Wednesday, February 5, 2014
Big Blue Morning: Tight end solutions
By Dan Graziano ESPN.com
So New York Giants safety Antrel Rolle watched the Super Bowl with his buddy, Packers tight end Jermichael Finley, and said Tuesday night that he's trying to convince Finley to join the Giants. Certainly, a peak-condition Finley would be a fun weapon for the Giants to add, but it's important to note Finley is coming off a severe neck injury and spinal fusion surgery and is no sure bet to be cleared by doctors to play again. He has said he expects to be cleared by his own doctors for contact in the coming weeks, but that doesn't mean the Packers, the Giants or any other team will pass him on a physical and sign him to a contract. So Finley remains a question mark, for the Giants and in general.
But with tight end Brandon Myers almost certain to be cut and not be missed, the Giants are looking for answers at that position. And if Finley does pass the medical tests, he'd potentially be a strong solution -- especially given his history with new Giants offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo, who came from Green Bay. But why not take this opportunity to look at some other possibilities for the Giants at tight end? All it is is snow and ice out there, so it's not like we can go anywhere.
Finley is but one of many intriguing candidates who fall in the talented-but-flawed category. Detroit's 6-foot-5, 265-pound Brandon Pettigrew is a former first-round pick who hasn't developed the way the Lions would have hoped and might could stand a change of scenery. Baltimore's Dennis Pitta, if the Ravens let him go, is coming off a major hip injury but is a reliable receiver with a Super Bowl ring. Guys like Fred Davis and Dustin Keller have had some success in the league but come with other question marks. And sorry, but there's no way the Saints are letting Jimmy Graham reach free agency. Cross him off your wish lists.
In 2002, the Giants used the No. 14 pick in the draft on talented, dynamic tight end Jeremy Shockey. And while we all remember the ugly end to Shockey's Giants career, he was a very good player for them for a while. Could they repeat themselves 14 years later and use the No. 12 pick in the draft on North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron? And if they don't, would they take someone like Texas Tech's Jace Amaro or Washington's huge Austin Seferian-Jenkins in the second? It would not be an out-of-character move for the Giants to try to find a dynamic weapon for Eli Manning with an early pick. He could certainly use a few.
The current roster
Bear Pascoe is a free agent himself and not the answer as a receiver. Larry Donnell's basically a special teamer. So the intriguing guy in the mix here is Adrien Robinson, the fourth-round pick in the 2012 draft who has participated in only three games in the first two years of his professional career. The Giants drafted Robinson as a project because they liked his size and talent, but they knew there was a risk he might never develop. Injuries kept him out of the lineup all through 2013 until the Week 16 game in Detroit, when he was active for the first time all year but injured himself on the opening kickoff and didn't play again. If the Giants have something in Robinson, there's been no way so far for them to find out. They obviously can't count on him as their starter going into 2014.