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2018 NFL Draft prospect profile: Cody O’Connell, OG, Washington State

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O’Connell is a giant on the field. Will he be a Giant after the draft?

NCAA Football: Arizona at Washington State James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

New York Giants’ GM Dave Gettleman believes that “big men let you compete”. And as the general manager of the Carolina Panthers, he stayed true to that, typically selecting big, long-armed linemen.

They don’t get much bigger than Washington State’s Cody O’Connell, who out-sizes pretty much every offensive lineman in this draft class besides Oklahoma’s Orlando Brown.

O’Connell isn’t going to be selected on the first two days of the draft, but his sheer size and power, and understated athleticism, could garner him a look on the draft’s final day. Considering the Giants need to add as much talent and competition to their line as possible, no option should be over-looked.

Measurables

Pros

  • Absolutely enormous offensive lineman. Dwarfs defenders across from him.
  • Carries his weight well.
  • Shows the ability to be a “knee bender”
  • Generally reliable pass protector.

Cons

  • Might be too big.
  • Pad level rises as plays, and the game, progress.
  • Played in a high-volume spread passing offense. Rarely run blocked.
  • Can bend his knees and sinks his hips, but also lunges at defenders on occasion.
  • Footwork is a question mark.
  • Looks lost when he had to play in space

Prospect video

What they’re saying

In our view: Though his size points to a potential switch to OT, O’Connell is more plodder and mauler than a light-footed left tackle. That doesn’t mean a move outside is impossible, but it would take major improvements to his footwork and lateral agility. Either way, men O’Connell’s size and careers as decorated as his are hard to completely ignore. It’s unlikely that he’ll come off the board before the draft’s final day, and O’Connell will have to work hard to become a first-year contributor on offense, but if he can stick on special teams and continue to hone his craft, he has the frame to provide coveted flexibility along the offensive line eventually, even if in a reserve role.”

-- Hunter Ansley (NFLDraftScout)

Does He Fit The Giants?

O’Connell is going to intrigue a lot of teams.

Measuring an enormous 6’8 ½”, 365 pounds, with 35 ⅝-inch long arms, he is the type of player every team wishes they could have be the first off the bus. He manages to be huge without much excess weight, and he can play with all the power that implies.

A defender’s snap is usually over the moment he decides to take O’Connell on directly, and even Washington’s Vita Vea struggled to match power with power against him. However, unsurprisingly, he struggled at times with speed and could only watch when smaller, faster players attacked gaps and ran by him. He shows decent hand use, and is generally effective when his punch lands.

It’s unfortunate that he played his college career in Mike Leach’s spread offense, which only ran the ball sparingly. O’Connell’s massive frame and power are purpose built for a power run game. Based on his frame, teams will certainly look at him as a potential right tackle, but I would worry that his feet just aren’t up to playing on the edge in the NFL. On the other hand, there there just aren’t many guards his size (if any), and there are a couple good reasons for that. First, interior defenders might be (much) bigger than their edge counterparts, they also tend to be shorter, maximizing their leverage and balance. O’Connell’s height freely gives away any advantage in leverage to the defender. It also tends to clog throwing lanes over the middle, making it more difficult for any quarterback to scan the field and see defenders or receivers.

Forcing his way into a starting role isn’t out of the question for him, but he would likely need to be playing right guard in a scheme that doesn’t ask him to move too much.

Dave Gettleman has shown a definite affinity for big linemen, and O’Connell could intrigue at the end of the draft, or perhaps as a priority free agent if teams aren’t sure enough of what to make of him and he goes un-drafted.