Sunday, May 11, 2014
No, the Giants did not draft a tight end
By Dan Graziano
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- A couple of weeks ago, we went over the reasons why New York Giants GM Jerry Reese didn't feel it was important to get a tight end in this year's draft. The popular perception that the Giants' offense has relied on its tight end as a pass-catcher during the Tom Coughlin/Eli Manning era simply isn't supported by facts. And while the list of tight ends currently on the roster isn't inspiring, the Giants are of the belief that someone will emerge who can catch the 42 passes a year their top tight end usually catches.
So no, they didn't take a tight end in the early rounds of this year's draft. And they didn't take one in the later rounds. And even if they had taken one in the later rounds, it wouldn't have addressed the perceived problem, because whoever they drafted wouldn't have been more qualified to start than, for example, Adrien Robinson, who was a fourth-round pick in 2012 and hasn't really seen the field yet. Why would a tight end drafted Saturday be better qualified to play than Robinson, a former mid-round pick who's been in the NFL and the Giants' building for two years already?
"We weren't going to force any players or overvalue anybody just because people may think we need a tight end," Giants VP of player evaluation Marc Ross said. "That's just not the way we operate."
Which isn't to say that everyone in the building feels great about the tight end situation. Giants coach Tom Coughlin echoed the sentiment that there weren't any tight ends worth taking at the spots where the Giants were picking. But he also acknowledged that he's not fully comfortable with the options on the current roster.
"Yeah, it's a concern," Coughlin said. "It's a concern in a lot of ways. But as has been said, we've got a couple of young guys here that ... Fellas, if you can't see your way to the field now..."
He's talking about Robinson, whose opportunity has never been better, and to a lesser extent Larry Donnell, who distinguished himself as a special-teamer in 2013 and could earn more opportunity as a result. The other two tight ends already on the roster were Daniel Fells and Kellen Davis, and reports Saturday night indicated that they'd added undrafted free agent Xavier Grimble from USC.
From that group, anyone could emerge. The Giants also could still add someone. Familiar names such as Dustin Keller and Jermichael Finley remain on the market, but they remain there due to medical concerns that might not be resolved to the Giants' or any other teams' satisfaction. If the Giants had their preference, Robinson would make a big leap this offseason and cash in on the promise they saw in him when they picked him in the fourth round two years ago.
"Adrien is very sharp and is able to count," Coughlin said. "He's on the field with four guys. And he's handled everything very well to this point. Very well."
The Giants will keep tinkering to make sure they get tight end right, as they will continue to do with every position on their roster. But they're not about to do anything drastic here. They just don't think it's as big a problem as a lot of people outside their building seem to think it is.