5. How will the Front Office Address the Tight End Position?
It was no secret that the Giants’ offense struggled last season. 7th worst in the league in points per game (19 PPG), this unit severely underperformed after high expectations heading into the season. There were several culprits of the offensive struggles—the predictable formations and play calling, the lack of execution, the poor offensive line play and the lack of an effective ground game all played a part in the futility. However, a major weakness on the offense that did not seem to receive much of the blame was the poor play of the tight ends. The Giants desperately lacked a big-bodied tight end to stretch the middle of the field.
The combination of Will Tye, rookie seventh-round pick Jerell Adams and Larry Donnell did not provide the Giants with any form of continuity in the passing game. Tye, the Giants’ starting tight end playing the majority of the snaps, only recorded 395 receiving yards and a single touchdown. With the production from the other two, the Giants only got a total of 609 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns from the entire unit. To put those numbers in perspective, there were 14 tight ends that recorded more yards and 19 tight ends that recorded more touchdowns than all three Giants’ tight ends combined. These three just did not provide enough in the passing game. As it relates to run blocking, the unit did not play well enough either.
Tye has good hands and speed but lacks the ideal size (6-foot-3) the Giants need in a vertical threat tight end. Donnell has great size (6-foot-6) but lacks the ball skills to emerge as a weapon and struggles in run blocking. As for Adams, he seems to be at least a season of development away from being a potential starting option despite possessing good size (6-foot-5) and ball skills.
Now, the front office is faced with the task of upgrading the position. In free agency, options such as Jared Cook or a potential reunion with Super Bowl champion Martellus Bennett seem feasible. However, the more likely route is upgrading the position through the draft, as it is believed that the Giants will prioritize the tight end position in May.
Luckily for the Giants, this draft class is rich in high-end talent. The top prospects in this year’s draft seem to be O.J. Howard (Alabama), David Njoku (Miami, Fla.), Bucky Hodges (Virginia Tech) and Jake Butt (Michigan). Most, if not all of these players will likely be available to them if they choose to address the tight end position in the first round.
No matter what route the front office takes, the Giants will look to find a big-bodied vertical threat tight who gives them something in run blocking this offseason.
By the end of free agency and the NFL Draft, do not be surprised if there is a new starting tight end on the roster whom the Giants hope will bring stability to a position that has been severely lacking on the offense for years.