The New York Giants knew Rysen John would be a long-term project when they signed him out of Division II Simon Fraser University in Canada last year, converting him from wide receiver to tight end.
Let’s look at how that project is going as we continue profiling the 90 players the Giants will bring to training camp this summer.
Position: Tight end
Contract: One-year, $1.49 million | Guaranteed: $5,000 | 2021 cap hit: $662,500
Career to date
John earned the attention of the NFL despite playing at Simon Fraser, a DII team in Canada that won just one game in 2019. He signed with the Giants as an undrafted free agent. A collegiate wide receiver, John spent last season on the practice while learning to play tight end.
A year ago, Simon Fraser University coach Mike Rigell told Big Blue View that John was going to require patience. Here is what Rigell said at the time:
“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 DII 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.”
Well, John made that practice squad a season. It was a weird year, though, with no on-field offseason work or preseason games. Headed into Year 2 of John’s transition to the NFL, how far has he come? That is hard to tell since the Giants did not do anything competitive during mandatory mini-camp. John looked comfortable and smooth catching the ball, but in shorts and t-shirts without defenders that really isn’t much to go on.
The Giants have Evan Engram, Kyle Rudolph, Kaden Smith and Levine Toilolo as the team’s four likely tight ends. Kelvin Benjamin, Nakia Griffin-Stewart and Cole Hikutini are also going to be competing for a tight end role.
Should he have made enough progress, perhaps the Giants will try to get John to the practice squad for a second straight season. I have a hard time seeing him on the 53-man roster, at least at the beginning of the season.