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Can Giants’ TE Rhett Ellison build off individual success he had in 2017?

Ellison is coming off most productive season of his career

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants
Rhett Ellison celebrates a touchdown.
Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

After a better-than-expected individual season in an awful year for the New York Giants as a team, where does tight end Rhett Ellison fit in the team’s 2018 plans?

Let’s examine the question as we continue our look at the 90-man roster the Giants will bring to training camp.

The basics

Age: 29
Experience: 6
PositionL Tight end
Height: 6-foot-5
Weight: 250

2017 season in review

Ellison finished with career highs in receptions (24), targets (32), yards receiving (235) and touchdowns (2). As the receiving options for Eli Manning dwindled due to injuries last season, Ellison became a reliable target.

Ellison had only caught four passes in a game once in five seasons prior to coming to the Giants. He did that twice over New York’s final four games, and established . acareer high with five catches in the 2017 season finale.

Ellison ended up playing 538 snaps, or 49.7 percent of the Giants’ offensive plays.

2018 outlook

That is a good question. Coming off his best season, and having proven reliable as a blocker and a short-area possession receiver, it would be logical to assume Ellison would be in line for a bigger role in the upcoming season.

But ... but .... but ... there are a lot of buts.

  • Ellison WAS in Minnesota when Pat Shurmur was offensive coordinator, BUT played just 258 snaps in 2016 with Shurmur calling the plays after taking over from Norv Turner midseason. How does Shurmur really view Ellison’s skillset? We will find out.
  • Ellison would appear to be the No. 2 tight end, BUT the Giants did bring in Kyle Carter from the Minnesota Vikings and still have Jerell Adams.
  • There is a theory that the Giants might use Evan Engram split away from the line of scrimmage more, opening more snaps for an inline tight end like Ellison, BUT we don’t know that for sure.

Ellison most likely ends up as the team’s primary blocking tight end while also functioning as a security blanket for Manning. Still, there are no guarantees.