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NFL Draft: Weak year for offensive linemen

Alabama offensive lineman Cam Robinson runs a drill

Alabama offensive lineman Cam Robinson runs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis on March 3, 2017. Photo Credit: AP / Michael Conroy

PHILADELPHIA — Count former NFL coach Steve Mariucci among those who are not impressed with this year’s crop of offensive linemen.

“I had a coach tell me that in 19 years of evaluating for the draft that this is the leanest year for offensive linemen,” Mariucci, now an analyst for NFL Network, said on Wednesday. “Wow.”

Mariucci said in years past there were a handful of positions that teams would reach for: quarterback, pass-rusher, and left tackle. Not so for the left tackles this year.

“You have to protect your franchise quarterback,” he said. “But it’s thin.”

That may not stop the Giants from taking one, though, according to another NFL Network analyst.

“Sooner or later they have to solidify that offensive line,” Mike Mayock said. “They’re at 23. I think that offensive line run starts right around there, 19 or 20. Tampa Bay, Denver, that whole group starts right then. I think the Giants are sitting there and if a Garett Bolles or Ryan Ramczyk or Cam Robinson is available, I think that makes a lot of sense for them. Whether or not they are interested in moving up is another question, to get one of those three if they have a favorite.”

The potential first-round picks at the position all have weaknesses.

“It’s Bolles, who is athletic, a little older, went on a mission,” Mariucci said of the player with only one year of major college football experience. “It’s Ramczyk from Wisconsin, a one-year starter. It’s Cam Robinson. Is he a left tackle or not? It’s Forrest Lamp who is probably going to be a guard. Those are the possibilities for first-round linemen.”

Bleak.

“There are so many good defensive players that you might take that corner or that pass rusher instead of a tackle this year,” Mariucci said. “I think the offensive linemen have a chance to slip a little bit.”

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