For most of the last decade the New York Giants have relied on developing under-the-radar players to supply their offense with tight ends.
They last drafted one highly in 2009 when they selected Travis Beckum in the third round, but the Giants’ offense wasn’t yet able to incorporate an athletic “hybrid” tight end, and he largely languished before having his career cut short by a knee injury in the Super Bowl.
Other than Beckum, they have relied on late draft picks and undrafted free agents (and a season of Martellus Bennett) to fill out their tight end depth chart since parting ways with Jeremy Shockey. 2016 very well could be the year that the trend is finally broken, but that also might not preclude them from double-dipping at the position and taking a developmental prospect later in the draft as well.
Drake’s Eric Saubert is a small-school product with tantalizing athletic ability. Could he create competition at the back end of the roster?
Height - 6 feet, 5 inches
Weight - 250 pounds
40 Time - 4.72 (projected)
- Athletic tight end with almost prototypical size. He has the tools to be a movable piece and a match-up nightmare at the next level.
- Has the speed to out-run linebackers, threaten seams, and stretch the defense down the middle of the field.
- Appears to be a “hands” catcher -- at least most of the time.
- Surprisingly quick in short areas, and appears to have an “extra gear” with open field in front of him.
- Played all over the offensive formation: In-line, in the backfield, and split out.
- Played a much lower level of competition.
- Did not appear to be used as a blocker.
- Route running looks sloppy. Has the quickness to make breaks sharper, but they appear rounded unless a defender is right on him.
Does He Fit With The Giants?
Saubert isn’t an “answer” at tight end, but the Giants have long held a pipeline of developmental tight ends on the practice squad and back end of their roster. Players like Kevin Boss, Jake Ballard, Larry Donnell, and now Will Tye and Jerell Adams have all come from through that pipeline.
If possible, they absolutely should invest a “premium” resource in upgrading the tight end position, but keeping developmental talent in reserve isn’t a bad idea. A player like Saubert could be a low-risk, high-reward option later in the draft or as a potential undrafted free agent. He might not pay off right away, but if his his raw tools can be developed, he could turn into a steal.
Big Board Rankings
Big Blue View - Not in Top 100
Mocking The Draft - N/A
CBS Sports - 211th overall
Draft Countdown - Not in Top 100
Draft Tek - Not in Top 300
Rather than my own thoughts, I thought I would leave you with the observations of Tony Pauline of DraftAnalyst.com. My access to tape of Saubert (and other prospects like him) is extremely limited while others like Pauline have greater access, and he got to see Saubert in person at the East-West Shrine Game.
“Revert back to my Shrine Week preview when I highlighted Saubert as I player I was anticipating watching. He did not disappoint but I didn’t expect him to based off his junior and senior film. His build, speed and pass catching ability remind me of former Northeastern tight end Brian Mandeville (there’s a name for you) and his blocking wasn’t too shabby. Saubert not only did everything scouts asked of him, he offered more. He was effective catching the ball as an in-line tight end or when lined up in the slot. He made acrobatic receptions downfield and just as regularly won out during battles in the flat. I got the idea by late Wednesday coaches were concocting ways to line him up everywhere on the field. I firmly believe Saubert is the type of player the Shrine Game will fondly look back on as one of their own two years down the road.”