Following the retirement of Rhett Ellison, the Giants were looking for a better than decent blocking tight end option to add to their offense.
They appeared to find that option in Levine Toilolo, originally a fourth-round draft pick by Atlanta in 2013 who also had stints with the Lions and the 49ers.
What the Giants got in Toilolo was somewhat of a mixed bag, at least in the beginning. Initially, it seemed as though there was some question about what Toilolo's best fit in the offense would be, and as such, his blocking was a bit spotty early on in that it wasn't dominating.
Toilolo, who also saw 152 special teams snaps (second-most in his career, per data from Pro Football Focus), began a little better, getting more push on his blocks and staying with them toward the back end of the season.
That said, when the Giants went to the 13-personnel package, which they deployed 10% of the time, the results left something to be desired. The Giants had a 43% success rate when using 13-personnel and allowed four sacks and 3.3 rushing yards per carry.
If the Giants are going to make more frequent use of their 13-personnel package, they will need a lot more from their tight ends--whoever the trio might be.
What He Brings
A notable issue with Toilolo as a blocker has been his balance upon making contact. Due to playing with a higher than desired pad level, he becomes easier to shed or toss aside for a defensive end trying to get past him, the result being Toilolo ends up on the ground a little too often than desired.
A somewhat hidden aspect of Toilolo's game is his ability as a pass-catcher--not surprising given his size and catch radius. Toilolo uses his big body well to wall off defenders and has a career catch rate of 72.6% and a 10.2 yards per catch average.
That said, Toilolo doesn't have ideal athleticism in the open field, and he's not going to be a guy who will pick up significant yardage after the catch, his career average being 5.1 yards. With so many other potential pass targets added to the roster, Toilolo will likely be an afterthought in the passing game anyway.
Toilolo enters the final year of the two-year, $6.2 million deal he signed last season. Earlier this year, Toilolo, who was to make $2,95 million in base salary, agreed to a pay cut which lowers his base salary to $1.35 million and his cap number to $2.6 million. If he is not on the Giants' roster, the team will save $950,000 and eat a $650,000 dead money cap hit.
Last year, Toilolo started the season as the No. 2 tight end behind Evan Engram. With the Giants having added Kyle Rudolph to the lineup of Engram and Kaden Smith, a younger, more cost-effective, and (at times last year) more consistent blocking option, it's hard to sit here and say Toilolo is a lock to remain, even though he willingly took a pay cut.
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