It’s a highlight that has long been shown to tight end hopefuls, and Xavier Grimble is no exception.
Phil Simms drops back and fires a pass over the middle to Mark Bavaro who proceeds to carry five defenders an additional 12 yards. It’s a play Grimble has watched over, and over, and over again.
“I always like to look at the guys who were great before and look at what they did,” Grimble said. “Mold yourself after that.”
If Grimble, who will wear No. 89, develops himself into anything that even slightly resembles Bavaro, New York may have struck gold in the undrafted 21-year-old out of USC.
“It’s kind of like you’re living your dream,” Grimble said. “Finally when you have the chance to actually go out and be a part of such a great organization, it just motivates you that much more to work harder.”
New York signed Grimble after the tight end went undrafted in the 2014 NFL Draft. Prior to the draft, some scouts viewed Grimble as a player with All-Pro potential.
With the tight end position wide open, it’s not too hard to fathom Grimble lining up for New York when the team opens the season versus Detroit. The Nevada native has the perfect size (6-5, 250 pounds) to be a prototypical tight end in the NFL and little competition. Adrien Robinson, Daniel Fells, Kellen Davis and Larry Donnell are the lone other occupants in the meeting room. The four combined for six receptions last year.
What Grimble lacks is experience. After being considered a four-star recruit by Rivals.com and the best tight end in the nation following his graduation from Bishop Gorman High School, that potential was never truly lived up to.
Grimble was redshirted his freshman year before catching 15 passes for 144 yards and four scores in 2011, and 29 for 316 yards and five touchdowns in 2012. But last year, those numbers dropped. Grimble dealt with a nagging shoulder injury all year and managed just 25 receptions for 271 yards and two touchdowns.
Despite this, Grimble still declared for the NFL Draft.
“I made the decision completely by myself,” Grimble said. “I think it was a good decision.”
Entering the pre-draft process, Grimble was viewed as a player who could go as high as the third round, but saw that stock drop significantly at USC’s Pro Day. With scouts in attendance, Grimble ran a 4.98 and 5.02 in the 40-yard dash, jumped just a 30.5” vertical and 9’2” broad and bench-pressed 250 pounds only 16 times. He missed the NFL Scouting Combine with a calf strain.
“I didn’t have the greatest workout I wanted to have at USC,” Grimble said. “But my ultimate goal was always to play in the NFL and I had a shot so I’m about to take it.”
Grimble wasn’t drafted, but received phone calls from the San Francisco 49ers, Washington Redskins, Oakland Raiders and Atlanta Falcons. He chose the Giants due in part to the team’s eagerness to get in contact.
“They were the first team to call,” Grimble said. “I felt like they showed the most interest. I felt like they were genuine, the Giants are a great organization. I heard nothing but good things about it. It was kind of a no-brainer really.”
Grimble still believes he can live up to the All-Pro standards that were once commonly associated with his name.
“I have no doubt,” Grimble said. “If I put the time in, put the work in, you never know what the future holds. I’m going to work extremely hard. This is the NFL, this is the last shot so this is a great opportunity to try to attack that goal.
“That’s where I want to be, so hopefully the work takes me there.”
— Xavier Grimble (@justfollowZae23) May 18, 2014