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Rysen John facing dual transition with New York Giants

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He is moving from wide receiver to tight end, and from Division II to the NFL

Rysen John will be one of the biggest curiosities if and when the New York Giants get to 2020 training camp. Can the Canadian Division II wide receiver transition to tight end and earn a roster spot with the Giants?

Let’s take a closer look.

The basics

Height: 6-foot-7
Weight: 237
Age: N/A
Position: Tight end
Experience: Rookie
Contract: Year 1 of three-year, $2.285 million contract

How he got here

John is getting an NFL opportunity despite playing for a bad — check that, really bad — Division II program. Simon Fraser is the only Canadian school playing at the Division II level against American competition, and things are not going well for the Clan.

Simon Fraser went 2-37 in John’s four seasons, often losing games by 40, 50, even 60 points.

Yet John managed to impress enough to get the attention of the NFL. As a senior in 2019, John had 53 catches in 10 games for 861 yards (16.25 yards per catch) and 10 touchdowns.

2020 outlook

John is not competing with Evan Engram. He isn’t competing with Kaden Smith or Levine Toilolo, either. He is really competing with Eric Tomlinson, Garrett Dickerson, and Kyle Markway — trying to impress the Giants enough to earn a practice squad spot and gain a real opportunity to learn the craft of being an NFL tight end.

Simon Fraser interim head coach Mike Rigell told me last month that it would be a victory for John to earn a berth on the 12-man practice squad.

“If he can make a practice squad that is a blessing in and of itself right now. That’s what I’ve told him. There’s a lot of things obviously coming from the D2 level he needs to learn. That’s not a knock on him. He is really raw,” Rigell said. “The ceiling can go as high as he wants it to go with his work ethic and him getting some good mentorship and really watching and learning from those guys, learning how the professionals do it.

“Two or three years down the road, hopefully, the Giants can be patient with him, he’ll be fine. He’ll put some more weight on … he runs well enough, he’s going to continue to get stronger and faster. It’s just going to come down to patience and him being in the best fit where he doesn’t have to get thrown in the fire.”

Can John adjust to the physicality that will be required to play tight end? Can he stand up to the level of competition?

It is going to be fun to find out.