Are the New York Giants set at tight end?
It’s a question we have been asking for a while now and at first blush they do appear to be solid at the position. Evan Engram looks to be in line for an expanded role in the Giants revamped offense. Rhett Ellison is entrenched as the 1b and primary blocking tight end, and the Giants re-signed Scott Simonson.
However, an undersized “hybrid” tight end might not fit Dave Gettleman’s idea of a proper direction for a football team. Meanwhile, Ellison is very highly paid for a blocking tight end and Scott Simonson shouldn’t preclude the Giants from making any moves at the position.
So there is the possibility that the position is not nearly as solid as it may appear, and the Giants could move to add a tight end in the draft. Assuming that the Giants are, in fact, comfortable with hybrid tight ends, could they look at Noah Fant out of Iowa to supplement their passing game with another hyper-athletic matchup nightmare?
- Elite athlete for the position.
- Versatile match-up nightmare.
- Able to play from a variety of alignments.
- Ran a diverse set of routes.
- Uses his size to his advantage against smaller defensive backs.
- Adjusts well to off-target passes.
- Willing blocker with generally good technique.
- Frequently a beat or two late out of his stance -- sometimes the last player moving.
- Can round routes off.
- Needs to sustain blocks better.
- Occasionally shows some lapses in concentration.
What They’re Saying
For a team in search of that x-factor weapon in the passing game that presents a size-speed mismatch for defenses, they would be well served by investing in Fant. Not only does Fant have exciting acceleration and burst, but his outstanding ball skills and hands make him a dynamic playmaking threat. For a player of his athletic profile, there is technical work needed as a route runner that can be developed to make him even more effective. Additionally, his upside as an in-line blocker is only modest but he does find success on the move hitting blocks. Fant has the upside to be a highly productive receiving tight end that profiles perfectly to today’s NFL.
- Joe Marino (The Draft Network - Scouting Report)
Does He Fit The Giants?
Fant does fit the Giants’ offense, and we can say that with a high degree of certainty because they already have a very similar player in Evan Engram, who is in line for an expanded role.
Fant is a bit bigger than Engram, but the two occupy the same role in an offense as match-up nightmare “move” tight ends. Both players are capable of lining up anywhere in an offensive formation, from fullback to wide receiver, and helping to dictate coverage match-ups for the whole offense. They also have a similar blend of size and athleticism to make them nightmares for any defender tasked with covering them. Both players use their explosive athleticism to not only separate at all areas of the field, but also to rack up yards after the catch. Likewise, while both players are frequently in-line and are willing blockers, neither is particularly impressive there and do their best work in space and at the second level.
Fant is not yet a finished product and has some work to do to reach his potential -- as is the case for most rookies -- but he should be able to produce from moment he steps on the field. The question for the Giants is if they want to double-down on hybrid tight ends. It is an unorthodox strategy, but considering their top receivers are both smaller players who excel in the slot, having the tight end position add both size and athletic mismatches could present intriguing opportunities.
Of course, if the Giants are set on a “traditional” brand of offense, they probably aren’t thrilled with inheriting even one hybrid tight end.