- Dan Graziano, ESPN Staff Writer
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Football Outsiders has a post up about the biggest remaining holes for each NFC East team. It's an Insider post, but you know how I get a kick out of it when Outsiders posts are Insider. Plus, not a lot going on, so I figured we'd use it to spark a discussion.
To no one's surprise, for the New York Giants, they picked tight end. Scott Kacsmar notes the Giants' offense has relied on its wide receivers in the past and the investment they've made in that position makes it likely they'll do so again under new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo. But there's no denying tight end is a position they have failed to address in a significant way:
Where the depth chart is not as bountiful is at tight end, with Kellen Davis, Larry Donnell, Daniel Fells and Adrien Robinson on the roster. They have a combined 145 catches in the NFL and are all better suited to be backups. Manning has done some good things in the past with unheralded tight ends such as Jake Ballard and Kevin Boss, but this might be the barest the cupboard has been in his tenure. It also will be the fifth year in a row the Giants will have a new leading receiver at tight end.
It will indeed, and that's not because of luck or circumstance but rather because of economics. As we've discussed here many times, in the salary-cap era, teams have to make decisions about which positions merit the spending of major resources. This pertains especially to teams whose starting quarterback eats up 16 or 17 percent of their salary cap, as Eli Manning does with the Giants. The tight end position is one at which the Giants have perennially decided to seek cheap solutions, so unless they fall into some kind of super-low-cost deal with Jermichael Finley or Dustin Keller (each of whom comes with major medical concerns that would have to be addressed first, by the way), it looks as though Robinson or maybe Donnell will get his chance.
I think, assuming all else goes according to plan, I agree with tight end as the Giants' biggest roster hole. It's the one spot at which they lack anyone with any reasonable NFL experience. But I think it's worth pointing out that, if things don't go as planned, positions such as center, right guard, left tackle, defensive end, defensive tackle, linebacker and even wide receiver could end up being where the Giants have their biggest holes. As of now, analysis like this assumes Weston Richburg or J.D. Walton emerges, Chris Snee stays healthy, Will Beatty bounces back, Damontre Moore or Robert Ayers makes a leap as a pass-rusher, Johnathan Hankins is ready to be a 16-game starter, they have two starters to go with Jon Beason at linebacker and Rueben Randle and rookie Odell Beckham Jr., are able to be major contributors on the outside. Lot of assumptions there. I think it's going to be interesting to find out where the holes are that we don't currently see, and how quickly and deftly the Giants are able to fill those.