The New York Giants have several positions of need across their roster heading into 2023. And despite years of trying to improve their offensive line, the interior of their line remains a priority this offseason.
The Giants have a lot of interior offensive linemen on their roster, but they each seem to hover between being a low-end starter and a good back-up. And while teams don’t need greatness from guards, they at least need solid answers.
Oregon’s T.J. Bass has been a reliable piece for their potent offense for years now. He is a powerful, experienced, and steady offensive lineman, with experience starting at both left tackle and left guard.
Could that make him a good value for the Giants if they address other positions earlier in the draft?
Games played: 34 (13 starts in 2022)
Best: Size, play strength, competitive toughness, run blocking, positional versatility
Projection: A developmental guard with starting upside in a power-based blocking scheme
(Bass is LT number 56)
T.J. Bass is a big, powerful, and experienced offensive line prospect from the University of Oregon.
Bass is a versatile player who has split time between left tackle and left guard for the Ducks. He’s started 34 games for Oregon, playing 1,379 snaps at left tackle and 879 snaps at left guard. He has good size for the NFL at 6-foot-4, 325 pounds with evident power in his upper and lower body.
Bass has solid flexibility in his lower body and is able to play with good knee bend for solid hip and pad level to maximize his leverage. He maintains his leverage through his pass set with crisp footwork on vertical sets. Bass hits his landmarks well and is a tenacious blocker, striving to sustain his blocks through the echo of the whistle and fights to recover if he is beaten initially. He plays with a wide base and has active feet, allowing him to easily absorb and stymie power rushes.
Bass is a patient blocker who does a good job of picking up and passing off stunts and twists along the line of scrimmage. He also has solid awareness to locate and pick up second-level blitzers or delayed pressure.
He is a predictably powerful run blocker who excels in a phone booth. Bass does a good job of playing with leverage as a run blocker, getting under opponents’ pads and driving them off the line of scrimmage. He has enough short-area quickness to be an effective down-blocker, or puller when the play calls for it. He’s at his best in man-gap or inside zone blocking schemes where he can capitalize on his considerable play strength. He also shows great competitive toughness, playing with a mauler’s mentality and looking to finish plays with the defender on the ground.
While Bass has adequate athleticism for a guard, he is a marginal athlete to play offensive tackle at the NFL level. Bass struggles when faced with speed off the edge. Athletic edge defenders. He lacks the agility to mirror speed rushers and can stop his feet and lunge at pass rushers, compromising his leverage and balance.
Bass also needs to continue to work on his hand usage. He rarely “fires” his punch into defenders’ chest plates. Instead, his hands tend to drift wide, outside of opponents’ framework, giving up his own chest plate and potentially opening him up to holding calls.
Overall Grade: 6.7
T.J. Bass projects as a developmental guard at the NFL level. His experience at tackle will be valuable to NFL teams who could view him as a G/T depth piece early in his career, but his path to a starting job lies on the interior.
Becoming a full-time guard would emphasize Bass’ strengths while limiting the exposure of his weaknesses. He has a good mentality to mix it up on the interior, while his leverage, play strength, and short-area quickness are better suited to the interior. Bass would fit best in a power-based blocking scheme, likely in an offense that balances power runs with spread passing concepts.
He has enough speed and range to be an effective puller in man-gap or pin and pull schemes. With that in mind, he might have enough athletic ability to stay in sync with the rest of an NFL offensive line in outside zone runs as well. If so, Bass would have that much more versatility and value to NFL offenses.
Bass will still need some development in the NFL, even with a move inside. His tendency to let his hands drift wide and not fire his punch into opponents’ chest plate limits how much of his play strength he is able to bring to bear. Likewise, it could open him up to holding calls early in his career.
Bass’ experience at both tackle and guard should make him a relatively valuable depth piece for game days. Limited active roster spots make versatility on the offensive line a boon for teams.