Alabama’s O.J. Howard and Miami’s David Njoku are widely considered to be primary targets for the New York Giants with the 23rd overall pick in the upcoming 2017 NFL Draft. What if both players are gone, or — egads! — the Giants pass on selecting them?
What would the Giants then do about tight end, along with tackle considered to be one of the need areas on the offense?
During a conference call on Wednesday, NFL.com draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah dropped two names as potential Day 2 targets — Adam Shaheen of Ashland and Jake Butt of Michigan.
“Guys that can do everything as inline tight ends, everybody laughs when we do this on the show, I bring this guy up every day because he's one of my favorite players, Adam Shaheen from a small school at Ashland. He's 6'6" and a half, almost 280 pounds, ran in the 4.7s. He's very athletic. He has not got it all figured out as a blocker, but the effort is there, you look at the size he has. I think he can really develop as an inline blocker. He could be a second round option there,” Jeremiah said.
“Jake Butt, who's injured, coming from Michigan, it's going to be fascinating to see where he goes. He's somebody that plays with his hand in the ground, big guy, 6'5" and a half, 250 pounds, can do the blocking stuff you want him to do, but also is a good option route guy from a tight end standpoint.”
In his Shaheen prospect profile, Chris wrote:
A player with Shaheen’s tools would fit with the Giants.
Whether or not that player is Shaheen is another matter. He has elite size and very good athleticism at that size, is able to play in-line, in the slot, or split out wide. On the field he showed generally reliable hands and tenacious blocking in-line and at the second level. All of those things the Giants could absolutely use.
The question has to be asked, however, how he will handle moving up from D-II Ashland to the NFL. In college he enjoyed a massive size and athleticism advantage. He routinely lined up across from edge rushers or linebackers that he out-weighed by 30 to 50 pounds, but was still a more dynamic athlete. He will not enjoy that advantage as a professional.
That isn’t to say that he can’t make the leap -- far from it. However, his adjustment to the size, speed, complexity, and athleticism of the NFL has to be a question the Giants need to ask.
Butt saw his draft stock plummet when he suffered a torn ACL in Michigan’s season-ending bowl game.
In his Butt prospect profile, Chris wrote:
Before his injury I had Butt as my top tight end. He might not have been as athletic as some of the other tight ends in this class, but he is obviously well-coached in a pro-style system. That alone has value because he could contribute immediately on Day 1. But beyond that, his game reminds me of nobody so much as Jason Witten, and after watching that smart but boring tight end carve a Hall of Fame career out of linebacking corps league-wide (and especially the Giants), I couldn’t have Butt any less than my top tight end. He is pro-ready and would show up every Sunday for years.
Until his injury.
He might still come back and play at a pro-bowl level and have a HOF career of his own, but after the Giants spent three years as the NFL’s “Injury Dynasty,” a player coming off a torn ACL just four months before the draft gives me major pause.
Your thoughts, Giants fans? If the Giants don’t get a tight end in Round 1, would you be happy to see the Giants select one of these two players later in the draft?