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2018 NFL Draft: Top five tight ends

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The Giants probably won’t draft one of these guys, but let’s look anyway.

NCAA Football: Rose Bowl-Oklahoma vs Georgia Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants likely don’t need to add a tight end in the 2018 NFL Draft.

They signed Rhett Ellison on the first day of free agency in 2017, then hardly played him in-season until they didn’t have a choice. They drafted Evan Engram with the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft, and he proved to be a legitimate offensive weapon despite drops and not always being used to his strengths (ie: playing the vast majority of his snaps as an in-line tight end).

The Giants also have the big and athletic former 2016 sixth-round pick Jerell Adams, who has improved over his two years in the NFL.

However, for the picture of the 2018 draft to come in to focus, we have to take a look at the tight end position — even if the Giants (probably) aren’t going to draft one.

  1. Mark Andrews (Oklahoma) - At 6 feet, 5 inches, and 250 pounds (pre-combine estimates), Andrews has a prototypical build for a modern NFL tight end, as well as the athleticism to be a weapon in the passing game. He is a solid run blocker and was devastating attacking the middle of the field for Oklahoma.
  2. Hayden Hurst (South Carolina) - A former walk-on, Hurst worked his way to becoming one of the premier tight ends in the country, averaging nearly 13 yards per catch despite playing in an anemic offense. He is old for a rookie at 25 years old, but he spent two and a half years in the Pittsburgh Pirates minor league system before coming to South Carolina, so he is already an experienced pro athlete.
  3. Mike Gesicki (Penn State) - If Saquon Barkley wasn’t going to be moving the football for Penn State, it was either going to DaeSean Hamilton or Mike Gesicki. Like the tight ends above him on the list, Gesicki has a prototypical tight end’s build, and was the most productive tight end of all time at Penn State. He has room to improve as a blocker, but his long (34-inch) arms and soft hands, as well as smooth athleticism make him a match-up problem in the passing game.
  4. Dallas Goedert (South Dakota State) - Goedert has a real chance to rise up this list over the course of the draft process. He has all the size and athleticism the NFL looks for, and dominated the FCS level. Over the last two seasons he has had 164 receptions for 2,404 yards, 13 games of 100+ yards receiving, and 18 touchdowns. He should have no problem showing he belongs among FBS prospects.
  5. Dalton Shultz (Stanford) - Shultz is more of a “hybrid” tight end than the other tight ends on this list. He is smaller at 240 pounds, but is also an explosive athlete and a nuanced route runner. Shultz didn’t produce much in Stanford’s run-based offense, but will likely raise his stock at the NFL Scouting Combine. Like Evan Engram, Shultz can have an immediate impact in the NFL if he lands in an offense that caters to his strength as a pass catcher.