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Giants’ 90-man roster: What role could TE Jordan Akins play?

Akins profiles as an athletic, pass-catching option at tight end

Carolina Panthers v Houston Texans
Jordan Akins
Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

The New York Giants, with a new GM in Joe Schoen and new head coach in Brian Daboll, have completely overhauled the tight end position. The only remaining tight end who was on the team’s roster for at least part of the 2021 season is Chris Myarick.

One of the new players is Jordan Akins, who spent the last four seasons with the Houston Texans. Let’s look at where Akins might fit as we begin our player-by-player look at the 90-man roster the Giants will bring to training camp this summer.

By the numbers

Height: 6-foot-3
Weight: 250
Age: 30
Position: Tight end
Experience: 4
Contract: One-year, $1.085M | 2021 cap hit: $945,000

Career to date

Akins is an interesting story. Straight out of high school, he spent four seasons as an outfielder in the Texas Rangers’ farm system. After four seasons of compiling a .218 batting average and never making it past ‘A’ ball, Akins gave up that dream and embarked on a new one.

He played football for four seasons at UCF, catching 81 passes in 34 games. The Texans selected him in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft, and he caught 114 passes in 58 games (23 starts) over four seasons.

The Texans chose not to offer Akins a second contract once his four-year rookie deal expired.

Tim McHale of SB Nation’s Battle Red Blog, which covers the Texans, summarized Akins this way:

“Akins is a serviceable backup tight end. I wouldn’t count on him making some sort of leap in Year Five, especially since he got a late start on his NFL career thanks to his decision to play minor league baseball before transitioning back to football in college.

“The Texans have been devoid of any sort of difference-maker at tight end since Owen Daniels left town. Akins, like pretty much every other tight end on the roster for the last several years, was virtually indistinguishable from the other players in his position group. To that point, it’s not surprising the Texans weren’t in any hurry to keep him; they likely view him as eminently replaceable. I wish him the best with the Giants; I just don’t expect him to make a real impact.”

2022 outlook

There is no way to know for sure how the Giants will deploy their tight ends this season. Still, we can guess that they are likely to value versatility in just about everything. In 327 snaps in 2021, Akins was inline on 220, in the slot for 69, split wide for 27 and in the backfield 11 times.

In 2020, he was actually detached (189 slot snaps, 40 wide snaps) more than he was inline (128 snaps). Overall, Akins has spent 59 percent of his offensive snaps played aligned detached from the line of scrimmage in either the slot or out wide.

Akins has reliable hands, with only 5 drops in 160 career targets per Pro Football Focus, a 4.1 percent drop rate. He also has some run after catch ability, averaging more than 7 yards after the catch in each of the past two seasons.

Akins would seem likely to make the 53-man roster. How big his role will be might depend on the play of fellow free agent signee Ricky Seals-Jones and fourth-round pick Daniel Bellinger.