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Could Giants’ OL Nick Gates become an undrafted gem?

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Former Nebraska tackle looks like an NFL guard prospecrt

NFL: Combine
Nick Gates
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

As general manager of the Carolina Panthers, hog mollie loving Dave Gettleman found Andrew Norwell, an All-Pro guard in 2017, as an undrafted free agent. Can Gettleman duplicate that success with the New York Giants?

One intriguing offensive lineman the Giants signed post-draft was Nick Gates of Nebraska. Let’s take a closer look at Gates as we continue our player-by-player profiles of the 90-man roster the Giants will bring to training camp.

2017 season in review

Gates completed his career as a three-year starter with the Cornhuskers. After playing right tackle as a red-shirt freshman, he moved to the left side the past two seasons. He was an All-Big 10 honorable mention selection by coaches and media.

2018 outlook

On their official website, the Giants list Gates as a guard. Perusing a variety of scouting reports about Gates, there is general agreement in the scouting community that he will need to move inside to have a chance as an NFL player.

From The NFL Draft Report:

Gates has a tall, large and thick frame, with broad shoulders, wide chest, long arms, thick legs and despite his already massive physique, he still has room on his frame for additional growth. He compensates for a lack of initial quickness (5.46 in the 40-yard dash) with a long wingspan (79 ¼-inches) that he uses effectively to engulf the defender. He lacks good strength, but somehow demonstrates forceful hands and is an adequate fist fighter, doing a good job of widening the rush lanes.

Although Gates has some athletic traits, he struggled mightily against top-tier pass rush competition with his shaky performances against Derek Barnett (Tennessee), Nick Bosa (Ohio State) and Shaka Toney (Penn State) standing out on film. While the negative plays stand out, so does his physical grit and hockey tough attitude to bury defenders and compete through the whistle.

Gates is a liability moving in the second level due to very poor sustained speed, but he has some decent footwork in the short area, as he can redirect and take proper angles in his pass set, making him a better fit as an interior blocker (guard) than playing outside (tackle).

Gates is slow to set in pass protection at times, as he tends to bend at the waist and take false steps. He has the physical tools to be a productive starting right guard.

Here is a look at Gates’ measurables:

Despite the belief that Gates needs to move inside, his spider chart comparisons to include a couple of successful NFL tackles — Riley Reiff and Mitchell Schwartz.

Gates could be an interesting player to watch heading into training camp. Perhaps a practice squad spot is in his future.