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2016 NFL Draft: Arizona State guard Christian Westerman is a hidden gem

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NFL-ready offensive linemen don't come along every day.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Christian Westerman transferred from Auburn to Arizona State and from there performed some of the most technically efficient offensive line play in the nation. Could the New York Giants be tempted to add a polished guard prospect like Westerman early on Day 2 of the NFL Draft?

Measurables

Pros

  • Excels in close-quarters combat.
  • Polished pass-blocker, with steady decisive moves.
  • Good burst, can pull to space and get to a point.
  • Footwork and hand technique are NFL ready.
  • Versatile enough to play any spot on the line if needed.

Cons

  • Very much a finesse player, not a power blocker.
  • Needs NFL conditioning and likely to get pushed off his spot on bull-rushes at the next level.
  • Sometimes looks content to let defender come to him rather than be proactive with blocks.

Prospect Video

Big Board Rankings

Big Blue View - Unranked*

Mocking The Draft - Third-best guard

CBS - 50th

Draft Tek - 84th

*BBV Big Board will be updated this week. I have Westerman ranked 65th overall.

Does He Fit With the Giants?

The interesting aspect of Westerman is that he's one of the few linemen in this draft who would give the line an overall benefit rather than individual one. Playing him at either guard spot immediately takes a lot of pressure away from the tackle. He's a strong pass-blocker who can work in closed spaces and use the cluttered environment to his advantage.

The Giants could put him at left guard between Weston Richburg and Ereck Flowers where his pass-blocking skills would cement out that left side of the wall. It would allow Justin Pugh to move to the other guard spot where he could help with whoever plays right tackle next year (likely Marshall Newhouse, Bobby Hart or another new face). This is a move that would help two places at once without massively disrupting the balance of the line.

Final Thoughts

The Giants will probably have a shot at Westerman on Day 2 of the draft, but I think a zone-blocking team will value him high enough to take him in the latter half of the second round, maybe even earlier. The Denver Broncos and Houston Texans are both teams who could really want him sooner rather than later.

So, when it comes down to it, would he be worth the No. 40 pick? Would the Giants pull the trigger in the second round? I think they should, because Westerman is good enough to be a cost-effective impact fixer on the offensive line. He has room to improve, but Westerman's floor is high enough to warrant serious consideration for a team looking to improve at one or more line spots in the upcoming draft.