Jawaan Taylor

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NFL Draft Preview: Hog Mollies Galore In 2019 NFL Draft

Matt Citak
April 13, 2019 - 8:00 am

The NFL draft kicks off less than two weeks from now down in Nashville, Tennessee. Leading up to the start of the first round, I will be breaking down the top prospects at each position, and whether or not the Giants or Jets may have interest.

After taking on the quarterbacks and running backs to start, we discussed the wide receivers and tight ends last week. Next up are the offensive lineman, or as Giants general manager Dave Gettleman likes to call them, the "hog mollies."

Let’s make one thing clear: Both local teams will be looking to add some offensive linemen in a draft that is considered deep with talented O-line prospects.

The offensive line of the Giants has been one of the most talked-about units in all of football. After misjudging the line last offseason, Gettleman has already taken strides to shore up Eli Manning’s protection. New York acquired guard Kevin Zeitler in a trade with Cleveland, while the team decided to bring back both Jon Halapio and Spencer Pulley to compete for the starting center position. Of course, left tackle Nate Solder and guard Will Hernandez aren’t going anywhere, which leaves right tackle as the one starting spot that has yet to be addressed. You'd better believe Gettleman will add at least one big body to the line in the draft.

The Jets have also done a little bit of work to revamp the offensive line this offseason, although some would argue they should have done more. GM Mike Maccagnan dealt for Pro Bowl guard Kelechi Osemele from the Raiders last month, with the 29-year-old set to start at left guard. Other than Osemele, though, the Jets are returning the other four starters from last year’s line that was ranked 25th in the NFL by Pro Football Focus. If the season were to start today, Kelvin Beachum and Brandon Snell would man the two starting tackle positions, while Brian Winters would start at right guard and Jonotthan Harrison at center. New York decided to pass on the top two free agent centers (Matt Paradis and Mitch Morse) despite having plenty of cap space, a curious move by a front office attempting to put the best protection in front of Sam Darnold as possible. Gang Green would love to add some more talented linemen to this group.

Without further ado, let’s get into the o-linemen.

Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida

Taylor is likely to be the first offensive lineman to hear his name called April 25. Standing in at 6 feet 5 inches, 312 pounds, Taylor has the size and quick footwork to step in and start at right tackle or right guard from Day 1. The Florida product graded out as one of the top run-blocking right tackles in all of college football, an impressive feat considering the level of competition he faced in the SEC.

Taylor isn’t a perfect prospect, as he struggled to manage his weight during his time at Florida while also picking up an excessive number of false-start penalties. He’ll need to work on his technique, but Taylor has shown more than enough to warrant a top-15 pick in the draft.

He could certainly be in play for both the Giants and Jets. Gang Green isn’t going to spend the No. 3 pick on him, but if the Jets end up trading down, Taylor could be the pick. Taylor is also likely to be in the discussion for Gettleman and the Giants at No. 6, as he would slot in as the starting right tackle, helping to clear running lanes for Saquon Barkley for years to come.

Jonah Williams, OT/G, Alabama

While many believe Taylor is the top offensive lineman in this year’s draft, there are some that continue to push Williams as the premier O-line  talent. And they make a good point. Williams is praised for his work ethic and desire to improve his game, which made him a staple piece of Alabama’s offense over the last few years.

Williams is athletic for a 6-foot-4, 302-pound lineman. He ran a 5.12 40-yard dash at the combine, and showed plenty of lateral quickness during his time at Alabama. While he lacks the ideal size teams want from their linemen, there is no reason to believe that Williams won’t be able to put together a very productive NFL career. After all, he is praised by scouts for his strong production and the few QB pressures he allowed while playing in the SEC.

Williams is likely to be high on both local teams’ draft boards come April 25. Similar to Taylor, the Alabama tackle will definitely be in play for the Jets if they trade down in the first round. On the same note, Williams could be the pick for the Giants if he’s still there at No. 17.

Andre Dillard, OT, Washington State

Dillard is largely considered the third-best offensive lineman in the draft. However, at the end of the day, I believe the former Washington State Cougar could end up being better than Taylor and Williams. A four-year starter in college, Dillard graded out as the No. 1 overall offensive tackle in pass protection by PFF. He is an incredibly intelligent football player known for his high character and would offer almost every NFL team an instant athletic upgrade on the O-line.

Washington State offensive lineman Andre Dillard (60) takes out Boise State defensive end Durrant Miles on a block on Sept. 7, 2017, at Martin Stadium in Pullman, Washington.
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Dillard crushed it at the combine, putting up very impressive numbers in the short shuttle, three-cone drill and 40-yard dash. Additionally, among all of the tackle prospects in this year’s draft, Dillard has by far the highest number of true pass sets in his career with 966. The next highest? Jonah Williams with 459. I love Dillard’s upside and strongly believe that he is going to make whichever team drafts him very happy.

If the Jets trade down in the first round to the 10 to 15 range, Dillard will likely be in play. Gettleman would love Dillard in the Giants’ offense, and he might prove hard to pass on if he’s sitting there at No. 17.

Cody Ford, OT/G, Oklahoma

Ford played tackle at Oklahoma, but depending on which team ends up drafting him, he could easily shift inside to guard. NFL Network analyst Lance Zierlein nailed it when he described Ford as offering “a rare combination of physical and athletic traits that will have NFL teams dreaming of his upside.”

