He’s not a household name, but UTEP guard Will Hernandez would be an excellent fit with the New York Giants.
Gettleman has been hard at work this offseason improving the Giants’ offensive line, signing high-priced left tackle Nate Solder and interior lineman Patrick Omameh in free agency. He’s now focused on improving the offensive line through the NFL Draft and looks to be very interested in UTEP guard Will Hernandez.
NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reports that the Giants will bring Hernandez in for a visit before April’s extravaganza.
Giants will bring in UTEP G Will Hernandez before the draft for a visit, source says. Possible hog molly for Dave Gettleman to grab at the top of the second round. If he’s there, of course.
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) March 23, 2018
Hernandez was a four-year starter for UTEP at left guard, starting all 49 games he played during his collegiate career.
The Las Vegas native earned first-team all-conference honors for the Miners in both 2016 and 2017, making him the first offensive lineman in the program’s history to earn back-to-back first-team honors. Hernandez was also selected, twice, to the AP All-American second-team squad for the Miners, making him the first student-athlete in the school’s history to achieve that feat.
Hernandez is slated by most to be picked in either the first or second round of this year’s NFL Draft.
Coming in at 6-foot-2, 346-pounds, Hernandez is a brutal force in the trenches. He’s a “mauler” as most scouts would describe, being very aggressive at the point of attack in run blocking.
This is what NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein said of Hernandez in his scouting report:
“Hernandez possesses a rare combination of power, balance, and athletic ability. He is a plus run blocker with the anchor and footwork to handle himself in pass protection as well. Though he lacks [the] height and length teams would like, it shouldn’t hurt his stock much. Hernandez should be able to step in as an immediate starter with a high ceiling.”
Zierlein compares Hernandez to Buffalo Bills’ guard Richie Incognito.
At the NFL Combine last month, Hernandez showed off impressive strength, leading all offensive lineman with 37 reps on the 225-pound bench press test. His 40-yard-dash time of 5.15 seconds is very good for a man his size, showing Hernandez has the speed and athleticism to block well in space and be a good pulling guard.
The offensive lineman most connected to the Giants in the draft has been highly touted Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson.
As the New York Post’s Paul Schwartz reported earlier this week, Nelson is one of the three players that the Giants are targeting with the No. 2 overall pick in the NFL Draft.
Nelson was interviewed by the Giants at the combine and as Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune reports, Big Blue recently dined with the South Bend product.
If the Giants decide to go with either Penn State running back Saquon Barkley or North Carolina State defensive end Bradley Chubb instead of Nelson with the No. 2 pick, Hernandez would be a solid option for them in the second round with the 34th overall selection.
Just like Nelson, Hernandez can help solidify the Giants’ offensive line and give Big Blue a physical and aggressive force at the guard position that they haven’t had since the days of Chris Snee and Rich Seubert.
While Solder and Nelson would make a great tackle/guard combination on the left side of the line, Hernandez and Solder would also be a terrific combo for the Giants.
The Giants could also move back into the latter part of the first round to take Hernandez.
After all, Gettleman does have a record of trading up if there’s a player he covets. Back in 2015, he traded three picks—a second, third and sixth-rounder) to move up to No. 41 so that he could take wide receiver Devin Funchess while with the Carolina Panthers.
As long as the price is right, making a similar move to snag Hernandez makes a ton of sense.
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