This past season as a whole (specifically the NFC Championship game) revealed to the masses that the Giants’ offensive line needs help going forward. But let’s look at it from another angle, and not overreact to one game that featured the NFL’s best front seven. For long stretches during the year and especially towards the start of the season, the offensive line was terrible. To me, this is partly because of injuries and a short training camp. An injury to Will Beatty at left tackle forced David Diehl to play two positions – and with a broken hand, too. The rushing attack was atrocious thanks slightly to Ahmad Bradshaw’s ineffective play because of a persistent foot injury, as well as Brandon Jacobs being unhappy. Finally, with a shuffling lineup up front and a brand new anchor in the middle (David Baas) it made jelling as a collective unit difficult. Tack on a shortened training camp with much less time to come together and difficulties should have been expected along the way. It wasn’t until much later in the year (later than we liked) when this unit really began to click – when a rapport was built weeks after it normally would/could/should have been.

In the past three Drafts they’ve in total drafted three linemen (two tackles, one guard): Beatty, Mitch Petrus and James Brewer. Center David Baas just signed a 5-year/$27-mil. deal. Veterans Diehl and Chris Snee are in the team’s short-term plans. Sixth man Kevin Boothe is coming off of a strong season in which he played every position along the line except tight end.

To me, it seems Big Blue has good pieces in place along the offensive line – the only lingering question mark is right tackle Kareem McKenzie. Reports are emerging that the 33-year-old will most likely not be re-signed in the offseason and for much of the year McKenzie looked the part of a replacement level player. There are plenty of talented offensive linemen in this year’s Draft. From top to bottom this is one of the more impressive guard classes that I’ve seen in recent years, and there are a few impact-from-day-one tackles.

Clearly offensive lineman is the biggest need on the offensive line. Even clearer than that, though, is the Giants don’t draft based on need. The Giants have considered taking a tackle in the first round in the last few Drafts and this year may not be any different. Let’s take a look today at a top offensive tackle prospect who could be the best player available when the Giants are on the clock – Ohio State’s Mike Adams.

Greg Bartram/US Presswire


***************************************************************************

Mike Adams
Senior, OT
Ohio State University
6-7, 323

First report on Adams comes from FFToolbox:

Mike Adams has been suspended for seven games in his collegiate career. That fact may ultimately hurt his draft stock with some teams, but his pro potential is very good despite being a raw prospect.

Given his elite height and size, Adams certainly passes the eyeball test as a pro prospect. … [He] really excels with his footwork and has the talent to improve his technique. Adams will need to grow as a run blocker. He lacks that killer instinct offensive line coaches fall in love with. He will need to correct his techniques as a zone blocker as he sometimes loses his assignment and gets lost out in open space.

The most promising facets to Adams’ skill-set are his frame and good feet. He may need an extra year to develop or grow into the position as a rookie, but most every team in the NFL is willing to be patient with a guy his size.

Adams will climb up draft boards as teams review his 2011 game film and see that he has grown since his junior year.

Second report from the National Football Post:

A tall, long armed, athletically built offensive tackle. Displays good initial quickness off the snap in the pass game. Demonstrates the ability to keep his base down on his initial power step off the line from a two-point stance, but will bend at the waist and get upright when asked to play from a three point stance. Nevertheless, the guy can bend. Shows natural fluidity in the hips and good short area quickness toward the edge and when asked to mirror. Struggles with balance and footwork at times, gets overextended when trying to shuffle and slide on a counter. Needs to continue to clean up his lower half technique and do a better job staying more compact and balanced when changing directions. However, looks much more balanced as a senior and seems more patient in space and trusts his technique much more in 2011. Is long armed and keeps his hands up in order to protect his frame, and again has improved his punch as a senior, looking more coordinated and patient into contact as he keeps his chest plate clean.

Is an athletic kid who has a burst off the football and when he keeps his pad level own he can create a jolt. At times will get upright which negates his leverage, but does have some in-line power. Is at his best crashing down the line inside and delivering a nasty punch in order to seal the edge. Also, possesses the short area quickness/coordination to reach blocks on the edge and is comfortable in space. Gets a bit overextended trying to breakdown, but for the most part will hit his man. Will miss the first five games of the season for being part of the Ohio State scandal where he was said to have sold memorabilia for benefits.

Impression: He’s a talented kid with a big frame, long arms and natural movement skills. He can bend and if he can put it all together and continue to improve his footwork he could certainly mature into a starting caliber left tackle in the NFL.

Third and final report from Mocking the Draft:

Agility: Adams has decent quickness in his lower half. He gets off the ball quickly and displays above average lateral movement. Adams shows the ability to get to the second level and take on linebackers.

Movement: His quick feet are one of Adams’ major strengths. He is able to keep edge rushers at bay by sealing the edge with solid footwork.

Pass Blocking: Adams has the talent, size and arm length to be an effective pass blocker. Unfortunately, he struggles a bit in space and lacks the instincts to put together a dominant game on tape.

Quickness: Mike Adams snaps into his stance quickly and can shows the ability to get wide on a screen pass. For a big guy, Adams has solid speed and great feet.

Run Blocking: Despite his size, Adams manages to get his pad level low on most occasions. [C]onsistency is an issue, as Adams will go into a block upright and get pushed around. I love seeing Adams get to the second level and take on linebackers. Adams definitely lacks a mean streak, though.

Strength: Adams will definitely need to get stronger if he wants to excel as a left tackle in the NFL. He can be pushed around by some of the stronger defensive linemen and doesn’t really finish his blocks well.

Technique: Physically, Adams has strong technique. The knee bend is there and he uses his hands very well to keep defenders away from his body. He will need to prove that he can be consistent in his technique, and also show that he understands how to pick up on pass rushers to avoid getting beat in space.

Final Word: Mike Adams looks the part of a franchise left tackle. He has outstanding size, decent arm length and moves very well.

I think Adams could be coached up to be a pretty solid left tackle in the NFL. He had to play his senior year blocking for the erratic Braxton Miller, so some of the inconsistency and perceived confusion is excusable. Adams is worth a shot in the mid to late first round.

Adams was most recently suspended for the first five games of this past season for his involvement in the Ohio State scandal, which came about from players exchanging their own memorabilia (e.g., Championship rings, jerseys, etc.) for what the NCAA deems as “benefits” (a few players received discounted tattoos while others received cash). The scandal cost the untouchable Jim Tressel his job and has been well documented within the media. I can’t fault Adams at all for his involvement. If he interviews well leading up to the Draft his Senior year suspension will be an afterthought.

Some scouts see Adams as a franchise left tackle, while others think his skill set will project just shy of being able to handle those responsibilities on the left edge over a full career. There’s a consensus agreement that Adams is a bit inconsistent which hinders his chances at being a left tackle immediately in his rookie year. But, his measurables are nearly perfect for the left side and good coaching would eliminate those inconsistencies over time. If everything comes together he could be molded into a career left tackle; as he is right now, I see him as making more of an impact on day one on the right side.

Right now most mock drafts have Adams going anywhere from the middle of round one to early/mid-round two. Always keep in mind, the need for good tackles will raise the stocks of top linemen come Draft day. As it stands now, Adams is worth at least a look from the Giants in round one.