New York Giants 2013 NFL Draft Preview: Tight End

by Contributor Sy’56

Current Tight Ends on NYG Roster:

Brandon Myers – 27 Years Old – Signed through 2016 (contract can be voided after one season)

Bear Pascoe – 27 Years Old – Signed through 2013

Adrien Robinson – 24 Years Old – Signed through 2015

Larry Donnell – 24 Years Old – Signed through 2014

Jamie Childers – 24 Years Old – Signed through 2014

Where They Stand:

The tight end position has seen a lot of turnover since the Jeremy Shockey era ended in 2008. With one of the top position coaches in the league leading the way, Mike Pope, they have been able to get adequate production from this spot with low-cost free agents. They signed a young, relatively unknown free agent in Brandon Myers to a voidable contract this offseason. He is a savvy underneath receiver that can give Manning that safety net on third downs, but he won’t make plays downfield or alter the plans of the opposing defense. For the long term, Adrien Robinson is being molded in to an every down player after primarily blocking in college. He has all the tools to be a starter in this league, as the Giants were very impressed with his in-season progress throughout 2012. Bear Pascoe plays the hybrid role of blocking tight end and fullback, but doesn’t impact the game as a receiver. Both Donnell and Childers are practice squad-caliber guys that won’t offer much to the offense. At initial glance, the Giants are set at tight end for the next year or two. Everything they need out of the position is already on the roster.

Top 10 Grades:

Tyler Eifert – 6’6/250 – Notre Dame: 82

Travis Kelce – 6’5/255 – Cincinnati: 81

Zach Ertz – 6’5/249 – Stanford: 77

Dion Sims – 6’5/262 – Michigan State: 74

Gavin Escobar – 6’6/254 – San Diego State: 74

Philip Lutzenkirchen – 6’3/258 – Auburn: 72

Jack Doyle – 6’5/254 – Western Kentucky: 69

Lucas Reed – 6’6/247 – New Mexico: 68

Vance McDonald – 6’4/267 – Rice: 68

Jordan Reed – 6’3/236 – Florida: 68

Early Round Target (1st-2nd):

Tyler Eifert – Notre Dame

Toughest receiver over the middle I’ve ever scouted. Such a reliable pass catcher. Tremendous ball skills. Locates the ball and positions his body well to come down with it. Can jump with anybody in traffic. Strong hands, ball is completely stationary upon contact with his hands. Smart and quick route runner. Can sell his double routes. Can turn on a dime when running full speed. Good effort as a blocker. Needs to get stronger, especially below the waist. Will allow his defender to make too many tackles. Lacks the downfield speed to give opposing defenses matchup problems.

Eifert would have been my top tight end in 2012 had he come out. I’ve seen a lot of his games and I always walk away impressed. He will be a third down gem in the NFL. He has the size to out-muscle and/or out-position any defensive back he wants. Linebackers will struggle to stick with him underneath as well because he such an efficient route runner. Does he fit with the Giants? Sure. But they don’t have a need for a starting, or even primary backup tight end at the moment. He will be a first round pick, thus the match probably isn’t there. Don’t completely discount this as a possibility at #19 though. He is a very good, very safe bet to be a productive player in the NFL.

Mid Round Target( 3rd-5th):

Dion Sims – Michigan State

Well-balanced athlete that plays with a lot of power, a lot of presence. Great blocker in space. Dominates linebackers and defensive backs. Can start in the backfield and lead the way as a fullback. Has enough speed to get behind the linebackers and up the seam. Soft hands. Easy catcher of the ball. Big, strong hands. Lacks quickness off the line. May struggle to get open on the short routes. Not a savvy route runner. Doesn’t come back to the football. Not a reliable receiver yet.

The Giants may start looking for another tight end in the middle rounds. They will want a guy that can do multiple things and most importantly, block well. Sims is a guy that plays a similar game to Pascoe, but has more athletic upside to his game. He won’t ever be a guy that catches 60+ passes year in-year out. But the combination of his current power/strength/mobility as a blocker and Mike Pope coaching him up could make him a huge asset within this offense.

Late Round Target (6th-UDFA):

Philip Lutzenkirchen – Auburn

Quick and effective route runner. Finds the vacant windows. Great hands. Reliable underneath receiver that made the most out of his limited opportunities. Can be moved around. Strong in the trenches. Mobile blocker out of the backfield. Lacks speed past the 10 yard window. Recovering from a bad hip injury that needs to be investigated.

Lutzenkirchen is a guy that most will never hear about when looking for tight ends to draft, even late. I noticed him in 2011 when watching the Florida defense. He looked like another Chris Cooley type and I made it a point to check him out in 2012. Unfortunately he missed the second half of the season with a hip injury that needed surgery. He is still on his way towards recovery but will be fine by the summer. If the Giants want to wait until the end of day three or the free agency period to add another tight end body, Lutzenkirchen should be a top priority. He is a blue collar, versatile receiver that does all the little things well. He could save a roster spot or two with how much he can be moved around. He is a feisty, angry blocker with good hand strength and lower body power. He can catch and run with the ball. Similar athlete to the Giants’ new tight end Brandon Myers.

The Plan:

Ideally, the Giants depth chart at tight end has a receiver, a blocker, and a developmental player. No matter the case they want their guys to be versatile enough to do anything though. They currently have everything on this roster that they need, thus I don’t see the urgency here in bringing in anyone during the first half of the draft. Pascoe has been reliable, but he is the one guy that could be taken over by a late rounder if the value is right. There are a lot of guys in this class I’ve graded higher than what is out there. I’m confident the right mix of value and need can be had starting in round 6 so a fresh body can be brought in for competition and/or a safety valve should a couple injuries pop up.