On the one hand, they can use every ounce of extra blocking they can get to help out a perpetually-rebuilding offensive line, and the two tight end package has a number of advantages. Not only is it a very efficient package, able to dictate and exploit a number of match-up problems, it would help to cover up a receiving depth chart that appears to be very shaky at the moment.
But on the other hand, the Giants didn’t really use their tight ends as well as they could have in 2018, and the position seems set at the moment with Evan Engram and Rhett Ellison at the top of the depth chart, and a newly extended Scott Simonson backing them up.
However, they could find themselves with an opening by the draft if GM Dave Gettleman decides that despite his playmaking ability and not blowing a block in 2018, hybrid TE Evan Engram isn’t a fit for his team concept, or that the team needs the cap space which could be freed up by cutting Rhett Ellison.
In either scenario, the team could find themselves looking to add a tight end, and Georgia’s Isaac Nauta should be on their radar.
- Good frame for the position. Solid blend of strength and athleticism.
- Excellent run and pass blocker. Good technique unlocks power.
- Sudden off the line of scrimmage out of a three or two point stance.
- Versatile. Lined up at wide receiver, slot receiver, detached and in-line tight end, and in the backfield.
- Savvy route runner. Varies tempo and sells fakes to help create separation.
- Enough speed to attack the seam.
- Not a consistent “hands” catcher. Will let the ball into his body and has the occasional drop.
- Some lower-body tightness forces him to round off breaks at the top of some routes.
- Wasn’t a feature of Georgia’s offense
- Might be considered “undersized” by some teams.
What They’re Saying
A former five-star recruit, Nauta started fast at Georgia, but the offense never evolved as it should have, which limited his impact as a receiver in the Bulldogs offense. Blessed with good speed and terrific hands, Nauta can make plays vertically and is a bull after the catch, but doesn’t have ideal separation ability as a route runner against sticky man coverage defenders.
Nevertheless, blockers like Nauta don’t come along at the position often, making him a high floor prospect with little downside as a mid-late day two pick. He’ll contribute as a rookie, the only question is how dynamic a receiving option Nauta can become over time.
- Jon Ledyard (The Draft Network - Scouting Report)
Does He Fit The Giants?
If the Giants have an opening at tight end, then Nauta would be a solid fit for them. His versatility to move around the offensive front would play well in the Giants’ match-up heavy scheme, with his (usually) reliable hands making him a nice safety blanket while his blocking would be a welcome addition.
While Nauta is a smart route runner, showing an understanding of coverages and how to manipulate defenders to expand windows, his route running is a bit limited. He is a good linear athlete, but he shows some tightness when he has to make cuts or breaks. And given how the Giants used their tight ends for much of the season, with shallow crossing routes making up the vast majority of their targets, the team would need to adjust how they use the position for Nauta.
But while they would need to change their usage in the passing game to add more of a vertical element for their tight ends, it would be worth it to have Nauta’s blocking on the field. He is probably one of the three best blocking tight ends in the draft, driving defenders back in the run game and stonewalling them in pass protection. Nauta’s technique is solid from the ground up, exploding out of his stance with a wide base and low hips to maximize his leverage and power, while using good hand placement to get control and arm extension to create separation and keep defenders away from his chest.
Tight end might be looked at as a “luxury” for the Giants, but Nauta has a strong argument. The Giants can use player who can improve their blocking at the first and second levels, as well as improve their ability to attack the kind of coverages teams have to run to try and account for Odell Beckham Jr. and Saquon Barkley.
If the Giants find themselves with an opening at tight end (or create one), or Nauta somehow falls to the fourth round, they should think long and hard about selecting him.