After a rough outing in the team’s final dress rehearsal before the regular season, the New York Giants have finally chosen to address their offensive line.
First reported by ESPN’s Jordan Raanan, and since confirmed by head coach Joe Judge and the team’s official website, the Giants are acquiring interior offensive lineman Billy Price in a trade with the Cincinnati Bengals. Price was a first-round selection out of Ohio State in 2018. The 26-year-old has appeared in 42 games over his three NFL seasons, of which he’s started 19.
In return for Price’s services, the Giants are sending defensive lineman B.J. Hill and a 2022 conditional seventh-round pick to Cincinnati.
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Giants Say Goodbye to BJ Hill
Part of the same draft class as Price, Hill was selected by New York in the third-round out of NC State and had served as one of the Giants’ most consistent contributors across their front-seven in recent years. In 2020, despite failing to notch a single start under his belt, the 26-year-old appeared in all 16 games and graded out behind only Leonard Williams, Dalvin Tomlinson and Dexter Lawrence as the Giants’ third-best defensive linemen with a Pro Football Focus grade of 73.4. Over his three NFL seasons, Hill has averaged an overall PFF grade of 72.8.
The North Carolina native hadn’t served as a regular starter for the Giants since his rookie campaign when he started 12 of his 16 games, including the final 10 games to close out the year. There was a belief that Hill would revert back to a starter in 2021 with Tomlinson now residing in Minnesota. However, due to Hill being more of a five-technique, former second-round pick Austin Johnson has been the player plugged in as Tomlinson’s replacement on the team’s unofficial depth chart. Having said that, a depth chart in Patrick Graham’s multi-front scheme doesn’t really hold much weight, meaning Hill would have likely played a major role in the Giants’ defensive line rotation.
In total, Hill played 48 games with the Giants (17 starts), collecting 117 total tackles, 10 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks and 13 quarterback hits.
Outlook on Price & Fit With Giants
Price has by no means lived up to his draft stature thus far throughout his young NFL career. A former unanimous All-American selection and Rimington Trophy recipient (best center in college football), he had quickly fallen out of favor in Cincinnati. Despite appearing in all 16 games this past season, Price drew just one start. The local Ohio product was on the roster bubble heading into final cuts, making the Bengals’ ability to acquire Hill for his services a win from their point of view.
Yet, that’s not to say it’s an outright loss for the Giants.
Despite Price’s early career bumps, there’s undoubtedly some talent to work with. Here’s what NFL.com’s draft expert Lance Zierlein had to say about the 6-foot-4-inch, 305-pounder when he was coming out of Ohio State.
Plays like a Wildling at times with tremendous explosiveness, strength and, almost excessive initial charge. Price’s power and leverage give him a huge advantage over most centers in this draft. He should be able to come into the league and deal with NFL power right away. However, his impatience as a blocker and tendency to charge in head-first will be used against him by savvy NFL opponents if he doesn’t get it cleaned up. Price should be a good, early starter.
Hill was a sturdy contributor, but the Giants’ defensive line remains in good hands with their current arsenal of players. As for Price, he helps address the team’s biggest question mark — the interior of their offensive line. Will he be immediately plugged in as a starter from day one? Highly doubtful. In fact, he may prove to be nothing but depth for the entirety of his stay in New York. Then again, Shane Lemieux’s injury leaves the door open for starting center Nick Gates to slide over if the Giants don’t feel content with veteran Kenny Wiggins filling the role. Or, Price could potentially get a look at guard, where he started eight games in 2019.
Whether Price serves in a reserve role or not doesn’t really matter. The fact of the matter is, there aren’t many plug-and-play options just sitting on the open market less than two weeks away from opening day. Taking a flyer on a 26-year-old who was recently viewed as a near-blue-chip prospect makes this trade a smart move on Dave Gettleman’s part — even if his trust in the team’s unproven o-line is what made this deal a near-necessity in the first place.
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