter anywhere within a year.
Upside Pro Comparison: Ja’Wuan James – MIA
5 – Taylor Moton – 6’5/319 – Western Michigan: 78
Summary: Fifth year senior with four years of starting experience. Primarily a right tackle, but did start for the entire 2015 season at right guard. Earned a First Team All MAC honors after he made the move back to right tackle in 2016. Moton may not have the ideal footwork and fluidity to play outside in the NFL, but his power presence and hand strength can make up for some shortcomings. It’s possible his ideal future is inside at guard, where a team can take advantage of his elite power and strength. He will need to continue to work on his foot speed and reaction time before he can be trusted.
*I graded Moton as both a guard and tackle and he ended up with the same number at both. I can understand those that say he is a guard-only, but there are certain things he can’t do well enough inside that would bother me. As a tackle, Moton has the ability but doesn’t seem to always trust it. When he has ducks lined up, Moton is as dominating as anyone in this class. He has some of the strongest hands and can anchor against NFL power right now. The foot speed won’t ever be a strength but he can hide it well enough.
Upside Pro Comparison: Andrew Whitworth – LAR
6 – Andreas Knappe – 6’8/325 – Connecticut: 76
Summary: Fifth year senior that took over the starting right tackle job halfway through 2014 and never looked back. Despite not earning any postseason accolades, Knappe was one of the most consistent offensive linemen in the conference in 2016. He originally came from Denmark and was put on a fast learning and adjustment curve during his redshirt season. His upside was always something that jumped off the screen but it looked like it really started to come together in 2016. Knappe has all the measureables you want in a tackle. His techniques and body control appear to be easy and repeatable. He is a smart, hard working kid. Everything is lined up for this kid to start in the league within a year or two with big upside.
*One of the most overlooked, underrated players in the class when considering his long term upside. Knappe is more raw in comparison to a lot of the players in this group, but I think there is more to come from him than most. His arrow is pointing straight up. There were games last year where I thought he could make the case for being on the same level as the top guys in this class. Consistency isn’t quite there but if you watch him at the end of 2016 as opposed to the beginning of 2015 and you’ll notice the big improvement. I think that path will continue.
Upside Pro Comparison: Marcus Gilbert – PIT
7 – Justin Senior – 6’5/331 – Mississippi State: 75
Summary: Fifth year senior with three years of starting experience, primarily at right tackle. Very bright kid off the field. Hails from Canada and is projected as their top prospect as of right now. Senior will more than likely opt for NFL, at least for the start of his pro career. He is an overlooked tackle in this class that does all the little things right and has succeeded against some of the toughest edge talent the nation had to offer. While he does need to improve his lower body and core strength, there are plenty of reasons to state why he is a starting caliber right tackle.
*I don’t think he would ever pass up on the NFL for Canada, but I guess it is something that needs to be looked in to. Senior caught my eye hard this year. He has THE body of a right tackle and we aren’t talking about a guy that couldn’t handle SEC athleticism. He is an all around, very well balanced player. I liked him in Mobile, too. There is a part of me that wanted to throw him higher up, but the grade is the grade. He can be a starter at RT early, in my opinion. Some teams are looking at him as a RG too.
Upside Pro Comparison: Mitchell Schwartz – KC
8 – Adam Bisnowaty – 6’5/305 – Pittsburgh: 74
Summary: Fifth year senior that started all four years after his redshirt. Missed some time early in his career. Manned the left tackle spot and was named 1st Team All ACC in 2015 and 2016. Bisnowaty is an interesting case because he showed flashes of both top and bottom tier over the past two seasons. He passed a few of the eyeball tests weekly when it came to knee bend, aggression, and run blocking. However his up and down execution as a pass blocker gives off the notion he may be best suited inside in a zone blocking scheme at either guard or center. He has a style of play that could excel in that role.
