Throughout the process leading up to the 2014 NFL Draft, fans and experts were positive that the New York Giants would use their first-round pick to select a tight end. The only question was if it would be Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Eric Ebron, or Jace Amaro.
And a hotly-debated question it was... Everywhere except for the Giants' war room. Instead, they opted to bypass the tight end position completely in the 2014 draft and go into the season with Larry Donnell, Adrian Robinson, and Daniel Fells.
That decision worked out alright as they combined to perform solidly. They all had their issues, however. Donnell has terrific hands, but his ball security after the catch proved troublesome, and he has yet to develop as a blocker. Adrian Robinson is a stout blocker, but is still developing as a pass catcher. Daniel Fells was reliable, but nothing more.
The 2015 draft class doesn't yet have the big name tight ends like the 2014 class had, but they do have several intriguing options. One of those is Penn State tight end Jesse James.
- Huge, no, Ginormous frame. Looks every centimeter of his listed 6-foot-7, 260 pounds.
- Athletic for a big TE
- Uses his frame and catch radius well
- Generally reliable hands, makes catches in traffic
- Lined up inline and in the slot
- Very tough to bring down in the open field
- Shares a name with a gunslinger and motorcycle builder (Hey, to me that's a definite "Pro")
- Shows power when blocking, but needs to work on technique
- Athletic for his size, but not in absolute terms. Lacks long speed
- Generally solid hands, but he occasionally suffers some concentration drops.
Does He Fit With The Giants?
That depends on how the Giants view the TEs currently on their roster. James would undoubtedly be an asset, but the question is if the Giants think he is an upgrade over who they have there already. Also, he might be limited in McAdoo's scheme, which asks tight ends to line up as H-backs. James' height makes him poorly suited for lead blocking out of the backfield.
He can definitely attack the middle of the field, be a safety blanket, and be an awesome target for Eli to throw up all the back corner fades.
Big Board Rankings
Big Blue View - 95
Mocking The Draft - 95
CBS Sports - 108
Draft Countdown - (not ranked)
Draft Tek - (Not ranked)
Like so many prospects, James' draft stock is going to be heavily influenced by the Combine. If he tests well, he could shoot up boards as teams envision him as another Rob Gronkowski. If he doesn't, he could slide to the third or fourth round. His frame and hands will get him drafted, though.
Jerry Reese made a point of saying that the Giants aren't putting all their eggs in Victor Cruz's basket. Getting a guy like James could give them the option of having another receiving threat defenses will have to account for, without directly adding another wide receiver. Also, the contrast between the massive James and hyper-athletic Odell Beckham could be difficult for defenses to deal with.