Sport

Joshua Ezeudu and Marcus McKethan bring different skills to Giants

Looking left, Brian Anderson felt confident. Looking to the right, he felt most sorry for North Carolina’s opponent.

Anderson played 35 games for the Tar Heels at center over the past three seasons, which means he’s often lined up between left guard Joshua Ezeudu and right guard Marcus McKethan. The Giants just drafted Ezeudu in the third round and McKethan in the fifth after sending offensive line coach Bobby Johnson to Pro Day in North Carolina and being impressed with the pair’s complementary skills.

Like Anderson, Ezeudu is a movie junkie. Ezeudu’s preparation allowed him to rotate up to three positions when needed – sometimes within the same drive when calling up a trick play or rarely used screen pass.

“I made a comment about a specific player or scheme this week and it’s always been nice to know that I have someone to back up my analysis and check me out,” Anderson told The Post. “Josh is someone you never turn a blind eye to when you play because you can play the game without thinking. Things are going really well with him in there. He has a good knack for picking up defences.”

The 6-foot-6, 340-pound McKethan is more of the guy who picks up defenders — like literally lifting them off their feet.

Giants
Marcus McKethan (left) and Joshua Ezeudu together in North Carolina.
Allison F. Smith/UNC Athletics

“One of my favorite things to do was run inside the zone to the right against a 4-3 defense, and I looked at Marcus and said, ‘Gosh, that defender’s in trouble,'” laughed Anderson. “It’s always fun to lead double teams with Marcus because you have this man who is nothing but pure muscle power and only moves people.”

One concern NFL teams sometimes raise when calling up offensive linemen from college run pass option (RPO) offenses like North Carolina is the danger of oversimplification. In that case, there’s nothing to worry about, offensive coordinator Phil Longo told The Post.

Giants quarterback Daniel Jones is best in RPOs, which are a big part of the offense under construction.

“The biggest advantage of playing in the system that we have is that we ask them to do a lot of things,” Longo said. “We never told our linemen when we threw an RPO. When we ran electricity, they blocked electricity. When we countered, they blocked counters. I wouldn’t want to do that because it takes away the aggression and I don’t think it promotes physical development.”

Of McKethan’s 37 career starts, 28 have been on the same line as the 6-4, 308-pound Ezeudu. They blocked for a drafted quarterback (Sam Howell) and sealed zone runs and gap runs for three drafted running backs in the past two seasons, including the Jets’ Michael Carter.

“If you look up the dictionary for an offensive guard in the NFL, it should have a picture of Marcus,” Longo said. “He will devour people. You won’t find many plays where Marcus was moved into our backfield. He’s such a huge, physical presence.”

UNC
Quiron Johnson, (left to right) Marcus McKethan, Joshua Ezeudu.
Grant Halverson

The Giants have caused a deadlock at the guard as they try to fix a decades-old problem on the offensive line. With top free agent signing Mark Glowinski starting at right, Ezeudu, Max Garcia (52 career starts), prospective 2021 starter Shane Lemieux, actual 2021 starter Ben Bredeson (acquired following Lemieux’s injury at the end of the season) and other unsung veterans struggle Be a starter or one of the few active reserves on a game day list.

“Joshua is more of a communicator, more of a blend of athletic talent,” Longo said. “Because he was our best lineman and our most versatile, we moved him around for certain things. He allowed us the luxury of putting the next four best guys on the field as often as possible and allowed us to keep everyone fresh. I would think his ability to play every seat except center makes him really valuable in the NFL.

Watching the draft, Anderson was reminded of the special attention the Giants gave his two teammates at Pro Day. They must have really liked what they saw, he thought.

What’s next? Ezeudu will be the funny guy behind the scenes. McKethan takes an all-business approach. They just need to be comfortable in their new surroundings, which is easier together.

“It was just incredible to see them both go to New York,” said Anderson, who has one year left to play. “You have two huge guys who bring different things to the table and they play really well together.”

https://nypost.com/2022/05/02/joshua-ezeudu-marcus-mckethan-bring-different-skills-to-giants/ Joshua Ezeudu and Marcus McKethan bring different skills to Giants

JOE HERNANDEZ

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