The New York Giants problems along the offensive line are well documented at this point. Nary a draft season passes without offensive linemen being discussed as a high pick for them.
There’s hope that the Giants can finally get their past investments to pay off. However, they might yet need another offensive tackle. But things might not work out such that the Giants can use another top 10 pick on a tackle. If so, could they look to add a developmental prospect later in the draft?
Houston’s Patrick Paul is both athletic and incredibly long — two traits that get coaches and scouts excited. Could that make him an option for the Giants?
Prospect: Patrick Paul (76)
Games Watched: vs. SMU (2022), vs. UTSA (2023), vs. Texas Tech (2023), vs. Texas (2023)
Weight: 333 pounds
Arm length: 36 ¼ inches
Hand size: 9⅜ inches
- Competitive toughness
Paul is a big, incredibly long, surprisingly athletic, and competitive left tackle prospect.
Paul’s length is the first thing you notice. He’s not only tall at 6-foot-7, but also has extremely long 36-inch arms. That length allows him to take up a huge amount of space on the edge and he’s able to either force defenders to run wide or slow them when attacking the B-gap. He also flashes the flexibility to play with good knee bend despite being a high-cut blocker.
Paul is also a solid athlete despite his size and flashes the ability to move very smoothly. He has quick feet and shows a very smooth kick-slide when redirecting to the B-gap when picking up stunts or delayed blitzes. Likewise, he shows good awareness to identify late pressure and pass off defenders to pick rushers up.
His athleticism is on display when blocking in space. Paul is quick to get out as a pulling blocker, as well as when working to the second level. He also has great foot speed in the open field and can keep up with skill position players when running downfield to block for ball carriers. Those movement skills give him upside in zone blocking schemes.
Paul shows good competitive toughness throughout his game. He plays with good, consistent effort on every play and fights to sustain his blocks, even if he’s initially beaten. In particular, he can struggle with power but consistently strains to diffuse power and prevent bull rushers from completely collapsing the pocket.
- Hand usage
- Run blocking
Paul has incredibly intriguing athletic traits, but those are countered by poor technique from the ground up.
Paul’s footwork is often confused, as though he isn’t sure if he should be stepping, shuffling, or kick-sliding on a given drop. Likewise, he’s often quick to abandon his kick-slide and resort to a vertical drop when he should be expanding the pocket and forcing rushers wide. His footwork can also prevent him from establishing a firm foundation from which he can block. He struggles to drop anchor and absorb bull rushes, as well as deliver firm punches in pass protection.
He can struggle to maintain leverage and pad level over the course of a play and the game as a whole. Paul’s knees have a tendency to straighten, forcing his hips up and forcing him to hunch over or lunge at defenders. That can make it easy for defenders to get under his pads or past him as a blocker.
Finally, his hand usage is extremely wild. Paul rarely delivers a firm punch to defenders and consistently lets his hands go high and wide. That not only leads to his hands landing outside defenders’ framework, but even wrapping around them in a bear hug. Likewise, his late and wide hands negate much of his length advantage and defenders are consistently able to gain access to his chest plate and control over him.
(Paul is Houston LT No. 76)
Paul projects as a developmental tackle at the NFL level. To take that a step further, teams should probably attempt to develop him at left tackle given that all of his collegiate experience is at that position.
Paul will likely be viewed as a big lump of clay despite having started more than 40 games over the course of his college career. He has all of the traits that gets scouts drooling and coaches excited to mold: He’s incredibly long, has evident athleticism, and good competitive toughness.
The problem is that while he was able to succeed based on those traits at Houston, there are obvious weaknesses in his game. His hand usage is poor and limits much of his length advantage, will make him vulnerable to NFL caliber pass rushers, and could open him up to penalties. His footwork is confused and can lead to lunging at defenders, further limiting his effectiveness. And finally he currently has limited utility in the run game and could be a “zone only” blocker.
There are flashes of the player he could be, however. Paul is smooth and athletic when he’s forced to play instinctively to pick up late pressure from blitzers or loopers. He has the competitive toughness to fight and stalemate defenders even if he’s initially beaten. Teams will want to work with him and believe they’ll be richly rewarded if they can unlock that potential. The ideal situation would be for him to land on a team with a veteran left tackle who will need to be replaced in two years.
Does he fit the Giants?
No. The Giants aren’t in a place to develop Paul’s upside.
Final Word: A mid-round developmental prospect.