Tight end is one of the few positions at which the Giants are pretty well set. As it stands now, it is a position at which they have talent, depth, and versatility.
The biggest question with regards to the tight end position is whether or not Rhett Ellison will be a part of it in 2020. He is as good a number two tight end as you could ask for, but releasing him would net the Giants’ $5 million in cap space. Even if the Giants choose to release Ellison, the emergence of Kaden Smith afrer bieng claimed via waivers gives them solid depth at the position. Smith isn’t as dangerous as Engram, but he showed solid blocking ability, good route running, reliable hands, and a nose for the end zone.
But if the Giants aren’t happy with their other tight ends (Garrett Dickerson, C.J. Conrad, and Scott Simonson), or Rhett Ellison’s contract, they could look to the 2020 NFL Draft to add to their tight end unit.
This isn’t a great draft class for tight ends, but there are some mid or later-round prospects who could help the team.
Cole Kmet (Notre Dame)
I have to admit, what caught my eye about Kmet wasn’t his 6-foot-5, 260-pound build, or his Notre Dame pedigree, but the fact that he is a two-sport athlete. But where you would expect a two-sport tight end to be a basketball player in the off-season (a la Jimmy Graham or the now-retired Antonio Gates), Kmet is a baseball player as well as a football player — and a pitcher at that.
Kmet only made football his primary focus in 2019, but he has the raw tools to be a solid tight end in the traditional mold. He might not be a dynamic receiving threat or a dominating blocker (yet), but he can get the job done in both areas. And perhaps a sneaky offensive mind could make us of his pitching background and catch a defense by surprise...
Adam Trautman (Dayton)
Another two-sport athlete, but this time Trautman’s second sport IS basketball, and he is the kind of dynamic athlete you expect from a TE with a basketball background.
Trautman is a small-school prospect (Joe DeLeone brought him to my attention), but he looks like some offensive coordinator ordered him from a catalog at 6-foot-6, 260 pounds, and the kind of athleticism and twitch you seldom see from players with his frame. He is going to be a name to watch over the coming weeks and months.
Colby Parkinson (Stanford)
If you’re looking for a red-zone threat, Stanford’s Colby Parkinson stands out in a crowd — Being 6-foot-7 and 250 pounds makes it tough to blend in. Parkinson was not often used in-line for Stanford, but was instead moved around the offensive formation and his massive catch radius and good ball skills proved to be assets. And despite only getting five touchdowns the two years combined, Parkinson did put up an average of 14.5 yards per catch.
In the run game he was primarily used as a perimeter blocker, as his height (and pad level) worked against him in-line. He does have room to grow there, and that will only help his versatility at the NFL level.
Jared Pinkney (Vanderbilt)
If the Giants are looking for more of a blocking tight end, Pinkney could appeal. He is stockier than some of the other tight ends in the class at 6-foot-4, 260 pounds, but that just gives him natural leverage and power at the point of attack. He is still a good receiver in the middle of the field and has some upside attacking seams and making the tough catches.
Jacob Breeland (Oregon)
Breeland is coming off of a season-ending leg injury, and that could impact his draft stock. He also isn’t the kind of athletic tight end who gets drafted highly, but his physical play and decent long speed made him a threat in the middle and down the field for the Ducks. Breeland shows soft hands and should be a reliable target at the next level.
Oregon used him both as both an in-line tight end and flexed out, and he played well in the run game from both positions. Breeland doesn’t have the raw power to be a dominant blocker in-line, but he does have the ability to compete. He is a willing blocker in space and at the second level, which can be crucial for turning good plays into big plays.