Revealing Which Giants Player NFL.com Predicts Will Be a First-time Pro Bowler
Marc Sessler of NFL.com recently came out with his list of one player from every team he projects to become a first-time Pro Bowler, and his selection for the Giants probably isn’t who you think it might be.
His pick is nine-year guard Kevin Zeitler, who, last year in his first season with the Giants, was the offensive line’s most consistent player. Zeitler, obtained in a trade with the Browns for edge Olivier Vernon in the 2019 off-season allowed only 22 total pressures last season, tying him for ten among guards who took at least 80% of their team’s offensive snaps.
Graded as PFF’s sixth-best overall guard (again out of those who took 80% of their team’s snaps), the 11 best in pass pro, and the sixth-best in run blocking, Zeitler proved to be a warrior last year, fighting through a shoulder ailment that cost him his first regular-season game since the 2015 season.
Zeitler’s game has many strengths, including his communication and his signature power game in run blocking. According to advanced league stats, the Giants averaged 5.21 rushing yards when running behind the right guard hole, the second-best average in the NFL, and the best average among the Giants' offensive line’s interior.
The 30-year-old Zeitler played his college ball at Wisconsin. He was the 27 overall pick I the 2012 NFL draft, selected by the Bengals, for whom he played five seasons. He signed with the Browns in 2017 and in 2018, he was PFF’s top-rated guard, but the Browns decided to move on from him after that season, trading Zeitler on his birthday.
Zeitler is currently under contract with the Giants through the 2021 season. Per Over the Cap, he is the league’s fourth-highest average earner among right guards, behind Washington’s Brandon Scherff, Philadelphia’s Brandon Brooks, and Dallas’ Zack Martin.