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Offensive Line Options: Should Giants Pursue Cameron Erving, Cyrus Kouandjio?

Would either play upgrades Giants’ depth?

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns
Cameron Erving
Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Browns are reportedly trying to trade 2015 first-round pick Cameron Erving. The Detroit Lions recently released tackle Cyrus Kouandjio. Should the New York Giants, who might be in the market for more offensive line depth, be interested in either player?

Let’s look at both players.

Cameron Erving

[UPDATE: The Browns have announced that Erving has been dealt to the Kansas City Chiefs for a fifht-round pick.]

There is a reason the Browns are trying to trade Erving, the 19th overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. He hasn’t played very well. Here are his Pro Football Focus grades:

  • 2015: 49.4, 76th out of 79 qualifying right tackles
  • 2016: 36.8, 72nd out of 78 qualifying right tackles

The 2016 season was far worse for Erving than that of either of the Giants’ oft-criticized tackles, Ereck Flowers or Bobby Hart.

Erving, 25, has one thing going for him — at least if you look at him as a depth guy. He can, and has, played every position on the line except left tackle. Another plus would be that he is still on his rookie contract.

Here is Chris Pokorny of SB Nation’s Browns web site, Dawgs By Nature, on Erving:

Erving has one redeemable quality: he tries. No one questions that he attempts to give effort. But his actual game play has been pretty abysmal,where he's a constant liability. I saw Giants fans complaining about Ereck Flowers heading into that preseason game, but believe me that Erving's flaws would be so prevalent that fans would keep Flowers 100 percent of the time over him if they had to choose.

The oddest thing is how poor Erving is in open space. He'll either just fall flat on his face out of no where, or will completely miss the guy he's supposed to block. He commits penalties. He doesn't pass block or run block well.

He's played offensive guard, center, and offensive tackle in his first three years. If I were to make an excuse for him, that would be it -- he's been asked to change positions too often. But the magnitude of his struggles have Browns fans wishing he was off the team yesterday.

That’s umm, not exactly a ringing endorsement for Erving.

Cyrus Kouandjio

I have said or written many times that the Giants could use an experienced swing tackle. The struggles this preseason of Adam Bisnowaty (44.1 overall PFF grade, 1 sack, 2 hits, 4 hurries on 74 pass blocks) and Chad Wheeler (52.7 overall, 2 sacks, 3 hurries on 66 pass blocks) have only strengthened my feeling about that. Could Kouandjio, a 2014 second-round pick who is still only 24, be that guy?

Kouandjio started only seven games in three seasons with the Buffalo Bills, his time there marred by injuries.

Here are Kouandjio’s PFF grades:

  • 2015: 72.0 (didn’t play enough snaps to qualify for rank)
  • 2016: 76.5, 34th among all OTs

After losing left tackle Taylor Decker to injury this offseason, the Detroit Lions added Kouandjio. Oddly, the Lions never really seemed to give Kouandjio a chance, giving the left tackle spot to former Rams flop Greg Robinson. Injuries could also have had something to do with that.

Here is Jeremy Reisman of SB Nation’s Pride of Detroit on Kouandjio’s time with the Lions:

“His time in Detroit was pretty weird. The Lions added him and Robinson on the very same day, and many thought it would be a 50-50 competition for the left tackle job. But right out of the gate it was pretty clear Robinson was Detroit's guy and it almost seemed like Kouandjio was never really given a chance. He was playing at the end of some preseason games, so he clearly wasn't impressing Lions coaches.”

Kouandjio wouldn’t be expected to take a job away from Ereck Flowers or Bobby Hart. He might, though, provide better insurance than what is currently on the roster. Is he worth a look?