The New York Giants have made protecting quarterback Eli Manning a top priority this offseason. The team interviewed three offensive linemen at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis that could potentially start in the 2017 season.
Aside from Justin Pugh and Weston Richburg, the line desperately needs help. Ereck Flowers, a first-round pick from 2015, has struggled mightily at the left tackle position. The patchwork line didn’t protect Manning as evidenced by the 105 sacks surrendered since 2013.
The Giants interviewed the top three offensive lineman prospects at the Combine: Utah’s Garett Bolles, Wisconsin’s Ryan Ramczyk, and Alabama’s Cam Robinson.
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Bolles (6-foot-5, 300 pounds) has elite athleticism and the perquisite mean streak required of the position. His 40-yard time was 4.95, third fastest among the offensive linemen. Bolles also produced the best broad jump among the linemen with 115 inches.
Bolles only played one season of Division I football, however. He is 25 years old and his past includes getting kicked out of five schools during his teenage years, jail time after multiple legal issues, getting kicked out of his home by his father, and being homeless. Bolles said he’s learned to channel the anger from his childhood onto the football field.
Ramczyk (6-foot-6, 315 pounds) is a physical specimen and the latest in a line of Badger linemen who is ready to make the jump to the NFL. He didn’t participate in any on-field workouts at the Combine because of hip surgery in early January.
Ramcyzk expects a five-month rehab from the surgery, which would have him ready for training camp and possibly OTAs. Like Bolles, he only played one season of Division I football. Some draft boards have him as the first lineman off the board.
Robinson (6-foot-6, 326 pounds) has the biggest upside of any lineman in the draft. He has the physical gifts needed to play the position but questions are out about his motor. This has drawn comparisons to Flowers.
Off-field issues also surround Robinson. He was arrested on weapons and marijuana possession charges in May 2015. Prosecutors in his hometown of Monroe, Louisiana declined to pursue the case. Robinson, to his credit, didn’t shy away from questions about the arrest at the Combine.
All three of these prospects could start next season. The Giants need someone who can go in and immediately contribute. They don’t need a repeat of Ereck Flowers with the team in a win-now scenario.