When the New York Giants used their 5th-round pick in April’s Draft on Oregon’s Shane Lemieux, they grabbed themselves one of the most steady and reliable offensive guards in recent College Football history.
However, with Will Hernandez and Kevin Zeitler firmly entrenched as the team’s starting guards, New York clearly had a different role in mind for the 2x-Second-Team All-Pac-12 selection when they pulled the trigger.
Lemieux is expected to be given a legitimate opportunity to nail down the starting center gig in New York, a position of need for Big Blue. However, if 3x-Pro Bowler and Giants Super Bowl XLII Champion Shaun O’Hara had his say, Lemieux wouldn’t sniff the field in his rookie season from said position.
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O’Hara’s Money is on Spencer Pulley
Lemieux is currently in a three-way battle to earn the starting center role, a competition that includes the versatile Nick Gates, and the current “front runner” Spencer Pulley.
A large majority of Giants faithful are likely banging the table for Lemieux or Gates to leave camp victorious. Yet, O’Hara sees Pulley’s experience, and the fellow competitors’ lack of experience, as the deciding factor in the battle, as noted in a recent discussion with the New York Post.
“He’s not going to come in and be better than Spencer Pulley right away. Just from a mental standpoint, making the calls,” O’Hara said. “And you got a young quarterback too. Daniel Jones has not seen every defense yet. Would I want a second-year quarterback and a rookie center playing? Heck no.’’
Lemieux, who started 52-games at guard in college, didn’t play a single snap at center during his time in Eugene. O’Hara feels that the belief that Lemieux can seamlessly transition to a foreign position is a bit farfetched.
“The toughest thing a lot of guys have, if you’ve never played center, is shotgun snaps,’’ said O’Hara. “Most guys can figure out the under-center snap. Shotgun snaps, sometimes people become mental midgets with that and they just can’t handle it. It sounds to me he’s the kind of guy that is gonna stay out and snap 1,000 balls if he has to, to make sure he can handle that.’’
O’Hara Would be ‘Shocked’ if Lemieux Starts at Center
If anyone knows the detail and intricacies that go into making a successful switch to center, it would be O’Hara. While O’Hara enjoyed a stellar 10-year NFL career at the position, earning three Pro Bowl berths and a second-team All-Pro selection along the way, the ex-Rutgers standout actually entered the league as a left tackle.
O’Hara didn’t become a full-time starter in the NFL until his third season, and he evidently expects a similar learning curve for Lemieux, as The Post noted O’Hara would be “shocked” if Lemieux “at any time as a rookie took snaps as the starting center.”
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