For yet another year, the offensive line is a nodus for the short and long-term development of this franchise. Protecting Daniel Jones has to be the number one priority for the New York Giants and the team has needs on the line. First is at right tackle, where Nick Gates and Cameron Fleming can step in if need be. Second is at center, where Spencer Pulley is currently listed as the starter. The long term solution at left tackle rounds the list out. The uncertainty is compounded by Daniel Jones learning a new offensive system with Jason Garrett. The new verbiage, environment, and limited training sessions, due to COVID-19, gives me a precarious feeling for the second year development of Jones. The Giants must give Jones enough time to throw the football in 2020, especially since Garrett’s system is more vertical, Air-Coryell, based than Pat Shurmur’s quick game, West Coast, type of offense.
GM Dave Gettleman suggested the Giants would be looking into the tackle position in the draft and pointed towards the depth of the position. Gettleman also talked about Nate Solder’s 2019 struggles. It’s not crazy to think the Giants would spend two of their top 115 selections on tackle, especially if Gettleman feels the draft is deep on Day 2 and early Day 3. Head Coach Joe Judge has a connection with Alabama; he was on Alabama’s staff as a special teams assistant from 2009-2011. Jedrick Wills is my number one tackle in this class and he would make an excellent addition to the offensive line move. His movement skills in pass protection, push/drive in the run game, and awareness would be embraced by Giants’ fans, and, more importantly, Daniel Jones.
Prospect: Jedrick Wills Jr., OT, Alabama
Games Watched: vs. South Carolina (2019), vs Tennessee (2019), vs Arkansas (2019), vs LSU (2019)
Red Flags: None
Best: Mirroring, Footwork in Pass Pro, Functional Strength, Block Framing
Worst: Not Ideal Length
Projection: Year one starting right tackle with the potential to be a left tackle.
(Wills is the right tackle, number 74)
Wills is a smooth, fluid, powerful, smart offensive tackle prospect. Amazing footwork and hips allow him to operate well at the line of scrimmage, in space at the second level, and while blocking on an island. He glides into pass sets effortlessly, with powerful steps in 45 and vertical sets, while maintaining very good balance and center of gravity. He has excellent mirroring ability and his reactive quickness is incredible; handles counters well and does a good job utilizing his quick hands to give effective punches to opponents. His hands have pop and reset/refire rapidly to keep defenders honest. The placement of his hands are good as well as he uses timely strikes, with tight elbows, inside the breastplate of defenders. Wills plays with patience and doesn’t over-extend in pass protection, while also using his framing ability to steer defenders away from their desired destinations. His anchor is good, as is his ability to recoil his hips on second efforts to gauge more power, against powerful pass rushers. Wills employs a good snatch and trap move against defenders who try to utilize their superior length.
Fluid hips and excellent awareness assist him in locating stunts. He transitions well, attacks, and sticks to looping defensive players. Blocks well moving laterally; engages his core, drives his legs, and positions his body well through his reach blocks. Good in base block situations: quick feet to mirror, active hands to punch, and doesn’t overextend much in these situations. Good at climbing up to the second level and locating defensive backs and linebackers. He is very good steering second-level defenders in one direction, giving the running back a hole to explode through. Typically effective driving defenders down the line of scrimmage, with excellent leg drive, on down blocks.
Has 34 ¼” arms, but it doesn’t really look like it on tape as he can allow defenders to make initial contact and use their length against him, but Wills is a good enough athlete, and has enough strength, to combat these pass rushers well. Sometimes, Wills overextends while down-blocking and leaves his outside shoulder slightly vulnerable to power strikes. Wills is usually good against counters, but did get beat by inside counters a couple times in games I watched. Overall, he has excellent movement skills, football intelligence, and drive off the ball, along with very good functional athleticism and strike timing. I would love to see him in Giants blue whenever they take the field next season.
Wills will step in and be a Day 1 starter at right tackle for whoever drafts him, with the potential to develop into a good starting left tackle in the league. All the strengths Wills possess translate to the NFL. It’s not common to see a tackle with his pass sets, footwork, and mirroring skills. His raw power and functional athletic ability are very translatable as well.
He doesn’t have the movement skills in space as Iowa’s Tristan Wirfs, but he can still locate and operate well in the open. Leave him on an island and worry about sliding protection the other direction because Wills ability to handle pass rushers, with a two-way go is impressive. Wills is the most polished tackle in this draft and he’s ready for the NFL.