Could King Dunlap Be the Next Winston Justice?

Written By Bob Cunningham On Monday, February 22, 2010

Is Dunlap the answer if Peters were to go down?

We're all aware of the heat Winston Justice received after his less-than-spectacular first start against the Giants and Osi Umenyiora. Really, it wasn't that bad if we look past the record-tying six sacks by one individual and 12 overall.

Outside of that, he was pretty good.

But seriously, the meltdown had to be put squarely on Andy Reid's shoulders. He waited too long to rule Tra Thomas out for that game and threw the rookie into the fire. Then, knowing full-well that most starters struggled against Umenyiora, decided to give Justice no help.

It was a recipe for disaster that came out just the way the Giants had hoped.

Then last season, King Dunlap, through the fault of no one but a freak ankle injury to Jason Peters, was thrown into the Oakland game with the task of blocking Richard Seymour.

It didn't work out all that well, and if memory serves, the kid gave up a few sacks because he blew his assignment, wasn't quick enough with the read, or simply didn't know how to work with his guard.

He did pick things up in the second half and had a pretty solid outing from there, but he played poorly enough initially to have fans calling for his head.

But here's what we need to remember: the kid was a seventh round draft pick in '08, and was almost immediately placed on IR, effectively ending his rookie season. So, essentially, he was a rookie in '09.

Missing an entire year's worth of reps set him back and he had to start all over last season.

So to expect him to come in and be the same type of player that Peters was just isn't realistic. But, again, Reid left him out on an island to get abused by a veteran player who knew how to take advantage of the young guy.

Dunlap is incredibly tall (6'8), even for a left tackle, but is reportedly having a very difficult time keeping enough weight on and can't seem to break the 310 pound threshold.

310 pounds may sound like a lot, but when you're 6'8 your femur weighs about 250.

He's got to work with the new strength and conditioning coaches to find a way to put bulk up and put everything together. He's a guy who's athletic with good feet and has a lot of upside, so if he can gain the weight of an NFL player, and get the reps he needs, I believe he can be a very good backup.

He won't ever be a starter here as Peters will have that locked down (hopefully) for the next eight years or so, but if he learns how to play the game at this level and can bulk up, he's got the natural ability to play in the NFL.

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