Cajuste has the look of a starting offensive tackle, but does his game translate to the NFL?
The 2019 NFL Draft is shaping up to be a good one for the offensive line. While there aren’t any “blue chip” sure-fire future All-Pro prospects, such as 2018’s Quenton Nelson, there are a number of players at every position on the line who could step in and start right away at the next level.
That is good news for a league which is lacking in offensive line talent.
It is well established that the New York Giants need to continue to upgrade their offensive line. They are set at left tackle and left guard, but have questions at center, right guard, and right tackle. West Virginia left tackle Yodny Cajuste is one of the best tackles in the upcoming draft class and could be one of the first linemen to hear his name called.
But given the incredible wealth of defensive prospects, might he slip into the second round? And if so, could the Giants make him their pick to solidify their right tackle position, with an eye toward replacing Nate Solder after the 2019 season?
Weight: 315 pounds
- Nimble, athletic blocker. Easily able to get in position and mirror rushers.
- Good hand usage. Isn’t afraid to hit with his punch, locks and and controls defenders.
- Good mobility as a puller and at the second level.
- Scheme diverse in the running game. Should be able to play in man or zone blocking schemes.
- Generally plays with a wide base to absorb bull rushes.
- Shows solid alertness for stunts, twists, and blitzes.
- Footwork is not as smooth as you would like to see.
- Appears a bit thin through the arms and legs.
- Rarely (if ever) in a three-point stance in West Virginia’s Air Raid offense.
- Balance is occasionally an issue.
- Occasionally drops his head while trying to generate power to leverage and drive blocks in the running game.
What They’re Saying
“While there are some technical improvements needed, Cajuste has the makings of a standout blindside offensive tackle in the NFL. His power, mobility and length are all plus traits that serve as a strong foundation for him to develop. While his skill set is optimized in a gap/power run scheme, he isn’t limited to that role exclusively. By year three, Cajuste should be a reliable starter gearing up for a lucrative second contract.”
– Joe Marino (The Draft Network – scouting report)
Does He Fit The Giants?
The Giants need to find an upgrade at right tackle, and Cajuste would certainly be that if he can transition his technique from left to right.
He has some warts on his game, mostly related to his footwork, but they are correctable. Most notably, while he is athletic and his feet are very quick, his pass sets are very choppy, and that can get him into trouble on occasion. Cajuste is normally very good at meeting rushers and creating space for himself to deal with pass rush moves or absorb power, but sometimes his feet will freeze or get too close together. When that happens, defenders can move him around, get around him, or he can wind up on the ground. He should be able to move past that with good coaching and more fluid feet will take his game to the next level.
He does appear to be a bit thin in his arms and legs, but brings plenty of power to bear when it comes time to match bull rushers or move defenders in the run game. Cajuste has the athleticism to play in zone blocking schemes, as well as get out in space as a blocker on screens.
The bigger question for the Giants — provided they haven’t signed a starting offensive tackle in free agency — is whether or not Cajuste will last to the Giants’ pick in the second round.