Ford stands in at 6-4, 329 pounds, and he plays with a nastiness that offensive line coaches love to see. While some wonder if Ford can develop into a quality starting tackle, the safer route would be to kick him inside where he wouldn’t be as exposed in pass protection. But considering his size and athleticism, I don’t doubt that he can become a great tackle someday.

The Giants have shown a lot of interest in Ford and could be considering him at either No. 17 or No. 37. The Jets are less likely to be in a position to take the Oklahoma lineman, but if they somehow end up with a late first-round pick, Ford would be a great addition to their line.

Garrett Bradbury, C, N.C. State

Bradbury has quickly climbed up draft boards over the last month and is now considered likely to be selected on Day 1. The 6-3, 306-pound center used to play tight end, which explains his elite athleticism. Bradbury ran a 4.92 40-yard dash and 7.41 three-cone drill at the combine. To put that into perspective, both of those marks beat Dillard’s, who is known for his athletic abilities.

Bradbury took home the 2018 Rimington Trophy, an award given to the best center at the collegiate level. He is durable and versatile, with many believing he would have little to no trouble transitioning to guard if asked to do so. If you need any more convincing, NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks called him a rare “gold jacket” prospect. 

On paper, Bradbury doesn’t seem to fit into the Giants’ draft plans. Big Blue is set at guard with Hernandez and Zeitler and have Halapio and Pulley coming back to compete for the starting center job. However, Bradbury could be the best player on New York’s board at No. 37, and if Gettleman is serious about drafting the best player available, then don’t be shocked if he pulls the trigger on the talented interior lineman. The Jets would have to acquire a late first-, early second-round pick to have a chance at Bradbury.

Dalton Risner, OT, Kansas State

Risner isn’t the biggest or most athletic lineman available in this year’s draft, but if you watch the tape of him at Kansas State, one thing becomes quite evident: The young man can block. The 6-5, 312-pound lineman also showed some versatility in college as he had experience starting at both right tackle and center.

Kansas State's Dalton Risner at the Senior Bowl
Chuck Cook/USA TODAY Images

Risner was very consistent at Kansas State, as the tape made it clear that he gives 110% effort on every snap. He proved to have strong hands while finishing with somewhat of a mean streak. Risner might struggle with speedy edge rushers, but if right tackle seems too tough for him, he has already shown that he can move inside.

If the Giants don’t address the offensive line in the first round, Risner would likely be one of the team’s top targets at No. 37. Same with the Jets if they trade down in the first round and pick up a second-round pick along the way.

Chris Lindstrom, G, Boston College

Lindstrom is the next man up on the line of athletic offensive linemen in this draft class. His 4.91 40-yard dash was good for second fastest among O-linemen at the combine, which pairs nicely with the versatility Lindstrom showed at Boston College. He saw action at right guard and right tackle over the last two seasons, picking up All-ACC honors at both positions.

Lindstrom surrendered just seven sacks over 1,413 pass-block reps, according to Pro Football Focus. While teams will love his speed and quickness, Lindstrom’s size (6-4, 308 pounds) will cause some to hesitate to draft him. Lindstrom projects best inside at guard or even center.

Despite his talent, it’s tough to see either the Giants or Jets targeting Lindstrom in the draft.

Tytus Howard, OT, Alabama State

The jury is still out on Howard. His draft stock has undoubtedly been rising over the last month, especially after a strong performance at the combine. However, due to the level of competition he faced at Alabama State, some believe he could be an early second-round pick while others think he may last all the way into the fourth round.

Howard is a former basketball star, which helps to explain his high-end athletic ability. His game will need a lot of work before he can step in and start at the next level, but his quickness will make him a worthy project. Howard has a ton of upside, and with the right tutelage, could become a great offensive tackle in the NFL.

The Giants have been doing their homework on Howard, bringing the small-school prospect in for a top-30 visit earlier this month. It’s clear Big Blue has interest in the 6-foot-5, 322-pound tackle, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Jets target him as well.

Erik McCoy, C/G, Texas A&M

There’s not much not to like about McCoy. A three-year starter at Texas A&M, he offers a combination of power and agility that teams love to see from their starting centers. The 6-4, 303-pound lineman was incredibly durable in college, never missing a start in his three seasons. McCoy is a high-floor, high-upside prospect who can likely come in and be a Week 1 starter.

He isn’t the most impressive athlete, which combined with his position (center) could cause him to fall into the second round of the draft. But don’t be fooled by his slightly smaller frame. McCoy faced tough competition in the SEC and held his own against talented defensive linemen such as Alabama’s Quinnen Williams and Clemson’s Dexter Lawrence.

I don’t believe the Giants will have much interest in McCoy as they don’t need much help on the interior line. However, McCoy seems like a perfect fit with the Jets. Gang Green could look to move into the early part of Day 2 in order to snag him.

Kaleb McGary, OT, Washington

McGary is a massive human being, coming in at 6-7 and 317 pounds. While he has played his whole career at right tackle, McGary might be better suited moving inside once he gets to the NFL, as he may not be able to keep up with the speed of professional edge rushers.

McGary has a lot of work to do on his technique if he wants to succeed at the next level. But with his size, positive attitude and high football IQ, McGary could be a very nice depth piece for a team in need of more offensive linemen. However, said team will have to be patient with him, as McGary will likely need a year or two before being able to start.

The Giants and Jets are not in the position to spend an early pick on an offensive lineman and not have him start right away. With McGary likely needing some time to develop, it’s hard to see him being a fit for either local team.

Matt Citak is a web producer for WFAN. Check him out on Twitter at @MatthewCitak.