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Kareem McKenzie -- The Under-Appreciated Giant

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New York Giants' fans don't spend a whole lot of time talking about Kareem McKenzie. Sure, McKenzie was talked about some when he missed four games in 2009 with injuries. And he was talked about plenty when he foolishly and uncharacteristically committed two personal foul penalties during a 2010 loss to the Tennessee Titans.

Often, that is how it is with offensive linemen. They only get talked about when something goes wrong. Really, though, Giants fans should be talking about all of the things the usually overlooked 10-year veteran does right -- especially what he did right in 2010.

In an article aptly titled 'Kareem McKenzie: What More Do You Want?' Pro Football Focus looked at the 2010 performance of tackles around the league and found McKenzie to be far and away the best right tackle in the NFL in 2010.

McKenzie's overall grade from PFF was +23.6, placing him third in the league among all offensive tackles and behind only Andrew Whitworth of Cincinnati and Jake Long of Miami. For comparison, and as a measure of how overlooked McKenzie was, Giants' right guard Chris Snee went to another Pro Bowl in 2010 with a PFF grade of just +2.8.

McKenzie is now 32, and will be in the final year of his Giants' contract whenever the 2011 season starts. As changes to the aging Giants' offensive line have been discussed the past couple of seasons there has been an assumption that the Giants would need a new right tackle for the 2012 season, and that perhaps they should start shoving McKenzie aside prior to that and putting someone else on Snee's right side.

If McKenzie plays as well, or nearly as well in 2011 as he did a season ago that assessment will likely need to be re-evaluated.

How well did he play in 2010? Well, the +23.6 speaks volumes all by itself. PFF, though, broke down the performance of offensive tackles further. Here are some of the findings:

  • In terms of positive run blocks, only Eric Winston of Houston had a higher percentage (12.87 to 12.30 percent) than McKenzie. McKenzie, though, led all right tackles with 62 positive run blocks.
  • Among all right tackles, McKenzie's 6.15 percent of negative plays allowed was the best in the league.
  • Pass protection is considered McKenzie's weakness, yet PFF shows that he finished fourth-best among NFL right tackles in that category as he allowed pressures on only 4.79 percent of pass plays.

I have to agree with PFF when it says 'What more do you want out of an NFL player?'