The New York Giants have to repair and improve their offensive line. Not only was it plain to see on the field in recent years, but new GM Dave Gettleman made a point of it when he was hired.
There are few offensive lineman currently predicted to be at the top of the draft, but several with intriguing potential. Brian O’Neill a former basketball player and tight end turned offensive tackle for the Pittsburgh Panthers is one such player.
- Long, lean frame. O’Neill might need to add a bit of mass (muscle, hopefully) at the next level, but he has the frame of an NFL offensive tackle.
- Very light feet. Looks effortless in his movements and natural blocking in space.
- Blocks with plenty of “nasty”. Looks to finish his blocks and give that extra little shove as the play ends.
- Accurate blocker in space. Doesn’t flail or miss his blocks at the second level.
- Natural knee bender. Generally sits back in his stance to absorb power rushes.
- Used to playing out of a 3-point stance and a pro-style blocking scheme.
- Played both left and right tackle at Pitt
- Will likely need to get stronger at the next level. He isn’t weak, but still looks more like a big tight end than an offensive tackle.
- Occasionally inconsistent with pad level and hand usage.
- Limited experience at offensive tackle. Was a basketball player and tight end when he arrived on campus.
What They’re Saying
“I love the feet, the athletic ability of guys like that — the tight end/offensive tackle. and he had a great year,” he said. “It’s easy to put him at right tackle to start. O’Neill is a right tackle, he can play guard, he can play anywhere. I think the (Ravens’) right tackle spot will be upgraded if you bring in Brian O’Neill.” - Mel Kiper Jr. on mocking O’Neill to the Ravens at 16th overall.
O’Neill is in an interesting place right now. He isn’t getting as much national attention as other prospects, but at the same time he is highly regarded. His athleticism is obvious upon watching him, and he could probably start in the NFL right now. However, it’s also easy to see how much upside he still has.
His ability to retain that athleticism while adding weight is absolutely impressive, but what we can’t know is how much more he can add without sacrificing the mobility that could make him special.
Dave Gettleman has shown a preference for big linemen in the past, but O’Neill looks to have the potential to fill out his frame more. If he manages to last to the top of the second round, he could be a steal as the Giants move to improve their offensive line.