As the New York Giants head into the 2012 NFL Draft it is obvious they will be in the market for an offensive lineman. Right tackle Kareem McKenzie was told to find another team at the start of free agency and the in-house candidates to replace McKenzie are David Diehl and James Brewer, assuming that left tackle Will Beatty is fully recovered from his eye injury. Giants GM Jerry Reese will almost certainly be picking an offensive lineman in the first half of the draft and there are some good prospects to choose from, especially in the late first or second round.
While most scouts project him as a mid-second round to third round pick, Ole Miss offensive tackle Bobby Massie is one of the better tackle prospects in the draft. He has ideal size for a right tackle at 6-6 and 316 pounds with long arms that can envelop smaller defenders.
Last season he helped Ole Miss lead the SEC in fewest sacks allowed and Ole Miss was third in the nation in rushing. In pass protection he needs to learn to play lower to the ground. He tends to play too upright which causes him to get knocked around by power rushers. However, he possesses an excellent ability to recover and reset. He is better suited to handle speed rushers where he can use his size and power to punch them off their route to the quarterback. If he can become more consistent in delivering that punch it would help him immensely.
In the running game he was able to get by on his size in college which made up for the fact that he plays too high. If he learns to play lower and anchor himself properly he could drive through defenders. He has the speed to move up field and make blocks for his running backs but he needs to become more violent at the point of attack. He will also need to learn to keep his hands inside when blocking otherwise there are going to be plenty of flags flying.
Massie is not someone who will step into a starting role on day one. He is a prospect but the talent is there. All of his flaws are coachable. He needs to learn to play lower, improve his footwork a little, especially in the passing game, and become more violent. He appeared in every game in college so he is extremely durable, something the Giants needed last year on the offensive line. He won’t start right away but he could find himself playing a vital role in a rotation at right tackle, keeping Diehl or Brewer fresh.
Nothing about Massie stands out and says elite. However, he should develop into a very good starting right tackle if he can take the advice of the coaching staff and implement it into the game. Leverage is a large part of the war in the trenches and he needs to play lower and use his frame to gain leverage over defenders. If he can do that he could be part of the right tackle competition in training camp. While Massie isn’t a first round talent he could still be available when the Giants are on the clock with the last pick in the second round. Going forward the Giants would have themselves a durable right tackle who will take a year or two to develop but who should contribute something right away.