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Troy Niklas, New York Giants (November 2, 2013)

Troy Niklas – © USA TODAY Sports Images

New York Giants 2014 NFL Draft Preview: Tight Ends

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Sy’56

Current Tight Ends on NYG Roster:

Kellen Davis – 29 – Signed through 2014

Adrien Robinson – 26 – Signed through 2015

Larry Donnell – 26 – Signed through 2014

Daniel Fells – 31 – Signed through 2014

Where They Stand:

Jerry Reese has made a few attempts to increase the quality of the group over the years without a high level of aggression. The one time he went after a quality free agent in Martellus Bennett, their passing game was elevated to another level. However both prior to him and in 2013 with Brandon Myers, there was little-to-no threat of a pass catching presence at the position. It has held the passing game back from taking a step up to the next level. Davis and Fells were signed as veteran stop gaps. Neither pose as a threat to the defense but both can be serviceable backup types that block well. Davis is the one with starting potential; as he came in to the league with a high ceiling and he’s proven to be an OK player that can be depended on to do some of the little things well. Robinson has yet to live up to even half the hype that we’ve been led to believe. He may be gifted physically, but he’s had issues staying healthy and has shown nothing that should impact the Giants approach to the position in the draft. Donnell is a name I still have some hope for, as I think he has some more football skills to work with. All in all, this is a poor group of tight ends that needs an upgrade as soon as possible.

Top 10 Grades:

1 – Troy Niklas – Notre Dame – 6’7/270: 81

2 – Jace Amaro – Texas Tech – 6’5/265: 79

3 – Eric Ebron – North Carolina – 6’4/250: 79

4 – CJ Fiedorwicz – Iowa – 6’6/265: 76

5 – Marcel Jensen – Fresno State – 6’6/259: 75

6 – Crockett Gilmore – Colorado State – 6’6/260: 74

7 – Alex Bayer – Bowling Green – 6’4/257: 71

8 – Arthur Lynch – Georgia – 6’5/258: 70

9 – Austin Seferian-Jenkins – Washington – 6’6/262: 69

10 – Colt Lylerla – Oregon – 6’4/242: 67

Day One Target:

Troy Niklas – Notre Dame

There aren’t any tight ends worthy of the #12 overall pick on my board. But if NYG somehow trades back towards the end of round one, Niklas should be a thought. Niklas if a former defensive player that came on strong at TE this year. I think his upside is limitless, as I think he is already the best at the position in this class despite not having a lot of experience there. I think his floor is very high as well because he is going to be a dominant blocker in the NFL. He is violent, strong, and agile. He can man up defensive ends or get out in to space and stick with linebackers/safeties. Niklas’ size and ball skills are something that will present major matchup problems for opposing defenses and when it comes down to building up an offense, that’s what it is all about. I think we are talking about an early contributor that could turn himself in to one of the top dual threat TEs in the game.

Runner Up: Eric Ebron – North Carolina

Day Two Target:

Jace Amaro – Texas Tech

I think Ebron will be a first round pick, thus why I put his name above and not here. Amaro is likely going to slip in to round two and I think he will present good value there. He is another big-bodied pass catcher that plays the game with a toughness that NYG has been missing out on for awhile. He put up enormous numbers within a pass-friendly offense but has limited experience as an in-line blocker. That’s an issue when it comes to being brought in to the NYG offense. That did hurt his grade quite a bit but he is still an option for this team. He built up a reputation of being one of the toughest guys in the Big 12 conference and their coaching staff raved about his leadership. I think Amaro is a guy that will find a way to make it work as a blocker. As a receiver, Amaro is another guy that creates the much needed matchup problems. In addition, he has ability with the ball on his hands to pick up extra yards. There is some sneaky athleticism to this kid and I think he is gonna be a productive player in the NFL.

Runner Up: CJ Fiedorwicz – Iowa

Day Three Target:

Marcel Jensen – Fresno State

I went in to a session looking to scout Derek Carr and DaVante Adams in October. Halfway through I was writing more notes on Jensen than both combined. Jensen is a huge frame that moves surprisingly well. Even more, he is a soft hands catcher that can change direction with ease. I think Jensen’s game will be taken to another level in the NFL and when considering he will likely be a day three pick, there is an opportunity for a big value grab here. There are some fine points to his game that need work. He isn’t a good blocker mechanically, but he does show effort. He also needs better route running underneath. But all that in mind, I think he immediately becomes the tight end of the future for NYG more so than Donnell and Robinson.

Runner Up: Nic Jacobs – McNeese State (66)

Most Overrated:

Austin Seferian-Jenkins – Washington

I saw Jenkins play a few times in passing back in 2012 and was somewhat impressed. He was definitely a name I had circled heading in to 2013 but he was deeply underwhelming in every tape I saw. The size and movement ability are there and he has shown some impressive ball skills. But when I watch an entire game of his, I can’t help but worry about the fact that he is just another guy for almost the entire game. A highlight here and there won’t do anything for this team. Jenkins shows almost no urgency as a route runner or as a blocker. He doesn’t show the toughness in traffic either. For a guy this big, he is a softy. I don’t want guys like that unless we are talking about day three. I can see the upside but I saw too much bad tape to give him a grade anywhere higher than round 5.

Runner Up: Xavier Grimble – USC (64)

NYG Approach:

There is an issue here with this class. NYG could use a fresh talent early on at the position, someone that could come in right away and make a contribution. The issue however is that the TE class as a whole lacks star power and depth. In addition, I keep track of every NFL roster and it appears to me that there will be several teams in the hunt for a quality tight end. That is going to make it tough for NYG to bring in the right value at the position considering there are several spots that need to be filled on this team via the draft. If NYG can’t find the right value in the first 3-4 rounds, I would ignore the position altogether. The last thing they should want is yet another experiment at tight end soaking up another roster spot. But if there is a chance to bring in one of those top 5-6 guys where the value is right, I would strongly consider doing it. This is a position that could really change things offensively if the right guy is brought in. As it currently stands, their current tight ends are going to struggle to make the much-needed impact.

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