It has been a long time since the New York Giants and Eli Manning have had a dynamic tight end. With the exception of Martellus Bennett (who played through an injury), they have been making due with late round picks or undrafted free agents since Jeremy Shockey broke his leg in 2007.
Kevin Boss, Bear Pascoe, Jake Ballard, Adrian Robinson, Larry Donnell, and Will Tye hardly make for an inspiring list, though a combination of scheme and Eli Manning made most of them look like potential answers for a time.
*Note: Travis Beckum would have fit right in with the match-up nightmares of today, but he never fit in Kevin Gilbride’s scheme, and only seemed to be coming into his own before a career ending injury in Super Bowl 46.
A decade later, the 2017 NFL Draft has provided us with a class of tight ends that some are calling “generational”, and it might just be time for the Giants to invest in the position.
Miami’s David Njoku has become one of the players most commonly linked to the Giants throughout the draft process. They seem to have an interest and he fits a need, so let’s take a closer look.
- Rare athlete with enough speed, good agility, and rare explosiveness.
- NFL frame with the room to add mass as he matures.
- Long arms, big hands, and leaping ability give him a big catch radius.
- Good balance to keep his feet with the ball in his hands.
- Competitive blocker in-line or in space.
- Played all over the Miami formation and has match-up nightmare potential at the next level.
- Blocking is a work in progress. Will improve with maturation and coaching.
- Limited experience at tight end.
- Needs to hone his craft as a receiver, route running in particular.
Does He Fit With The Giants?
He needs some coaching and time to mature both physically and as a player, but Njoku fits what the Giants want from their tight ends.
He is far from a finished product right now, and has only started nine (9) games in his collegiate career. However, the upside is obvious. He has an NFL frame and is already impressive physically, but a year in an NFL strength and conditioning program and a year of physical maturity could make a monster out of him.
At this point Njoku is a mismatch as a receiver, too big and strong for defensive backs and too athletic for linebackers. As a blocker he will need to add some lower-body strength and work on his angles and technique, but assuming he is willing to work at it, it should come naturally.
Big Board Rankings
Big Blue View - 19th overall
CBS Sports - 20th overall
Draft Countdown - 12th overall
Draft Tek - 25th overall
David Njoku has the potential to be a special player in the NFL, and it’s a testament to just how good this tight end class is that he is just one of several about whom that could be said.
He will likely step in and have an impact year one, but he will also take a year or two to reach his full potential. Does that make him more or less likely to be a New York Giant? At this point it isn’t even a sure thing that he will even be available for them to pick.
Given a relatively flat wide receiver class, teams looking for passing game help could look to this incredibly athletic tight end class and Njoku could be long gone before the Giants pick.