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Is rookie OL Marcus McKethan a part of the Giants’ future?

Fifth-rounder comes with highly-regarded run blocking skills

Syndication: The Record Chris Pedota, / USA TODAY NETWORK

Unsurprisingly, the New York Giants spent significant draft capital on their offensive line this year. That included spending a fifth-round pick on Marcus McKethan, a hulking guard who blocked for star running backs like Michael Carter and Javonte Williams.

Will McKethan be anything more than a depth piece? Let’s discuss as we continue our profiles of the Giants’ 90-man roster.

By the numbers

Height: 6-foot-7
Weight: 335
Age: 23
Position: Offensive line
Experience: Rookie
Contract: Four-year, $3.936 million rookie deal | 2022 Cap hit: $774,127

Career to date

Before the Giants drafted him in the fifth round this year, McKethan was a three-year starter at right guard for North Carolina. He missed only one game since earning the starting role and twice earned an All-ACC Honorable Mention.

The Tar Heels ranked second in the ACC in rushing yards per game during his junior and senior seasons, when McKethan and Giants third-round pick Joshua Ezeudu was starting at left guard. UNC head coach Mack Brown said the team’s success running the ball was “mostly them” (McKethan and Ezeudu).

McKethan developed nicely throughout his college career, cutting down on some of the reaction time issues that hindered him as a sophomore.

“This is one big human being,” North Carolina offensive coordinator Phil Longo told Big Blue View. “I don’t know where they have him measured at height and weight, but he is going to be one of the bigger guys playing his position.

“He’s hard to move. When he wants to be physical and he uses his hands and it’s his intention to be dominant and move you you’re going to get moved. He has that kind of strength and power.”

In his draft guide, Dane Brugler of The Athletic wrote:

McKethan is a wide, burly blocker with bear claw hands and the strength at contact to be a people-mover in the run game, but he will fall off blocks and lose connection because of below-average contact balance. He jars rushers at contact when he properly times his initial punch, but he is heavy in his shuffle, and his recovery quickness will be challenged by NFL athletes. Overall, McKethan looks straight out of central casting with his frame, length and power, but the key to him locking down an NFL roster spot will be developing his reactive athleticism.

2022 outlook

Let’s start with the obvious: McKethan’s massive size makes him a natural run blocker. Evan Neal is the only offensive lineman on the roster who weighs more, and Roy Mbaeteka is the only one who is taller.

While it would be surprising to see McKethan start this year except as an injury replacement, a spot on the 53-man roster is realistic. His competition is mostly undrafted free agents and veterans who don’t provide the same upside.

It’s been more than three years since McKethan played a position other than guard, but Joe Schoen mentioned in April that McKethan was drafted partially because he could also play tackle if necessary.

According to his college coach, he can also be an important part of the locker room culture.

“Marcus is really smart, and like Josh, he’s a great young person,” UNC head coach Mack Brown told the team’s official website. “The city of New York is going to be better because these young people are there. They’re givers, they give back in so many ways. But they’re smart and they want to do well and they’re driven. Marcus lost his brother in a car accident right before the draft, and he just handled it. That’s the kind of person he is.”