Among the many schools of thought regarding what the New York Giants could, or should, do with the second overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft is the idea of bolstering the offensive line by selecting Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson.
GM Dave Gettleman talks about taking a player at No. 2 you can picture donning a golf Hall of Fame jacket someday. Scouts talk about Nelson as a generational offensive lineman, the best guard prospect to come along in decades. The Giants might not be willing to select Nelson at No. 2, but in a trade-down scenario to somewhere between No. 4 and No. 7? Could be.
If the Giants don’t select Nelson, and even if they do but are still hunting for potential upgrades to their offensive line after Round 1, who are some players they could consider? There are many. Below are just a few who could be intriguing targets for the Giants.
Center — Frank Ragnow: Billy Price of Ohio State and James Daniels of Iowa figure to be the first two centers off the board. If the Giants happen to snag one of those two players at 34 it would be hard to argue with. If they were to grab Arkansas’s Ragnow with one of their third-round picks that would be good value in my eyes.
At 6-foot-5, 312 pounds, Ragnow also has the size to offer depth at guard should he lose a competition with Brett Jones, the Giants’ incumbent starter at center.
Inside The Pylon says Ragnow “is a probable rookie starter in year 1 with potential to develop into a Pro Bowler at center.”
Pro Football Focus considers has Ragnow rated as the best center in this draft class:
Ragnow checks almost all the boxes one could want from a center other than his health (senior year ended with high-ankle injury). He’s a three-year starter with dominant tape that has experience at both guard (2015) and center (2016 and 2017). The Arkansas center has also done it against top competition in the SEC and never once looked overmatched.
Guard — Austin Corbett: Played left tackle at Nevada. Will likely end up at either guard or center in the NFL,
In his 2018 NFL Draft Guide, Dane Brugler writes:
A four-year starter at Nevada, Corbett was a mainstay at left tackle for the Wolfpack, earning All-Conference honors the last three years. A two-year team captain, he has the professional make-up and mature leadership traits ready for a NFL locker room. While there are some questions about his inline power, Corbett is a technician in pass pro and as a run blocker, displaying violent hands – and better yet, he understands how to use them. His athleticism is best described as average with hip tightness that hurt his recovery skills, but his high intelligence helps mask those issues. Overall, Corbett played exclusively on the edges in college, but his pedigree and skill-set are ideally suited inside at center or guard where he projects as a long-term NFL starter.
Tackle — Tyrell Crosby: Other tackles are prettier and get more love in the mainstream. Crosby, though, could be terrific value on Day 2. Emory Hunt of Football Game Plan has Crosby graded as the best offensive tackle in the class — ahead of both Mike McGlinchey of Notre Dame and Connor Williams of Texas.
Pro Football Focus says:
Crosby isn’t going to win any beauty contests with his play style, but he got the job done at a high level at Oregon. It’s encouraging that he showed well in pass protection 1-on-1s at the Senior Bowl, with a 67 percent win rate, considering his pass sets at Oregon were underdeveloped. His quickness could even see teams value him as a guard at the next level.
NFL Draft Report says that Crosby is “one of the best trap and drive blockers in the industry -- at any level,” and adds that Crosby “can play any position on the offensive line, but with his ability to neutralize edge rushers, he is a natural fit at his present left offensive tackle position.”
Not everyone, though, is a Crosby fan. Here is Lance Zierlein of NFL.com:
Evaluators may stick with Crosby at right tackle in the pros, but his issues with hip tightness and gaining enough ground to the edge in pass protection may force a move inside to guard sooner rather than later. Crosby has technical issues to smooth out, but he will appeal to teams who covet size, length and strength as he puts big checkmarks in those boxes. Crosby is a bulldozer who can generate good movement in the run game, but he lacks the body control for desired consistency at tackle or guard. He has NFL starting talent but he may have a limited ceiling.
Center — Mason Cole: Bounced between center and left tackle at Michigan. Could also play guard in the NFL. All of that flexibility would make Cole a valuable reserve if he never cracked a starting lineup. NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein compares Cole to Ryan Jensen, who signed a 4-year, $42 million dollar ($22 million guaranteed) contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this offseason.
Guard — Sean Welsh: Hey, the guy played four years at the offensive line factory known as Iowa.
NFL Draft Scout says:
An experienced multi-year starter at a Big 10 school at Iowa, Welsh should have the opportunity to compete for reps right away. Physically he looks the part and his measurables are what you expect from an NFL guard. His areas of strength should translate well to the NFL game and is ideally suited for a power man running scheme. He will likely start out competing for reps in year one, with the possibility of developing into a borderline pro bowl guard in the future. With Welsh’s experience, position flexibility and leadership qualities we see him taken off the board in the round 3-4 range.
Inside The Pylon says:
Overall, an experienced, smart and tough interior offensive lineman who seamlessly transitioned between guard, center and tackle throughout his Iowa career. He will begin as a swing iOL and likely develop into a functional starter by his third year, but he is limited to Gap/Inside Zone schemes because of a very adequate athletic profile.
Tackle — Brandon Parker: If you are drafting a tackle on Day 3, you are probably looking for an athletic, high-upside development player who might turn into a solid starter down the road. Parker, from North Carolina AT&T, fits the description.
Inside The Pylon says the 6-foot-7½, 307-pounder is “a long, athletic left tackle in the league, who will serve as a backup, that can become a starter, who you can win with. Excels in pass protection and the ability to play in either Power or Zone based run scheme.”
Brugler says Parker “needs to continue and get stronger and improve his sustain skills, but he has the frame, athleticism and football character than makes him an ideal developmental tackle prospect.”