2011 NFL Draft: 5 Offensive Line Prospects the New York Giants Should Target
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This article is sure to cause an uproar, but I felt like making this piece something that makes sense. Five offensive line targets; two tackles, two guards and one center that the Giants could build an offensive line with.
The Giants will be targeting way more than just five guys, that's a given, but I wanted to highlight a few of my favorite players I've seen film of—they stand out above the rest.
Obviously, the Giants are not going to draft five offensive lineman, that's silly, but no one would be surprised to take as many as three of these guys.
The first three guys you most definitely have heard of by now and, in my opinion, are the elite at their position in this class. The other two, most of you will probably have heard of, but the casual fan will have not.
Anthony Castonzo OT, Boston College
(VIDEO—He gets beat a couple times by Robert Quinn, top 10 pick, but overall pretty much does a great job on him)
Anthony Castonzo has been a popular selection for the Giants at No. 19 in mock drafts, and there is a good reason why. He started three straight seasons at left tackle at Boston College, he has an incredible frame at 6'7, 313 lbs (pro day weight) and he was dominant at the NFL scouting combine.
He showcased athleticism and quick feet that not many knew he had. He could potentially be a guard in the NFL if teams needed that, but I like him better as a left tackle because his pass blocking may be the best in this year's draft.
One thing scouts love is his competitive nature and his mean streak often shown on the field. He has admitted to having an "obsession with being the best," so you know his work ethic will be there.
Despite people always telling him that he would never make it in the NFL, he kept a positive attitude and is about to be a first-round draft pick.
"I've always thought, why not shoot for the stars? It's just something I've always desired to be the best at, and regardless of what anyone says it's what I'm going to try and do."
He will have to learn to always stay low and not be beaten inside when run blocking, something he had a tendency to do in college.
Other than that minor weakness, he looks like one of the more NFL ready tackles in the class.
Tyron Smith OT, USC
Before you kill me in the comments, I realize Smith will be gone before the Giants select at No. 19, probably. But if he falls with teams all improving their defense, the Giants could consider trading up to get one of the more gifted athletes at left tackle we've see in a long time.
Smith is an imposing presence and his athleticism is unmatched as far as offensive tackles go. He played his career mostly at right tackle at only 285 pounds, but put on 22 pounds of muscle before the combine and has put on even more since.
He clearly is taking this very seriously and wants to be a left tackle at the next level.
He is a perfect fit for anybody looking to protect the blind side of their quarterback because he can handle all the speed rushers with his quick feet and athletic ability. He can also take on bull rushers with his great strength—he repped 225 lbs 31 times at his pro day.
The Giants would have to give up some future picks to get him, but it would be worth it.
Mike Pouncey G, Florida
What else can I say about Mike Pouncey that I haven't already said 10 times? I've had this guy mocked to the Giants since January with everyone just recently starting to finally come around, and I have talked about his strengths and weaknesses for many weeks now.
Obviously, the best part about Pouncey is that he was a terrific guard while playing next to his brother and has some success playing center in his senior season.
He did struggle snapping the ball, but those problems were remedied as the season progressed. He was a Second Team All-SEC selection and was an All-American guard the season before.
He projects better as a guard, but the team that drafts him will be getting a guy that can play three positions on the line at a high level.
Pouncey is great at pulling and making blocks in space. He does a very good job getting down field and making blocks at the second and third levels, as well as making blocks on screen plays.
He plays with a mean streak and is a terrific run blocker. His frame and strength allow him to take on bigger defensive tackles, and given his football pedigree with his brother making the Pro Bowl for the Steelers, he is the safest pick of all the first round lineman.
Marcus Cannon G, TCU
Marcus Cannon is a second-round prospect that is a load at 6'6", 349 lbs. He is the perfect size for a guard in the NFL and plays much quicker than his size would indicate.
He ran a 5.20 40 at the combine, which is impressive for a man that size. He looked great in his drills at TCU's pro day as well.
Surprisingly enough, his teammates at TCU actually say he was one of the best athletes on the team. They may be just pullin' our leg, but for how big he is he actually is very light on his feet.
He also has some versatility. While I'm not sure he has the ability to play left tackle at the next level, he did play tackle his whole career at TCU. He projects better as an NFL guard, but with the right coaching, he could potentially play tackle.
With the Giants personnel, however, he'd be a guard for sure.
One thing that stands out with Cannon is his awesome strength. He holds several power lifting and weight room records at TCU.
Cannon was a three-time All-Mountain West player and an All-American in 2010.
Tim Barnes C, Missouri
I couldn't find any highlights of Tim Barnes, but being a fan of a team in the Big 12, I've watched this guy handle test, after test, after test.
The Big 12 has had several top defensive tackle prospects over the past three years and Barnes has done a great job against those guys. He handled first round defensive tackle Phil Taylor pretty good when Missouri played Baylor.
Not a terribly athletic guy, but he uses his legs and gets low and almost never loses the leverage battle inside. Much like Pouncey, he has a terrific ability to get to the second level of the defense and take out linebackers.
He has everything you would want from an NFL center including the intelligence to make blocking scheme adjustments at the line of scrimmage.
He could improve his pass blocking, especially against quick defensive tackles, but other than that he has the chance to be a middle round steal at this point.
Wouldn't That Be Nice?
It would never happen, sadly, but it would be awesome.