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2016 NFL Draft: Cody Whitehair would fit right in with Giants

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A left tackle in college, but he's the NFL Draft's top guard prospect.

Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

Cody Whitehair is good enough that the New York Giants may never have a second shot at him, but should he be available when they pick in the second round, would he be a suitable fit?

Measurables

Pros

  • Technically sound. Good footwork, engages with hands well.
  • Not going to get beaten by finesse rushers, has the mental edge to counter tricks like spins and stunts.
  • The closest thing you can get to someone who will simply pave over defenders.
  • Can block someone out of a play early, and will push speed guys wide with ease.
  • Ability to pull bodes well for a transition to guard.
  • Had to execute a huge number of strange "Wildcat" style plays, so the possibility to use him for package plays is real. Package plays often incorporate run-blocking even if the QB options to throw, so he has what it takes to create space without giving up the lane to the quarterback.

Cons

  • Needs to use his weight better, can't bend backward at the waist in the NFL, may be correctable with some redistribution of weight vs. muscle.
  • Can occasionally get beaten off the snap, which puts him at a disadvantage because he uses his hands so much.

Prospect Video

Big Board Rankings

Big Blue View - 32nd

Mocking The Draft - 50th

CBS - 39th

Draft Tek - 36th

Does He Fit With the Giants?

Whitehair would fit great with the Giants. He's a smart, capable lineman who can go to work against top level talent right away. He played left tackle in college, and it's unlikely he would survive there in the NFL, but he's the top guard prospect in this draft, with the possibility of playing at right tackle if needed.

Ideally, the Giants find a starter at either guard or tackle in this draft, and if they don't go in that direction with the tenth overall pick, then early in the second round could have some gems. Whitehair would have to fall a little to make it to No. 40, but it's possible depending on if other teams value him as purely a guard or as a possible tackle.

If he somehow ended up in New York, Whitehair should start right away and give the team a rock-solid interior line, with potential huge improvements coming for the running game. I've firmly been in the camp that the Giants don't need to spend a high pick to get some improvement at this position, but if they did, Whitehair would be up there as a dream candidate.

Final Thoughts

Whitehair's experience with strange zone blocking schemes may cause a team to pull the trigger in the second half of the first round. I look at the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos and think that one of those two have to go after him, because he's likely the best lineman on the board at that point, even if he does just project as a guard.

He's one of those players that you'd really love to see on your team but just appears to be about half a round out of reach, and it's a shame, because the Giants could use someone NFL ready. Justin Pugh, Weston Richburg and Ereck Flowers all had at least one year of struggles, and the team would ideally like to get the most of each player while they're still on rookie contracts. Any of these developmental guys could put you at risk for another line issue cropping up before they even see the field. Someone like Whitehair would suit up in September, go out, and run right over the opposition.