The New York Giants need to improve several facets of their offense. They need to improve their blocking up front, both to give Eli Manning the time to find his receivers and to open holes in the running game. They need to find another threat in the passing game to force defenses out of the 2-Man coverage that the offense saw nearly every snap. They also need a reliable outlet and red zone option for Manning.
While an offensive lineman and bigger-bodied wide receiver are ways to address those concerns, and should certainly be considered, upgrading the tight end position might be the most cost effective way to address all of them with one player.
The 2017 draft is deep at tight end, and much attention is being paid to players like O.J. Howard and David Njoku, but Toledo’s Michael Roberts has quietly made some waves so far in the draft process.
Could he be an under-the-radar option to continue building the Giants’ offense?
Height - 6 feet, 4 inches
Weight - 261 pounds
40 Time - 4.93 (projected)
- Big framed tight end, has the potential to be a true “two-way” tight end at the next level.
- Good short-area quickness for a bigger tight end.
- Big frame, long arms, and enormous 11 ⅝-inch hands give him a big catch radius.
- Played all over Toledo’s offensive front: In-line, in the backfield, and in the slot.
- Willing blocker who has the potential to be a difference-maker in the running game or staying home in pass protection.
- Consistently produced clutch catches for Toledo. 80 percent of his career catches resulted in first downs, 35 percent in were touchdowns -- 16 -- in 2016 (numbers via NFL.com).
- Played well against a higher level of competition at the Senior Bowl.
- Much of his tape is against a lower level of competition which he could physically dominate. That won’t be the case at the next level.
- Routes are rounded and he could struggle to separate or get off the line at the next level. Needs coaching on the finer points of being a receiver
- Despite his quickness and power, he doesn’t appear to be a dynamic athlete.
- Is a willing and occasionally powerful blocker, but he needs to work on being a more consistent one. Will miss blocks, or not sustain them.
Does He Fit With The Giants?
It’s no secret that the Giants need to improve their tight end position. Roberts likely wouldn’t do that right off the bat, and that kind of instant upgrade and legitimate threat is what the Giants need.
That being said, it doesn’t mean he doesn’t fit. They also need competition, and even if they draft a tight end some time in the first two days of the draft, it might not preclude them from taking Roberts later. He has the tools to develop into a solid all-around tight end, and if he proves to be a better option than Will Tye, Jerell Adams, or Matt LaCosse, Roberts might not be a bad developmental back-up plan.
It’s also worth noting that Roberts has absolutely ginormous mitts, a trait the Giants have consistently sought in their pass catchers.
Big Board Rankings
Big Blue View - Not in Top 100
Mocking The Draft - N/A
CBS Sports - 205th overall
Draft Countdown - Not in Top 100
Draft Tek - 198th overall
The 2017 tight end class is a deep one, with at least four prospects who could hear their names called in the first two rounds.
But as always happens, there are plenty of under the radar prospects who could intrigue. Michael Roberts isn’t likely to be the solution to the Giants’ tight end woes, but his raw physical tools might be enough to intrigue them (or another team). So far Roberts has risen to the challenges of the draft process, and he could be an interesting young player to follow.