In the fifth round of the 2020 draft, the Giants selected Oregon guard Shane Lemieux. He's a prospect who has shown tremendous promise for the pro level, but he still has things to work on.
Despite not surrendering a sack all last season, it is universally believed that Lemieux needs to improve on his pass protection. There is also a flaw in his strength--run blocking--that I think is worth exploring. So let's look at some film clips to see what the Giants are getting.
This first play displays the tremendous upside of Lemieux at the next level. Playing against a 4i technique (inside eye of the offensive tackle), he explodes off the ball under control and chips the 4i pushing him into the clutches of the offensive tackle who is now able to take him over completely.
He then climbs to the second level, where a linebacker is trying to fill the vacated gap, and Lemieux swallows the linebacker and works his butt into the running lane, which allows the running back to cut off his block and pick up an extra eight yards on the play. This is what a coach would consider clinic-quality blocking.
This next play is another demonstration of where Lemieux is at his best in the run game. A zone run to the boundary allows Lemieux to get his hands on the hip of the defensive lineman, and he washes him and everyone else near him out of the way.
CJ Verdell cuts off his block, and the rest is elementary. This play displays his footwork, leverage, and what happens when he can latch on to a defender.
In this next clip featuring three plays, you can see the promise and the growth needed by Lemieux.
On the first play, he pulls and kicks out a defender; his speed and path are excellent, and his initial contact on the outside linebacker is enough to allow the tackle and running back to find an opening to run through.
However, he fails to continue to run his feet on contact and keep his hands attached. Instead, he bounces off the defender.
In the NFL, it doesn't matter how big or strong he is, if he doesn't strike the defender and run his feet, he will be knocked back or shed by the defender.
In the second play on the clip, we see Lemieux pulling once again, but this time, he is the wrap man. He brings excellent quickness, and his path is once again great. He wraps underneath the front side guard's kick out block.
However, when he engages the linebacker, he once again only collisions him and bounces off because he stops his feet on contact.
At the collegiate level, this block is sufficient but not effective in the NFL, where linebackers understand how to take on pulling linemen and are much stronger and or quicker.
The third play in this clip shows Lemieux's impressive usage of strength and leverage as he slams the defensive tackle out of the way.
You can find that play across social media as a demonstration of Lemieux's nastiness, but if you study the play, it is a quick screen pass to the receiver, and the left tackle and guard are supposed to get downfield to block.
Only the tackle makes it because the guard (Lemieux) slams the defender, loses balance for a second, and fails to get out into the open field in time to make what could have been a crucial block on the play.
Lemieux is going to be a factor in some capacity for the Giants because the issues in his blocking are easily correctable. If he can play center, it could open up a chance for him to step into a starting role with New York. Time will tell, but one thing is for sure we will be watching.