*Early in the 2016 season, scouts were talking about Bisnowaty as being the top guy in this class. Potential top 10 overall type. It’s easy to see why because of his easy movement out of his stance and ability to mirror a defender with excellent lower half balance and quickness. He did suffer an injury somewhere around the midpoint of the season that made his tape look weak in the second half, but even at full strength I never quite saw it from him. He didn’t move guys. More of an absorber rather than an attacker. Too easily thrown around. Those things bother me as much as a guy with really slow feet. I think he may be best suited for backup swing duty.
Upside Pro Comparison: Justin Britt – SEA
9 – David Sharpe – 6’6/343 – Florida: 74
Summary: Junior entry. Two year starter at left tackle for the Gators that may need to make a move inside in the NFL. His size and easy power are very attractive, ever-present traits. His foot speed and leverage issues will be exposed on a play by play basis however if he doesn’t get them corrected.
*The initial look at Sharpe and you start to think Jonathan Ogden. Just so massive and so powerful that it seems impossible for anyone to simply move around him. Then the initial look at his foot speed and you wonder if he could ever hack it during a preseason game. Sharpe is going to be a bit of a project but there is some natural ability and talent here that you won’t find often. And in the SEC, he was more than OK. If he can develop some understanding and consistency with his lower half, he can be a dominant RT.
Upside Pro Comparison: Moses Morgan – WAS
10 – Antonio Garcia – 6’6/302 – Troy: 73
Summary: Fifth year senior with four years of starting experience. An ever-improving left tackle-caliber athlete that did not allow a sack in over 900 snaps his senior season. Garcia brings it every play from an effort and intensity approach, but his execution is very shaky. He is a developmental type player that has attractive tools and tape, but is simply behind the curve when it comes to core strength and technique.
*In an offensive tackle class that is overall just so weak, there are some people that have Garcia near the top of the group. This year more than ever, it simply seems like depending on the team, it could be one of 5-6 guys that are selected as the top tackle. Garcia is mean, nasty, and athletic. A gamer. He just needs to be tuned up and strengthened. Maybe a year or two away from competing.
Upside Pro Comparison: Matt Kalil – CAR
11 – Joseph Dieugot – 6’6/294 – Florida International: 73
Summary: Fifth year senior and three year starter. Earned Honorable Mention All Conference USA honors in 2016. Joseph is a raw talent that still has a ways to go when it comes to strength development, but there are tools here worth taking a second look at. He has the length and foot speed to go with quality technique and level of play. His arrow is pointing up.
*My favorite under the radar tackle. Still being graded out as a day 3 prospect and if I had to make a prediction on where he goes, it’s likely undrafted. I helped get him to the Shrine game and he was the most impressive left tackle there by a long shot. I bet he would have performed well at the Senior Bowl as well. Tall and lanky, needing of more bulk, Joseph moves with a sense of control and understanding that you won’t see from a lot of project-tackles. He isn’t powerful, but I wouldn’t call him a push over. I think he has starter potential down the road.
Upside Pro Comparison: Jason Peters – PHI
12 – Roderick Johnson – 6’7/299 – Florida State: 72
Summary: Junior entry. 31 straight starts and the two time winner of the Jacobs Blocking Trophy, given to the ACC’s top offensive lineman. Johnson has the frame and tool set to excite coaches and scouts alike, but his performance was so up and down, back and forth. His main issues revolve around strength and technique, two things that can be developed. There is upside with him, but also many holes.
*Again, another guy that some scouts love. Nobody is going to tell you he is pro-ready, it’s simply not true. He has some game tape that is up there with some of the worst in the class. But there are also stretches where he appears to be ready for NFL left tackle duty tomorrow. His tools are solid, but he needs to be honed in a bit. The lack of body control and balance after starting for 3 years is alarming.
