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Position preview: Why are the Giants collecting tight ends?

Giants have added several players at this position

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

One of the interesting things about the re-construction of the New York Giants roster has been the team’s accumulation of tight ends.

There is, of course, 2017 first-round pick Evan Engram. There is veteran Rhett Ellison. There is also Jerell Adams, a physically gifted player entering his third season and still looking to maximize his skillset.

Yet, the Giants collected an alphabet soup of tight ends to supplement that trio, and maybe to supplant Adams. Kyle Carter, Scott Simonson, Ryan O’Malley and Garrett Dickerson have been added. Shoot, the Giants even list fullback Shane Smith as a tight end.

What’s up with all this?

Most likely, it has to do with the way in which the Giants seem prepared to run their offense in 2018. They seem to be leaning toward having two tight ends on the field a good percentage of the time.

Stands to reason that they may need more tight ends if the tight ends are going to play more. Carter, claimed on waivers from the Minnesota Vikings, could be a guy who has the pass-catching and movement skills to be a nice backup to Engram.

Simonson is an experienced blocking tight end. Perhaps he competes with O’Malley and Adams for a role behind Ellison.

Maybe the Giants keep five tight ends. Seems like a lot, but who knows?

This position, though, will be mostly about Engram.

The 2017 season was a good one for Engram, but could have been much better. We delved into in in depth earlier in the offseason, but drops on 14.7 percent of catchable passes and usage saw the 240-pounder inline far too often (535 of 776 snaps) after working from the slot in college makes you think there is a lot of room for improvement.

Engram recently told Dan Pizzuta that he is excited about the possibilities in the team’s new offense:

“Everybody’s everywhere. I could be outside, I could be in-line, I could be in the backfield, in the slot. I moved around a little bit last year, but this offense has a lot more moving around and it’s for everybody. It’s not just tight end. Odell can be in the slot and I can be outside of him or we can have a motion into the backfield. There’s so much unique stuff and everybody’s going to be coming from all different angles.”

“Getting downfield, I’m really excited to do that... use my speed and get out in the open. With all that talent going around, the defense will have to be honest. They’ll have to play man-up or a different type of zone. We’ll definitely get a lot of looks, but there’s going to be a lot of opportunities for a lot of people to get downfield and make some big plays, for sure.”

The Giants will use the combination of Engram, Odell Beckham, Saquon Barkley and Sterling Shepard to try to find mismatches. Engram should be the beneficiary in many instances.