The tight end job for the New York Giants is wide open, as evidenced by the constant rotation of players during recetly-concluded OTAs and now the team's ongoing mandatory mini-camp. One of the often overlooked players in the competition is Larry Donnell, a 25-year-old who came to the Giants in 2012 as an undrafted free agent from Grambling. Let's look at Donnell as we continue player-by-player profiles of the 90-man roster the Giants will bring to training camp on July 21.
2013 Season In Review
After spending the 2012 season on the Giants' practice squad, Donnell took advantage of the injuries sustained by Adrien Robinson to move up the depth chart to the No. 3 tight end spot. Donnell was active for all 16 games, starting one, with three receptions for 31 yards. He played only 107 snaps, but in terms of on-field exposure that puts him far ahead of Robinson, who has played two snaps in two seasons.
2014 Season Outlook
Donnell is in the mix with Robinson, Kellen Davis, Daniel Fells and Xavier Grimble. The attention seems to focus largely on Robinson and the undrafted free agent Grimble, along with the notion that perhaps the Giants are not done adding tight ends to the roster. Donnell is unfazed by the lack of attention.
"It's cool. When I was a rookie it was the same thing, no different. When I got here nobody talked about me," Donnell said after Tuesday's mini-camp practice. "I'm fine with it. Everybody's getting an opportunity. That's all you can ask for."
Donnell is a former quarterback who only played the tight end position for two seasons at Grambling. The Giants have always seemed to like the 6-foot-5, 270-pound Donnell's size, strength and athleticism.
Donnell believes he can win the job, saying "that's everybody's mindset."
"Go out and make some plays and we'll see what happens," Donnell said.
If the tight end race were to be handicapped right now, Robinson would appear to be a heavy favorite to be part of the mix somehow. Davis would appear to be most likely to earn the blocking tight end role, with Fells seeming to face fairly long odds of taking that job from him. Donnell and Grimble would then be competing for a spot, with the possibility that Grimble could end up starting the season on the practice squad.
Unless, of course, the Giants are not done adding veteran tight ends to the mix.