The good news for the New York Giants is that they are set at the offensive guard positions, at least for now.
The presence of Will Hernandez and Kevin Zeitler gives them something around which they can build on the offensive line. But as we’ve seen, the other three spots on the line are question marks going forward. Jon Halapio tore his Achilles in the Giants’ season-ending loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, but if we’re being honest, the center position needed to be upgraded anyway.
The Giants should also be aware that while Zeitler is one of the best guards in the NFL, he will be 30 in March, has been dealing with injury, and is due to be paid $22 million over the next two years (with $7.5 million in dead cap money). It’s possible the Giants could move on after the 2020 season or not re-sign Zeitler after 2021.
Either way, the Giants would do well to have a young guard in the developmental pipeline.
Tyler Biadasz (Wisconsin)
Biadasz was considered one of the best interior offensive linemen in the 2019 draft, but went back to school after receiving a “Day 2” grade from the draft advisory committee. He didn’t have the 2019 campaign that many were anticipating, but Biadasz is still a very good prospect. The value likely is not there for the Giants to select Biadasz with the fourth pick in the draft, but he could be a target if a trade-back scenario comes up.
Nick Harris (Washington)
While Biadasz has slipped some by not taking the step forward that many anticipated, Harris has moved up over the course of the season and could well rival Biadasz on many draft boards. In fact, the value of the two will likely come down to the eye of the beholder and teams that look for more nimble, athletic blockers could favor Harris.
Harris is not only polished in his technique, but also very experienced, starting 50 games at center and guard over the course of his collegiate career. He isn’t nearly as big as centers like Kevin Baas or Jon Halapio, and is built more along the lines of Weston Richburg and Brett Jones at 6-foot 1 inch, 302 pounds. He puts that low center of gravity and agility to good use in pass protection, in run blocking, and at the second level. Harris would be an immediate starter in zone schemes or in man-gap schemes on combo blocks and as a pulling center.
Lloyd Cushenberry III (LSU)
Cushenberry has a lot of traits scouts look for in an iOL. He played center for LSU, and certainly has the football IQ and athleticism to play the position at the NFL level. He also has the frame at 6-foot 4, 315 pounds to play guard as well if needed. Cushenberry has great competitive toughness to go with his frame and IQ, constantly looking for work and plays with a wide-open motor.
He also has the “good” problem of needing to play with more control. There are times when he can run himself out of position, and coaches will need to get that under control or NFL defenses will certainly exploit it.
Darryl Williams (Mississippi State)
If the Giants are looking for a developmental interior lineman, Williams would be a good place to start. He is still something of an unfinished product, but he has the tools to play in a number of different roles. He played center for the Bulldogs but has the thick lower body to play guard as well at the next level. He will need coaching on the finer points of leverage — both dropping his hips to play with leverage and hand positioning. However, he has the potential to be an intriguing pick somewhere between the latter part of the third round and the beginning of the fourth round.
Soloman Kindley (Georgia)
The only pure guard prospect on this list, Kindley is a massive human being. He is surprisingly athletic for his size, but that size is what will always grab attention at 6-foot 4, 340 pounds. In fact, he could probably stand to improve his body composition and overall athleticism, but even so, his power is evident. Improving his body composition will help bring out his natural athleticism and let him play in a wider variety of blocking schemes.
Georgia has been putting good offensive linemen in the NFL of late — and left tackle Andrew Thomas will surely be their next highly drafted lineman — so Kindley has a great pedigree for the NFL.