Initial Thoughts on Ereck Flowers
The pick of Ereck Flowers at the ninth overall selection didn’t come at a huge surprise, especially with Brandon Scherff, Kevin White, and Amari Cooper all off the board. Scherff was a popular pick for the Giants in most mock drafts, but the Redskins moderately surprised everyone and took Scherff with the 5th selection.
Some will say the Giants should have went with a pass rusher like Bud Dupree, and while pass rush is of course a concern, valuing offensive lineman might be greater.
With that being said, enough talk about what could have been and time to focus on what the Giants do have with a 6’6 329 lb. Offensive Lineman. According to Tom Coughlin, per Jordan Raanan of NJ.com, Flowers is a “battleship, aircraft carrier”. An aircraft carrier sure sounds like someone who can maul anyone in front of them, making an immediate impact in protecting Eli and sparking the run game.
Flowers has played both tackle positions at the University of Miami showing he has some versatility along the offensive line. His pass protection needs improvement due to poor technique with his foot work, but will not have the pressure of having to play left tackle at this point with Will Beatty already being there.
The questions about Flowers, similar to the questions that would have been floating around Scherff if the Giants drafted him, are will he play guard initially, or will he be slotted immediately into right tackle? He very well could be asked to play guard at the beginning of his career while the coaches work to get his pass protection skills up to par.
Some will have a real problem with the latter because Flowers was a ninth overall pick. But I have no issue with it because I’m in it for the long haul with the 21 year-old who does have the strength and power in run blocking to move defenders and create open holes.
Open holes for the Giants run game have been sparse the last two seasons with no running back on the roster reaching 1,000 yards and no run game that could consistently threaten defenses. Flowers would without question help open up lanes for Shane Vereen, Rashad Jennings and Andre Williams if he were to play guard before he shows the staff he is ready to move outside.
The positive in adding Flowers is that it adds options to the Giants offensive line. Justin Pugh, who played guard in college, could be moved back to his more natural position inside after playing right tackle last season. Pugh said himself he would have no problem with moving back to his old position, presumably because he feels like he can help the team just as good or better playing guard.
While Flowers has a good skill set to play Guard at this point in his career, the Giants drafted him to play tackle, and hopefully left tackle, protecting the blind-side of Eli Manning and whoever the next quarterback is.
It’s clear Flowers will need plenty of coaching to morph into a left tackle, but his impressive size and arm length are what indicates that left tackle can be in his future.
Most scouts and experts, from Todd McShay to Dan Graziano, rave about the Giants choice to pick Flowers. Picking him ninth most likely meant the Giants believe he can be their starting left tackle in the years to come, and with quality left tackles at a premium, it makes sense. At the same time, I can’t help but wonder if the Giants could’ve traded down a few picks and still have gotten their man while adding more draft choices.
The bottom line with Flowers is that he is a mammoth of a human being who should be able to come in and at minimum be able to create more space in the run game. Pat Flaherty, the offensive line coach, has his work cut out for him in being able to develop his pass protection skills, but Flowers has the measurables to be able to improve in that area significantly over the next few seasons.
Height: 6’6 Weight: 329 Arm Length: 34 ½ inches Hands: 9 7/8 inches