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Giants’ 90-man roster: Can undrafted center James O’Hagan prove scouts wrong?

Despite solid analytic numbers, Buffalo center ended up signing as a UDFA

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NCAA Football: Buffalo at Rutgers
James O’Hagan
Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants are hoping the two games they saw Jon Halapio before he was injured in 2018 are truly reflective of the the player he can be. If Halapio isn’t really the guy they saw in those games, if he is really just the journeyman who kicked around for years looking for an opportunity, the Giants could be back on the lookout for a long-term answer at center.

Which is where undrafted free agent James O’Hagan might come in.

Let’s talk about O’Hagan as we continue profiling the 90 players the Giants will bring to training camp later this summer.

The basics

Height: 6-foot-1
Weight: 300
Age: 22
Position: Center
Experience: 0

How he got here

O’Hagan was a four-year starter at center for the University of Buffalo. Pro Football Focus listed him as the highest-graded pass-blocking center in the country in 2017 and the second-highest graded run-blocking interior lineman in the 2019 NFL Draft class. Yet, O’Hagan went undrafted. The Giants signed him as a priority free agent.

2019 outlook

O’Hagan is behind Halapio and Spencer Pulley entering training camp. Probably also Evan Brown, a 2018 undrafted free agent who spent all of last season on the Giants’ roster without ever getting into a game.

Is O’Hagan a player who was seriously overlooked by NFL teams? Or, are his PFF grades seriously misleading because of the level of competition he faced in the MAC?

Draft Analyst called O’Hagan “a solid collegiate center who has the tenacity and small-area strength to make an NFL roster as a backup.”

SB Nation’s Bull Run, which covers UB sports, pointed out that O’Hagan allowed only four quarterback pressures over his final two seasons. Bull Run’s Tim Riordan wrote:

O’Hagan was a solid four your starter at center who’s tenure saw a year [over] year improvement on the offensive side of the ball.

O’Hagan came to Buffalo rather than take up several college wrestling scholarships and after using a red shirt in 2014 went on to start 50 straight games for the Bulls. Not just as the leader of the offensive line but one of the key voices that set the tone for the entire team.

Every season after his 2015 debut O’Hagan’s name was on the preseason Rimington Trophy watch list which is is awarded to the player considered to be the best center in college football.

We should find out during training camp and the preseason if O’Hagan’s PFF numbers are truly indicative of his ability, or if he is just a limited player who dominated lesser competition. The Giants, of course, hope it’s the former.