The tight end position could end up being a very important role for the New York Giants offense next season.
For the upcoming 2019 season, New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning will have several weapons minus a recognizable stud. He won’t have Odell Beckham Jr. as a teammate for the first time since the 2013 season. However, there are still a number of options in the air attack. Receivers Sterling Shepard, Golden Tate, and Corey Coleman are working to have big seasons for Big Blue. Not to mention that kid Saquon Barkley coming out of the backfield.
What may be overlooked though is the tight end position. Not many would say the Giants have a complete, dominant tight end like teams such as the Chiefs do with Travis Kelce. But what the Giants do have are a few tight ends who have different specialties across the board.
Evan Engram is an athletic specimen who can line up in the backfield or in the slot and can be a great target for Manning when healthy. Rhett Ellison is a decent blocking tight end who also can act as a safety valve in 3rd-and-short passing plays. Scott Simonson is also a good blocking tight end which is important when you consider who the Giants have at running back.
Let’s look at some statistics. Tight ends in the first year of head coach Pat Shurmur’s offense contributed to nearly 20% of targets and nearly 21% of completions. The tight ends also contributed to 21.2% of passing touchdowns along with 21.7% of touchdown passes.
No, they’re not huge numbers, but they’re significant when you consider that the Giants had Beckham and Shepard at the receiver position for the majority of the year. Barkley also caught 91 balls for the Giants, which is a big number for a running back.
This is probably the most important season for Engram going into year three. After being drafted in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft, he had a dominant rookie season. He was a bright spot in arguably the most disappointing season in Giants history, as they went 3-13.
Engram totaled 64 receptions for 722 yards and six touchdowns that year. The former Ole’ Miss Rebel was plagued by injuries in 2018, though. He only played in 11 games and caught 45 balls for 577 yards and three touchdowns.
Engram needs to stay healthy, bottom line. When he’s healthy, he’s a great aspect for this Giants offense and proves to be a versatile tight end. If he can’t stay out of the trainer’s room, it could be a big problem for the Giants when you consider the future.
I can’t see Ellison and Simonson both cut from the team. They both proved their worth last year as both blocking and receiving tight ends. Ellison had 25 receptions for 272 yards and one touchdown in 2018 and received an above-average 65.1 grade on Pro Football Focus.
Simonson only totaled nine receptions for 86 yards and one touchdown for Big Blue, but that’s not his main role. The young tight end proved to be a good run-blocker for Barkley and running back Wayne Gallman. It’s a big reason as to why the Giants re-signed him.
In all, the Giants could end up having one of the best tight end trios in the NFL. They just need to utilize them in the correct way. The Giants have to use Engram as more of a receiving role, Ellison as a safety valve role in short yardage passing as well as blocking, and Simonson as a pure run-blocking tight end.
This offense doesn’t have to make it too complicated for them. And if they don’t, the tight end position could be one of the more important roles for this offense in 2019.