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Giants roster preview: Could Jake Rodgers emerge as swing tackle?

Rodgers is considered a project. Can he show enough for the Giants to keep him on the active roster?

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Whether you like it or not, as currently constructed we know who will start on the offensive line for the New York Giants. Who will back up Ereck Flowers, Justin Pugh, Weston Richburg, John Jerry and Marshall Newhouse? Good luck figuring that out. Your guess is as good as mine.

Let's look at one of the unknown young players hoping to be one of those reserves as we continue our player-by-player profiles of the 90-man roster the Giants will bring to training camp. Our focus today will be on offensive tackle Jake Rodgers, a player from small-school Eastern Washington.

2015 Season in Review

Drafted in the seventh round, Rodgers was cut by the Atlanta Falcons at the end of the preseason. He did not hook on with another team until the Giants added him to their practice squad early in December. They signed him to a reserve/futures contract in January.

Here is an assessment of Rodgers from Dave Coate of SB Nation's Falcons web site, The Falcoholic:

"Really good athlete for a tackle, cool guy, just didn't fit into the Falcons' plans given that they have two young starting tackles. Definitely a project who needs to add a little more strength and bulk and clean up his footwork a bit, but there's enough here that I think he could be a valuable reserve in a year or two if he's coached up."

2016 Season Outlook

Let's be honest. No one has a clue how many reserve offensive linemen the Giants will keep, or who they will be. Shoot, we know it's still possible the Giants find a right tackle to replace Newhouse as the starter.

Does Rodgers have a chance to make the roster? Sure he does. He's on the 90-man roster, the situation with the backups is, umm, unsettled. He can apparently play both sides. So, he has a chance. Is it a good chance or a "he'll make it everybody else drops dead" kind of chance? Again, who knows? We haven't seen these guys in pads, so no way to judge.

Here are a few notes about Rodgers from various 2014 draft scouting reports.

Athletic tackle who shows effective movement skills on interior to make tough angle blocks. Has the feet to compete at swing tackle in the NFL. Rodgers has very good moments in the first half of many snaps, but will see his play decline in the second half of the snap. Improved technique and balance will be the key to his chances as an NFL prospect.

He shows adequate footwork in his kickslide to cut off speed, absorbing contact well to swallow up rushers. But Rodgers plays too high and leaves his body exposed and susceptible to jabs and prefers to absorb rather than extend his punch, leading to balance issues. With his experience all over the line, Rodgers offers versatility with the athleticism to be a swing tackle on the scout team, but some scouts worry he might be damaged goods.


OT Jake Rodgers, Eastern Washington, 6’5, 313, 5.25E A lot of folks have slept on Rodgers and for good reason.  Until the NFLPA Game there was no hint that he was a top rated prospect, on paper, but scouts knew it all along.  As a junior when he didn’t fully start he showed flashes of a potential NFL tackle and as a senior he took over as a starter playing both guard and tackle.  As a senior he proved to be someone who may not be flashy or wow you but he gets the job done.  Rodgers is very quiet and doesn’t wow you but he certainly is reliable and worthy of being picked.  If he isn’t picked I expect him to have a similar career to another tackle I liked coming out in Ryan Schroeder, from Valdosta State.  Rodgers is the top projected small school tackle in this draft class and should be a late rounder or priority free agent.

Rodgers is in a group with Bobby Hart, Adam Gettis, Byron Stingily, Dillon Farrell, Ryan Seymour, Brett Jones and Emmett Cleary competing for reserve roles. I suspect this is a situation that won't be settled until the end of the preseason, perhaps even the first couple of weeks of the regular season.