While there are a number of possible draft picks for the New York Giants this spring, Wisconsin tackle Ryan Ramczyk fits New York’s biggest need immediately.The New York Giants’ season ended in disappointment, but the team was undeniably an upgrade from the 2015 version.
However, that improvement came mostly from the defense, with the offense taking a significant step back. Points per game dropped from 26.2 to 19.0. Yards per game dropped from 372.2 to 332.7. Time of possession percentage dropped from 47.2% to 46.9%.
The Giants could not move, score, or hold the ball as effectively in 2016 as they could in 2016.
The reason this happened is certainly up for debate. There are camps of fans who have blamed everyone from the running backs to the receivers to even Eli Manning.
Nonetheless, all of those issues lead directly back to the offensive line, which was abysmal in 2016.
A lot of the line’s struggles can be traced back to Ereck Flowers, New York’s first-round pick in 2015. Not only was Flowers the most penalized lineman in the NFL this season, but he was also virtual turnstile when pass blocking. This caused a number of difficult plays for Eli and ended a number of successful drives where the Giants were building momentum.
Thus, despite the dearth of offensive line talent in this year’s draft, it seems prudent that the Giants would pursue a replacement for Flowers on the left side.
Enter Wisconsin left tackle Ryan Ramczyk.
Ramczyk possesses the quintessential size for an NFL tackle, at 6-foot-6 and 313 pounds. Furthermore, he comes from a school in Wisconsin that is renowned for its ability to produce top quality offensive linemen.
In addition to his imposing physique and football resume, Ramczyk has the technique and footwork requisite of a top-notch pass blocker in the NFL.
In fact, if not for a hip surgery late in this season, which throws his early availability next season into doubt, he likely would not escape the Top 10 of this year’s draft. However, with his injury causing some doubt among scouts, there remains a very good chance he could slip to the Giants at 23.
Drafting Ramczyk would allow the Giants to shift Flowers to the right side, where he could utilize his quick feet and run blocking ability far more frequently. Additionally, with the pressures Flowers allows coming from Eli’s strong side, he would be able to get rid of the ball far more easily and anticipate the pass rush.
There’s a lot of reason to believe that addition alone could provide a massive spark to the Giants offense.
Additionally, while drafting a running back, pass rusher or even a quarterback may seem like the sexy pick for New York, offensive tackle is undoubtedly the biggest need on the team. While this would mark the third time in the past five years that New York has taken a tackle in the first round, Justin Pugh has since moved to guard, and this season showcased that Flowers probably isn’t going to work out on the left side.
Thus, Ramczyk seems like the best possible fit for the Giants.
Certainly, there needs to be some sort of planning for life after Eli, as well as the impending extensions that players like Pugh and Odell Beckham Jr. are due, but the Giants remain in win-now mode, and as such, should focus on improving their line.
Not only is tackle talent shallow in this year’s draft, but it is shallow on the free agent market as well, leaving the Giants with only stop gap options to ease their offensive line woes. However, Ramczyk appears the one player in this draft capable of filling that role in the long term, making him a perfect fit should he fall to New York at 23.