The New York Giants need help along the offensive line, that much is anything but a shocking bit of insight. After completely rebuilding their offensive line over the course of 2018, they saw their sacks allowed, sack rate, and adjusted line yards (a measure of rushing success which is attributed solely to the offensive line) all decline from 2017.
But the Giants’ don’t just need starters along their line, they also need to improve their depth and find players who might develop into starters for the future.
Zack Bailey has played right tackle, left guard, and center for South Carolina, playing against elite competition like Clemson, Georgia, LSU, and Alabama. He isn’t highly regarded, but has been tested by some of the best defenders in the nation. Could he become a late-round gem for the Giants?
- Big interior blocker. Listed at 6-5, 315 but looks bigger than that.
- Former tackle, smooth mover at guard.
- Enough strength to drop his hips and re-anchor against most DTs
- Capable of generating impressive power in the run game.
- Capable pulling guard.
- Looks for work.
- Started 38 games at South Carolina. Has started at right tackle, left guard, and center
- Needs to consistently play with better pad level.
- Tendency to lunge against speed. Particularly at tackle, but crops up at guard as well.
- Needs to get better at sustaining blocks.
- Can look lost at the second level.
- Suffered a broken fibula in his last game.
(Bailey is the left guard, number 78)
Does He Fit The Giants?
Bailey is a versatile and powerful offensive lineman who’s strength lies in his ability generate movement in the run game. Considering the Giants’ need to improve their run blocking as well as build their depth (and potentially find developmental linemen for the future), Bailey should at least intrigue. He flashes the tools to play in both man and zone blocking schemes -- he moved well enough to play right tackle passably, though guard is a much better fit. He needs to work on keeping his hips and pads down, as well as sitting back in his stance. When he does those things, he is capable of standing up even the best rushers, as he proved against Bradley Chubb at right tackle in 2017, and Christian Wilkins at left guard in 2018. However, as of now he is prone to rising through contact, losing leverage, and lunging when faced with athletic rushers. They aren’t debilitating flaws and his flashes suggest they can be cleaned up, but it will take work.
The coaching staff will probably love his attitude, even if he doesn’t blow them away over the course of the draft process. When the evaluation committee suggested he return to school for his senior season after 2017, he embraced it as an opportunity to complete his degree and continue to improve as a player. When he got the X-ray of his broken leg, he responded by saying that it was “the best injury that could have happened,” and stated his desire to be on the sidelines of the Belk Bowl to cheer on his teammates.
He is currently expected to be drafted somewhere late in the third day of the draft, and the Giants are flush with picks in that range. It is unlikely that he will be an answer as a starter, but players with tools, versatility, and enthusiasm are never a bad idea to acquire.