Zach Fulton has played 5,719 offensive snaps in seven NFL seasons, per Pro Football-Reference. In all honesty, though, I did not know who Fulton was until Thursday afternoon when it was announced that the New York Giants had signed the veteran interior offensive lineman.
That made me realize there are likely many Giants fans who don’t know much, or perhaps anything, about the 6-foot-5, 321-pound, 29-year-old Fulton.
So, I reached out to our friends over at SB Nation’s Battle Red Blog, which covers the Houston Texans. That’s where Fulton spent the last three seasons, starting 44 games at right guard.
I asked BRB’s Tim McHale three questions. Giants fans are not going to be thrilled by McHale’s answers.
Ed: 11 sacks allowed in 2020 per PFF? Please tell me he isn’t that bad of a pass protector?
Tim: I don’t want to be unkind, so I’ll just say that pass protection is not a strength.
Ed: Fulton is a long-time NFL starter obviously coming off his worst season. Should Giants fans be reasonably confident he can bounce back, or are Texans fans just thinking “good luck with that!”?
Tim: Good luck with that.
Ed: Is there anything positive you can say about Fulton? Anything else we should know about the guy?
Tim: By all accounts, Fulton is a good teammate and a good dude. He simply didn’t work out in Houston, and I am dubious it’ll work out anywhere else.
So, yeah. Not good.
Still, I think maybe we can forgive our pay Tim for being a little grumpy these days. Things are not good in the land of the Texans, and maybe this was just Tim’s time to vent.
Fulton had a poor 2020, giving up a career-worst 10 sacks and 31 pressures, per Pro Football Focus. Still, that was the first time he had ever surrendered more than three sacks in a season. His overall PFF grade was still a 63.0, and his grades have been between 53.4 and 71.2 during his career. Kevin Zeitler, cut in a cap move, checked in at 65.0 last season. Will Hernadez checked in at 58.1 last season and his only season above 60.0 was his rookie year (67.9). Shane Lemieux had an awful 32.2 PFF grade a year ago.
Maybe Fulton ends up starting. Maybe he’s just depth, which isn’t a bad thing.
To me, this is simply another step in what appears to be a strategy aimed at building depth an opening up draft possibilities. We’ll see how it plays out.