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NFL Draft: New York Giants needs and fits - offensive line

Who fits the Giants’ need on the offensive line on each day of the Draft?

NCAA Football: Temple at Charlotte Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants have long been considered a “BPA” (or Best Player Available) drafting team. Their draft philosophy, largely shaped by George Young, has been to stick to their board and take the best player available when their pick comes around.

The reality of that philosophy is a bit more involved than that. It can get a bit thorny to grade players at different positions against each other, your own team’s scheme must always be taken into account. So it is, perhaps, more accurate to say that the Giants draft under the philosophy of “Best Player Available (at a position of need).”

As teams assemble their draft boards, they have to take their own self-scouting into account. Things like scheme fit and positional need have to be taken into account.

So, what are the Giants perceived needs, and how could they address them on each day of the draft?

*Disclaimer: The internal development of young players obviously feeds in to a team’s self-scouting. If they honestly believe that young players will step up, they might not feel as strongly about a position as fans will. The best example of this is the safety position in the 2016 off-season. Fans were clamoring for a veteran, and outraged when Jerry Reese largely sat pat. As it turned out, betting on Landon Collins was the right move.

Need - Offensive Line

Day 1 Fit

Ryan Ramczyk (OT, Wisconsin) - Fans are probably tired of Ramczyk’s name by now, but it stays in the conversation for a reason. Ed recently had offensive line specialist Duke Manyweather on the Big Blue Chat podcast, and Duke outlined why Ramczyk is his favorite tackle in this draft class, and believes he can be “good to very good” in the NFL.

“As far as the offensive tackle position, if I had to rank them, I would say as far as efficiency, varying traits, and offensive line-critical factors, assuming his medical checks out, I like Ryan Ramczyk out of Wisconsin. I think he’s an efficient mover, I think that he possesses enough athleticism, and enough length that he is going to be able to hold up on the edge. I think he’s strong in the necessary area that offensive linemen need to be strong at. Rotational power, being able to dig out backside scoops, opening up that play-side hip, being able to cut guys off, being able to reach guys and seal the edge, drive guys out to the sideline, and get out in space and execute blocks. I think Ramczyk can do it all in that regard.”

It’s expected that any offensive lineman the Giants select in the first round would have “Left Tackle” upside in case Ereck Flowers fails to take the next step (or steps) in his development in his second year with Mike Solari. Ramczyk might only have one year of major college experience, but he has was still the best run blocker in the nation (per PFF, anyway), a reliable pass protector, and a tenacious blocker in general. Assuming his hip checks out medically — his surgeon reportedly said that there was less damage than he anticipated — Ramczyk should be in strong consideration if he is there for the Giants to pick at 23rd overall.

Day 2 Fit

Dion Dawkins (OT, Temple) - Big, strong, with long arms and a nasty demeanor, Dion Dawkins looks like a Giants’ lineman (on either side of the ball). It remains to be seen whether Dawkins will be an offensive tackle or guard at the next level, but that versatility could work in his favor for the Giants. After adding free agent D.J. Fluker, the Giants might want a player who can play whichever spot Fluker doesn’t. If Fluker settles in the right guard position, Dawkins should have a relatively smooth transition to right tackle. Likewise, if the Giants like Fluker best at right tackle, Dawkins’ versatility should let him play right guard as well. Either way, the right side of the Giants’ line will be much stronger, and a much more viable running option, than it was in years past.

Day 3 Fit

Julie’n Davenport (OT, Bucknell) - Davenport’s stock is tough to predict. He reportedly had a strong week at the Senior Bowl, which could help boost his stock to the second day of the draft. However, he is still a raw developmental prospect who needs to make the adjustment to a big jump in competition from Bucknell to the NFL. Davenport has the tools the Giants absolutely love in their linemen with vine-like 36-inch arms and big 10 12 inch hands. He was also twice voted a team captain, which speaks to his leadership ability. The Giants have favored team captains in the draft since prioritizing high work ethic, motivated self-starters, which is another mark in Davenport’s favor.