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Meet the Rookie: Can Adam Bisnowaty push for playing time?

Let’s take a closer look at sixth-round pick

NCAA Football: Villanova at Pittsburgh Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Fans, evaluators, and a certain editor I know, agonized with every round of the 2017 NFL Draft that passed without the New York Giants selecting an offensive lineman.

Until the sixth round when the Giants traded up to select Pittsburgh Panthers offensive tackle Adam Bisnowaty. Bisnowaty was thought to be a potential second (or even first) day selection after his 2015 season, but elected to stay in college for his senior season. After a season that saw him not only fail to take a step forward, but seemingly take a step back.

As a result, he dropped to where the Giants selected him.

The scouting reports on Bisnowaty all paint him as a hard-nosed and tenacious blocker who plays with a definite nasty streak, but also as athletically limited.

But what does that look like?

Pass Protection

The NFL in general, and the Giants in particular, are becoming more and more pass oriented. The Giants want to run the ball, but get down to it and Eli Manning carries the franchise on his right arm. The Giants’ offensive tackles allowed far too much pressure to get through to Manning in 2016. And while he is better able to deal with that than pressure up the middle, he needs time to find his receivers if they want the offense to step up from 2016.

This is the good when it comes to Bisnowaty’s pass protection.

Clemson is lined up in a 3-man front with a defensive tackle lined up over Bisnowaty as a 5-technique. He comes right at the left tackle with a bull rush. Bisnowaty does a good job of squaring up on the tackle and handling the bull rush. He isn’t able to get his hands inside the defender’s shoulders, but he does do a good job of anchoring against the power. He gives enough ground to absorb the rush, but sits back into his stance to keep balance and control the rush.

And even though the pass falls incomplete (fortunately for Pittsburgh, considering there were three defenders in the area), Bisnowaty shows off his signature toughness by blocking through the whistle.

If that was the good, then this is the bad.

Bisnowaty gets badly beaten here on a speed rush. He isn’t the only one, and there is a blitzer from the second level who gets an almost clean run at the quarterback, but this is an ugly rep for Bisnowaty.

He starts out fairly well, but the defender end (the same one he effectively stonewalled in the previous GIF) got a great jump off the line of scrimmage and Bisnowaty just doesn’t have the foot speed to recover. This was actually one of his better kick-slides in pass protection, staying balanced and avoid the choppy, skipping-jog to which he sometimes resorts against speed. However, it appears he doesn’t get enough width on his set, or rather doesn’t get there fast enough, and the defender is able to run right past him.

It isn’t always this bad with Bisnowaty:

Bisnowaty has to deal with a blitzing linebacker and comports himself well. It isn’t a perfect rep, but he is facing an athletic mismatch and does his job by running the blitzer past the pocket and giving quarterback Nathan Peterman the time he needs to make the throw.

Run Blocking

The New York Giants need more from their running game. While the (presumptive) elevation of Paul Perkins to the starting job will help (he averaged just under 5 yards per carry over the final three games of the season), the blocking up front needs to improve for the Giants to get the most out of their rushing attack.

If Bisnowaty either wins a starting job or is pressed into service, he will have to contribute to that.

This is a nifty play for a touchdown that has a lot going on and it also shows off some of Bisnowaty’s best trait as a run blocker.

The play is a combination of misdirection with the football with power man/gap blocking up front. The play starts with the quarterback and slot receiver faking a jet sweep. The Clemson offense bites hard on the fake, with three defenders knifing into the backfield to defend it. However, the quarterback pulls the ball back and tosses it to the H-Back who runs it to the right for the touchdown.

While the fake pulls the defense out of position and gives the offense an edge, it’s the blocking up front that makes the play. The blocking is a fairly classic power scheme which sees the left guard pull around to the right C-gap while the right guard and right tackle down block. Those three blocks open the hole which the ball carrier runs through.

Bisnowaty has the backside block, handling the right defensive end so the left guard can safely execute his pull. He does a good job with his power step, showing no hesitation to come up and attack the defensive end. He gets his hands on the end and drops anchor with a nice wide base to control the defender and keep him from getting penetration into the backfield.

Bisnowaty also manages to get a hand off the defensive end — without losing ground — and block linebacker Ben Boulware who was in pursuit. It’s impossible to say whether or not Boulware would have managed to run the play down from behind, but at the very least it shows Bisnowaty’s tenacity as a blocker.

Final Thoughts

Only time will tell if Bisnowaty was limited by nagging injuries last year and will be able to regain the form he showed in his sophomore and junior seasons. If he is, he could conceivably challenge for a starting job somewhere on the line.

But as it stands now, he looks more like a swing tackle who can contribute as a spot starter or a jumbo tight end. From the sixth round that would be a solid value, and teams need those kinds of players.

Considering the Giants seem to want to run a quick-hitting, rhythm passing game with a down-hill rushing attack, they do present a good schematic fit for Bisnowaty if he is to make a push for a starting job.