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2024 NFL Draft prospect profile: Christian Haynes, OG, UConn

Did UConn’s offense give us a hidden gem?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 04 UConn at Tennessee Photo by Bryan Lynn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Watching the UConn Huskies’ offense was often difficult, bordering on a comedy of errors. That is, except for one saving grace, the play of right guard Christian Haynes.

Haynes is an exceptionally experienced guard who’s played in 49 games for UConn. He has over 2,400 snaps at right guard over the last three years but has given up just 3 sacks, 5 hits, and 19 hurries over that span.

That could be music to the New York Giants ears, who have struggled to find a consistent answer at the right guard position for years now. Could Haynes be the answer they’ve been looking for?

Prospect: Christian Haynes (64)
Games Watched: vs. Michigan (2022), vs. North Carolina State (2022), vs. Boston College (2023), vs. Tennessee (2023)

Measurables

Height: 6-foot-2
Weight: 315

Strengths

  • Leverage
  • Competitive toughness
  • Athleticism
  • Play strength
  • Scheme versatility

Haynes sports a stout build with natural leverage and good thickness throughout his physique. His play strength is evident in his build, but looks are also a bit deceiving as his body type belies surprisingly springy and fluid athleticism.

Haynes is an exceptionally experienced lineman who’s started every one of the 49 games in which he’s played and almost (if not all) of those games have been at right guard. He has a solid football IQ who recognizes pressure and deals with games along the line of scrimmage well. Haynes also plays with impressive competitive toughness, consistently looking for work and blocking through the whistle when he has the opportunity.

As mentioned above, Haynes is a surprisingly good athlete for a guard and is able to execute a wide variety of assignments. He’s easily able to open his hips as a pulling guard, with the foot speed to get ahead of the play as well as block in space. He’s also a good blocker going downhill, firing off the ball with solid explosiveness and good leverage.

Haynes is a reliable pass protector as well. His foot quickness also allows him to redirect and mirror against speed on the interior. Likewise, his feet also allow him to recover and sustain his blocks if he’s initially beaten. Haynes’ natural leverage and wide base let him anchor and absorb power on the interior without giving up much ground.

Weaknesses

  • Length
  • Hand usage

While Haynes’ natural leverage (that is, being short) is an advantage most of the time, it does come with length concerns. Issues with his length crop up throughout his tape, and Haynes can struggle with longer defenders. Long and athletic defenders are able to get access to his chest plate. In those circumstances, Haynes’ leverage and feet can be overcome and he can either be beaten with speed or walked into the backfield.

He also needs to get more consistent with his hands and hand usage. Haynes has a habit of letting his hands drift wide and striking outside of his opponents’ framework. Not only does that exacerbate his issues with length, it also exposes his chest plate to opponents. Allowing his hands to drift wide, while still being a competitive player who looks to sustain his blocks, could also open him up to drawing holding penalties at the NFL level.

Game Tape

(Haynes is UConn RG number 64)

Projection

Christian Haynes projects as a starting guard with scheme diversity at the NFL level. He could probably play both left and right guard, and could even transition to center with some development. However, teams might want to keep him at right guard, as his familiarity with the position could help him adjust more quickly to the speed of the NFL.

He’ll need to continue to work on his hand usage and placement as he transitions to the NFL. Technically sound defenders could exploit his hands when they drift wide, and potentially lead to issues early in his career. Once he finds his footing, however, Haynes has the potential to be a good starter for a variety of different teams and in a variety of different schemes.

Does he fit the Giants?
Yes. Haynes could step in and compete immediately for the right guard position.

Final Word: A solid second-rounder