This offseason the New York Giants made Nate Solder the highest paid offensive lineman in the NFL in the hopes of solidifying their left tackle position. In the process they moved Ereck Flowers to right tackle in a competition (likely with John Greco and Chad Wheeler) to fill the void at right tackle.
But however it shakes out, the Giants still might be without a long term answer at either tackle position. Flowers has to re-learn how to play from the ground up as he moves to a brand new position, and Solder is over 30.
It would behoove the Giants to continue to add talent to their offensive line through the NFL draft. Value might dictate that they don’t add a top tackle prospect early in the draft, but if so, they should certainly look at adding a developmental prospect later on.
One of the most intriguing such prospects is Brandon Parker, a red--shirt senior out of North Carolina A&T. Parker has been a stand-out for those who watched NCA&T’s tape going back to 2016, when Tarik Cohen played there. He should be on the radar of every team looking for a potential home-grown starter.
- Prototypical frame. Tall with good thickness and long (35 inch) arms.
- Obvious athleticism. Fluid, easy mover on the edge.
- Knee bender.
- Plays with great leverage for a tall tackle.
- Makes an effort to play with good hand usage.
- Played against a lower (FCS) level of competition.
- Effort is there, but still needs to get better at consistently firing his punch.
- Needs to fill out his frame more.
- Played in a zone-read, spread offense
What they’re saying
Jared Veldheer, Cardinals - The 6-8, 321 pound Veldheer has emerged as a quality NFL tackle after initially getting drafted in the third round by Oakland out of tiny Hillsdale College back in 2010. If Parker develops Veldheer’s physicality and commitment to technique, he too, has the starter kit necessary to make a successful leap to the NFL.
IN OUR VIEW
Parker starred at left tackle for the Aggies but the majority of his snaps came at right tackle at the Senior Bowl. He possesses immense potential but to reach it, Parker needs to add some glass to his diet and some dynamite to his hands, winning at the FCS level despite a finesse playing style that simply won’t cut it against NFL defenders.
- Rob Rang (NFLDraftScout)
Does he fit the Giants?
Parker might be a developmental prospect, but he has the kind of physical tools that coaches just can’t wait to get their hands on.
I generally don’t like to see offensive tackles Parker’s height (6’8”), because their high center of gravity makes them prone to waist bending and lunging at defenders. Parker, however, seems to be something of an exception to that and looks to be a consistent knee bender.
He delivers his blocks in the run game with nice pop, though he might need to add mass and strength to deal with defenders at the next level. That, of course, does come with the concern that adding that muscle might compromise his athleticism and ability to play with leverage. However, he should be able to find a sweet spot in an NFL strength and conditioning program.
Parkers moves well in pass protection with quick feet and fluid steps. He usually seems to be on balanced and does a good job of staying in front of rushers.
It’s possible that the Giants don’t have a long-term solution at either tackle position, in addition to their neigh-nonexistent depth. So grabbing a developmental player only makes sense, and Parker is definitely one of the most intriguing. Because of the physical and mental development, Parker should be available on the third day of the draft -- though he likely won’t make it out of the fifth round.
There is bound to be a fairly significant learning curve for Parker, given the level of competition at which he played, and the scheme in which he played, in college. However, his upside is significant, and he seems like the kind of player to bet on.