As it stands now, it is expected that the New York Giants will move on from tight end Rhett Ellison as they get ready for free agency. Ellison is a fine tight end who is a capable blocker and receiver, but moving on could free up enough money under the salary cap to outweigh what Ellison is able to bring on the field.
But moving on from Ellison might open another hole in the Giants roster. The Giants have a dangerous weapon at the position in Evan Engram and Kaden Smith emerged as one of the few bright spots on the Giants’ roster last year. But we have seen all too well how even deep positions can be quickly depleted. So if the Giants aren’t sold on their depth at tight end — C.J. Conrad and Garrett Dickerson — they could look to the draft to add a low-cost option.
Vanderbilt tight end Jared Pinkney might not be spectacular, but he has the potential to be a “complete” tight end and potentially fill a similar role as Ellison.
Prospect: Jared Pinkney (TE, Vanderbilt)
Games Watched: vs. Notre Dame (2018), vs. Arkansas (2018), vs. Georgia (2018)
Red Flags: Medical red shirt (2016), wrist injury (2019)
Games Played: 49 (39 starts)
Yards: 1,560 yards
Receptions (ypc): 114 receptions (13.7 yards per catch)
Best: Size, Frame, Competitive Toughness, Run Blocking
Projection: A number two tight end in an offense which uses 12-personnel
Vanderbilt tight end Jared Pinkney has a good frame for an NFL tight end, with a good combination of height and thickness. He is capable of playing out of multiple spots, lining up as an in-line and detached tight end, as well as a slot and receiver in Vanderbilt’s offense. Pinkney shows the ability to both block and receive from each of the positions at which he lined up. Pinkney has enough athleticism to threaten defenses down the field and shows a good ability to find voids in zone coverage. He is a “hands” catcher, extending to pluck the ball out of the air and has a large catch radius. He presents a good target to quarterbacks across the middle of the field and does a good job of putting himself between defenders and the football. Pinkney has good toughness after the catch, fighting to secure the ball at the catch point and then fighting through tackles to pick up extra yardage.
Pinkney is a reliable run blocker, showing good hustle to get in position ahead of the play. He blocks with good pad level and leverage, allowing him to match up on outside linebackers and smaller defensive ends. Pinkney shows good grip strength and competitive toughness in sustaining his blocks through the whistle, as well as a good ability to block in space on screen plays.
Pinkney is a limited athlete who lacks good short-area quickness, explosiveness, and long speed. He does not present an athletic mismatch for defenses and could struggle against NFL caliber athletes. He also needs to be more consistent in his blocking technique at the next level.
Overall Grade: 5.9 - Has several above-average traits and should be a good back-up and role player for any team that drafts him. A mid-round value. [Grading Scale]
Jared Pinkney projects as a back-up tight end at the NFL level. He should be a reliable player, and would fit best in a team that frequently uses 12-personnel packages. Pinkney doesn’t have the athleticism to be a true mismatch at the NFL level and will have to lean on technique and savvy to be a consistent producer. He flashes the ability to win with technique as both a blocker and receiver in college and should work to nurture that in the NFL. Pinkney has the potential to have the occasional big play down the field due to a good ability to find voids in zone coverage and as a long-strider on seam routes.
His familiarity with multiple positions and alignments could be an asset for a creative coach in disguising blocking schemes and creating opportunities for misdirection.