When we talk about playmakers for the New York Giants, we have to also include the tight end position.
And with good reason. When the Giants switched coaching staff last year, their use of 12-personnel increased from 17% in 2019 to 27% in 2020. But the overall production of the position took a significant nosedive, going from 95 receptions for 913 yards and seven touchdowns in 2019 to 86 catches for 812 yards and one touchdown.
To add some firepower to the unit, the team signed veteran Kyle Rudolph, who has 48 career touchdowns, seven of which have come over the last two seasons. But even with the addition of Rudolph o a two-year deal, the question remains as to whether the Giants need to add more at this position via the draft.
If Florida’s Kyle Pitts is somehow sitting at No. 11, the assumption is he’s a no-brainer pick given his hands, his wingspan, his speed, and his athleticism (just don’t ask him to do much in-line blocking as that doesn’t appear to be the best use of his skillset).
But if most mock drafts are to be believed, Pitts won’t be there at No. 11, so what do the Giants do? Do they wait until the second round for Peen State’s Pat Freiermuth, or maybe hold their water until Day 3?
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They could also defer on adding a tight end this year from an otherwise slim pickings type of class and try again next year, especially if there are no plans to extend Evan Engram beyond his rookie contract. Either way, let’s look at some prospects for the Giants at this position not named Kyle Pitts that might be a fit.
Brevin Jordan (Miami). Jordan isn’t as explosive as Engram, and he’s also not an in-line blocker, but he’s someone who could be deployed out wide, from the backfield, and on the move. He has very good speed for his size (6-foot-3, 245 pounds) and can be a very good move blocker but don’t ask him to take on defensive ends.
Pat Freiermuth (Penn State). A legit short and intermediate receiving threat, Freiermuth has classic tight end size (6-foot-5, 250 pounds) with room to grow, but he’s coming off a shoulder injury that needs to be thoroughly vetted. Freiermuth isn’t as athletic as Engram, but he knows how to play the position well and has enough speed to be a chains mover. If he can add to his strength, then a team will have something to work with for the long term. (See Jim Mora's take on Freiermuth in the above video.)
Tre’ McKitty (Georgia). Another move tight end, McKitty is a very willing blocker with just enough size to survive in-line and the athleticism to be a very good move blocker. He needs more bulk (as do most draft prospects coming out of college) and might be the closest thing to being the type of tight end the Giants might have envisioned Engram becoming.