Upside Pro Comparison: Manelik Watson – DEN
13 – Dan Skipper – 6’10/309 – Arkansas: 71
Summary: Four year starter with experience at both tackle spots and guard. Ended his career with First Team All SEC and 2nd Team All American honors. Has been the leader of that offensive line for two years and was known as Mr. Reliable. Consistent techniques and awareness led him to rarely being flagged. While his ability won’t jump off the screen, the fact that he wins much more often than he loses will grab attention. Also blocked several field goals over his career. Projects as a versatile backup.
*He may never be a starter, but Skipper would be a great guy to have backing up all four spots (not center). He is a technician that plays smart, but angry. Blue collar guy that you know will work hard and take on whatever is thrown at him. He is an interesting athlete that will always have to struggle with leverage, but he proved he could get the job done for 4 seasons in the SEC. Pro style offense. Something needs to be said for that. I’ll take a Skipper as my 6th OL any day even though I know the upside is limited.
Upside Pro Comparison: David Diehl – RET
14 – Nick Callender – 6’5/325 – Colorado State: 71
Summary: Fifth year senior, 2+ years of starting experience at left tackle. Honorable Mention All Pac 12. The body control and knee bend that I look for are there, just lacks some of the power presence. Somewhat reminiscent of Ty Sambrailo from a couple years ago that many liked, except I think Callender has more upside. Some can view him as a tackle, some as a guard. But as his size with his foot speed and easy knee bend, he should be given a shot at backup LT duty.
*Another one of my day three sleepers. Callender does a lot of little things right and well. Very repeatable movement and technique, strong hands. Smart player that I think can make a roster early as a versatile backup and if he develops in to what I think he can, you could have yourself a starting left tackle here.
Upside Pro Comparison: David Bakhtiari – GB
15 – Zach Banner – 6’8/353 – USC: 69
Summary: Fifth year senior. Also spent a year on the USC basketball team. Capped his career off with a First Team All Pac 12 honor. Three year starter with experience at both tackle spots. Struggles with speed and leverage defenders, but the frame alone is enough to get Banner a second look. If his lower body flexibility and agility can improve just a little, there is a high upside here.
*You can make the argument this guy is so big, that it won’t matter how slow and heavy his feet are. Getting around him is a chore. However in the NFL, we know better. Banner has some pro-traits already. If he really gets his hands on you, its over. But man, he is a bad mover and he comes in to the league with hips that are about 10 years older than him. Maybe willing to take a shot on him very late because of the upside should his footwork and speed improve.
Upside Pro Comparison: Jon Runyan – RET
BEST OF THE REST
16 – Sam Tevi – 6’5/311 – Utah: 69
17 – Javarius Leamon – 6’7/332 – South Carolina State:68
18 – Chad Wheeler – 6’7/306: 68
19 – Jerry Ugokwe – 6’7/321 – William & Mary: 68
20 – Jylan Ware – 6’8/295 – Alabama State: 65
21 – Julie’n Davenport – 6’7/318 – Bucknell: 66
22 – Jon Heck – 6’7/300 – North Carolina: 65
23 – Brad Seaton – 6’7/310 – Villanova: 64
24 – Jonah Pirsig – 6’9/326 – Minnesota: 64
25 – Daniel Brunskill – 6’5/273 – San Diego State: 63
As I have said for awhile now, none of the names on this list are worth considering at #23. When I post the rest of the OL grades, there are a couple of guys in there worth discussing. But adding any of the names on this list early is simply adding what NYG already has plenty of, question marks along the OL. I don’t think OT should be completely ignored, but I think it would be wise to wait until day three to approach any of the names on this list. There are some sleepers here that I am confident can out-perform names that will be chosen in front of them if they get enough time. The one guy I would consider strongly AND a guy that I think will be there in rounds 3-4 is McDermott. He has tools, footwork, technique and played in a scheme that asked him to do a lot. Drafting him in that area would not put any pressure of him competing for a spot right away, as I think he needs a year to bulk up. He would be a nice safety net should Flowers prove in year 3 he can’t hack it outside. In addition, it may be nice to see what happens to Flowers if someone was brought in and put on his heels in line.