Breaking Down The New York Giants Tight End Situation

On The Bubble: Matt LaCosse

2015 was quite the journey of a rookie season for the Illinois product. Touted as one of the top undrafted free agents on the market, the Giants quickly pounced on Matt LaCosse after the Draft.

However, just two days into training camp LaCosse went down with a hamstring injury. He took an injury settlement with the team to become a free agent and was eventually picked up by the neighbooring New York Jets a few weeks later.

The Jets waived him before the start of the regular season, but the Giants chose to bring him back as a practice squad member in November. By late December LaCosse had been promoted to the active roster and recorded three catches for 22 yards over two games played.

LaCosse’s value as a player comes mainly in his outstanding versatility on the football field. For the Fighting Illini, LaCosse lined up at tight end, H-back, and slot receiver, using his 6’6″ 250 lbs frame to be a threat as both a blocker and a pass catcher.

Like Adams, his collegiate statistics weren’t mind blowing by any means (had career numbers of 38 receptions for 397 yards and six touchdowns), but he has the physical upside to make it worth the Giants wild to see where his ceiling is.

His 4.64 forty yard dash time was identical to Adams, and he put up more reps on the 225 lbs bench press (20) then New York’s newly drafted prospect.

So far this offseason those combine numbers have translated into impressive on the field production, as LaCosse received a good chunk of first team reps ahead of both Donnell and Tye during OTAs.

He sat out during the team’s minicamp with a sore groin, but is expected to be a full go for training camp. That is where the Giants hope to see even more big play potential from the former UDFA.

Per Jordan Raanan of NJ.com, “LaCosse has consistently been making plays this spring, and earned a large chunk of first-team snaps during Wednesday’s OTA workout which was open to the media. …The early reviews from OTAs show LaCosse making plays. He lined up wide right on Wednesday and made a leaping catch over safety Landon Collins deep down the right sideline. He reached back and plucked a ball off his back shoulder in the end zone on Thursday.”

While LaCosse had been tearing it up during OTAs, fans shouldn’t get ahead of themselves  just yet. Remember during last year’s OTAs Jerome Cunningham was making plays all over the field, only to go quiet once the pads went on and training camp began and was eventually cut by the team. LaCosse will have to prove he can take a hit and hang on to the football consistently before he makes a legitimate run at a roster spot.

LaCosse is the kind of “swiss army knife” player that new head coach Ben McAdoo will love to move around in his offensive schemes. His height allows him to line up as an outside receiver, while his strength and speed make him effective in the slot, tight-end, and fullback roles.

Though his two regular season games last year was only a small sample size, LaCosse had the second highest overall grade by Pro Football Focus and the highest run blocking grade among Giants tight ends.

Tye has the edge as the Giants starter as of now due his proven in game production, but don’t sleep on LaCosse and his versatility to start seeing plenty of reps. He could be in for an even bigger role increase than Adams as the season progresses.

Prediction: (Second String, Sees A Few Starts Later During The Season) 40 Catches, 450 yards, Five Touchdowns 

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