Earlier this week Evan Budrovich of SB Nation's USC web site, 'Conquest Chronicles', joined us to offer a USC perspective on rookie linebacker Devon Kennard, a fifth-round pick by your New York Giants.
Evan is back with us today, this time offering us some insight into undrafted tight end Xavier Grimble, a player who seems to have both the Giants organization and the fan base intrigued. Here are
Ed: Why do you believe he went undrafted?
Evan: Grimble was an interesting draft prospect because of his overwhelming physical tools but also the lack of consistency that kept teams wondering what his ceiling was. Grimble played in a Lane-Kiffin system that flat out did a terrible job of utilizing the TE position in the passing game, leaving Grimble relatively low on the QB progression. I first felt that when he left early for the NFL Draft, he was making a mistake because Steve Sarkisian would bring a pass-happy TE look that could really showcase his talents. That said, the potential is still there and obviously teams like the Giants were willing to give Grimble an opportunity.
Ed: Is it accurate to describe him as a 'traditional' tight end?
Evan: Traditional as in a guy who can catch the football as an explosive and tall tight end that uses his body well to create separation over the middle of the field.
Ed: How good of a blocker is he?
Evan: That's probably the one area you can expect to see an instant impact from Grimble; he can protect the pocket on the outside. Grimble is a solid pass blocker who actually wants to put effort into improving that part of his game. By no means is he the best of all the rookie tight ends in this department but he's very good nonetheless, who can utilize a long reach (33 5/8) and strong hands at the line of scrimmage.
Ed: From what I see he looks like a guy who can catch the ball underneath and be a safety valve, but not a primary target. Is that accurate?
That is true, but also a product of the system he came from. He was a two-time honorable All-Pac-12 selection recording 69 catches for 731 yards and 11 touchdowns in his career. I definitely agree that he's not a projected Jason Witten or Vernon Davis type pass catcher but he could certainly add 3-4 catches per game down the road.
Ed: Looking at the Giants tight end situation -- two unproven guys and a veteran who is a blocker only -- can he make the team?
Evan: I'm glad you mentioned it because that's probably the biggest factor in his favor. Grimble never quite reached his potential for USC but I feel that this rare opportunity with an offense that actually knows how to utilize the tight end position could spark a roster spot this season.