The New York Giants have a history of players who enter the league at one position, only to transition to another at a later date. Players like Justin Pugh, David Diehl, Rich Suebert, Kevin Boothe, and Adam Koets have all helped the Giants win while moving from one position on the offensive line to another.
It’s proof in action that the Giants value intelligence and versatility in their offensive linemen. With that in mind, and the Giants’ continuing need for talented linemen, let’s take a look at one of the most versatile linemen in the 2017 NFL draft, LSU’s Ethan Pocic.
Height - 6 feet, 6 inches
Weight - 307
40 Time - 5.18 (projected)
- Versatile player who has started games at guard as well as center. His frame and natural athleticism suggest the ability to play right tackle as well as the interior.
- Very good hand usage. Extends arms into defenders and uses them to establish leverage
- Reliable pass protector, has good feet to mirror defenders.
- Nasty, tenacious blocker. Will lock on to defenders and battle well past the whistle. Lead LSU with 132.5 knockdowns in 12 games as a junior.
- Solid run blocker
- Plays well in space, and is an accurate pull blocker. He rarely seems to get out in space and not have anyone to block.
- Smart player, calls the protections for the LSU line
- 32 ⅝-inch arms are shorter than some teams would prefer
- At 6-6, Pocic might be too tall to stay at center.
- Will likely need to add some mass and fill out his frame a bit at the next level.
- Not great at driving defenders backward or creating movement at the point of attack.
- Sometimes struggles to keep his pad level down.
Does He Fit With The Giants?
The Giants have needs along the offensive line, and have always valued versatility in their linemen. Pocic looks like an immediate starter at four of five positions (from left guard to right tackle), so yes, he fits.
While his height might make him ill-suited for center at the next level, having the ability to play the position in a pinch isn’t a bad thing. He will likely have have to add mass to play guard or center, and it could take a year in the weight room (and cafeteria) to get him where he needs to be, the payoff could be dramatic. Pocic is a good player on the hoof, and he already uses his hands very well. He could follow the career path of Justin Pugh and start at right tackle and move inside if needed or when ready.
Big Board Rankings
Big Blue View - 41st overall
Mocking The Draft - N/A
CBS Sports - 64th overall
Draft Countdown - 87th overall
Draft Tek - 78th overall
I am considerably higher on Pocic than some other outlets are. But then, I am also looking at him through the lens of a team that needs offensive line help and values versatility. Purely as a center, Pocic is a bit of an awkward fit who at times winds up fighting his frame and could be limited to a zone blocking scheme at the next level.
However, I view him as a potential immediate contributor at three or four different positions and a good scheme fit for the Giants. While he might not have an obvious fit at any one position, Pocic’s versatility could allow the Giants to have competition at several positions and assemble the best five starters at their best positions. It would also allow the offensive line the flexibility to more easily respond to injury (or a similar eventuality).