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2016 NFL Draft: Jerald Hawkins a dark-horse for the Giants' right tackle job?

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With Russell Okung signing with the Denver Broncos, it's time to take a closer look at the offensive tackles available in the draft. The Giants have a strong connection with LSU, perhaps they could look to the Tigers' left tackle.

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Free agency isn't over yet, but after making a huge splash in the opening hours, the New York Giants have gone relatively silent. In doing so, they've largely stayed out of the clamor to sign the offensive tackles on the market, only making an offer to Russell Okung.

If they choose to look to the draft to find their right tackle of the future -- assuming he isn't already on the roster -- and decide to go elsewhere in the first round, there are a few options who should be available on the second day of the draft. One of them is LSU left tackle Jerald Hawkins.

Measurables

Height: 6-foot-6

Weight: 305 pounds

Arm Length: 34 1/4"

Hand Size: 9 5/8"

40 Time: 5.23 seconds

3-Cone: 8.19 seconds

Short Shuttle: 4.89 seconds

Vertical Jump: N/A

Broad Jump: 8'4"

Bench Press: 23 reps

Pros

  • Good height and length for the position
  • Plays nasty, usually sustaining his blocks through the whistle, finishing them with a defender on the ground when he can.
  • Quick off the snap.
  • Shows a good "pop" in the run game.
  • Has quick feet and flashes active hands.

Cons

  • Needs to get stronger to re-anchor or drive defenders backwards.
  • Lets his hands get wide, negating his length and letting defenders into his pads.
  • Built more like a big tight end, might limit how much bigger or stronger he can become.
  • Hand usage, footwork, and pad level are inconsistent. Sometimes good, sometimes sloppy.

Prospect Video

Big Board Rankings

Big Blue View - 71st

Mocking The Draft - 68th

CBS - 78th

Draft Tek -  61st

Does He Fit With the Giants?

Hawkins is probably on the fringe of the possible draft answers for the Giants' right tackle question, but it would be far from an ideal situation for player or team.

Hawkins is a player who would likely benefit from being able to sit and work with a good offensive line coach for a year, as well as get stronger and develop his body. The Giants need a player who can step in and contribute right away.

That being said, the Giants' offense is one that can hide deficiencies at offensive tackle. Eli Manning has always been a quarterback who needed solid interior play more than tackle play, and the quick-release offense means the tackles don't have to block for much more than two seconds. So if it came down to it, the Giants could get by with Hawkins at right tackle, and he has the eventual upside to become a solid starter.

Final Thoughts

In largely staying out of the free-agent offensive tackle market, the Giants seemed to have confirmed that they either believe the future right side of their offensive line is in-house, or can be had in the draft. If they decide -- once again -- to go to the draft to complete their line, it does have certain advantages. It creates an inexpensive unit that can stay, and grow, together for years to come. It has risks too, all of which we've seen the last three years with the rookie struggles of Justin Pugh, Weston Richburg, and Ereck Flowers.

With the risk outweigh the eventual rewards? Only time will tell.