The New York Giants bolstered their offensive line with two picks in the first two days of the draft. They spent the seventh pick on Alabama’s Evan Neal and then selected Joshua Ezeudu out of North Carolina.
Ezeudu was the 67th pick in the draft. He is a versatile lineman with 1,247 snaps at left guard, 508 snaps at left tackle, and 171 snaps at right tackle. His ability to switch positions and not miss a beat was impressive on film. He’s a plus athlete with exceptional grip strength and power at the point of attack.
I like him more at guard in a confined space. He has the foot speed and range to last at tackle, but he lacks confidence and consistency with his footwork in pass protection, and this could be easily exploited while on an island at tackle. Ezeudu can be a bit late and low with his hands at times, but the issues that stem from minor technical deficiencies inside can be corrected with his baseline athletic traits and overall power.
Defenders struggled throughout North Carolina film to separate from Ezeudu once he fits his hands inside. He keeps his elbows tight, refits his hands if necessary, and drives his feet relentlessly or uses excellent upper body strength to displace. He has the lateral quickness and angle efficiency to execute play-side reach blocks; he’s quick enough to get his outside shoulder across the face on back-side scoop attempts, and he’s solid and quick as a puller (pad level is a bit high at times).
Ezeudu does a great job understanding fronts that are in front of him and displaying effective reactive quickness to diagnose second-level flow and come off COMBO blocks with ease. I really like his anchor - albeit his poor footwork (at times) led to embarrassing defensive pancakes on film - and he has solid overall mirroring ability.
There’s a lot to like about Ezeudu and we get to see his teammate Marcus McKethan on film as well; McKethan was drafted in the fifth round by the Giants.
McKethan is gigantic. He’s not the athlete that Ezeudu is but he does unlock exceptional power at the point of attack. He leans a bit too far into his contact and finds his chest well over his toes too often. He gives no ground with his anchor and he has solid body control when in space on skip-pull and traditional pulls - something UNC ran often.
McKethan will make a solid developmental player with upside on a team that now possesses 18 offensive linemen (with reported UDFA additions). McKethan could project to the practice squad in a now crowded OL room, but Ezeudu has a realistic chance to start. Max Garcia, Shane Lemieux, and Ben Bredeson will all have a shot, though I don’t think Ezeudu is completely ready when contrasted with these three players. Still, with a good camp, I can see Ezeudu being the swing IOL with the chance to start early in the season.
Ezeudu has upside, the athletic traits, the power, and the temperament. The new regime just invested a third-round pick into the player. Once the technical issues are ironed out, he should start at left guard. Here’s my breakdown.