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New York Giants 2017 NFL Draft Preview: TIGHT END

Sy'56 : 4/13/2017 2:48 pm
WHERE THEY STAND

Since his rookie season, Eli Manning has always liked to use the tight end. He’s been through several that have achieved more here than in other places. No matter who is there, there are a lot of targets heading their way. Will Tye was the primary starter in 2016 but to no one’s surprise, he averaged 8.2 yards per reception with just 1 touchdown despite getting the third most passes thrown his way on the team. Jerrell Adams showed something in his rookie year, albeit limited opportunities. I still like his potential as an extra receiving threat if he can learn the playbook. Rhett Ellison was signed to a long term deal but I’m not sure what their plan is. Fullback/tight end/H-Back? We’ll see.



Top 10 GRADES AND ANALYSIS

1 – David Njoku – 6’4/246 – Miami: 85

Summary: Third year sophomore entry. Former national champion high jumper in high school that actually participated on the Miami track and field squad. Elite level athlete that will wow anyone and everyone in workouts. Njoku is more than a freakish athlete. He performs overly well on the field with pads on and has the makings of a big time playmaker at the next level. The former high school wide receiver is still learning the position, mainly the blocking components, and will need time before he is a factor in NFL trenches. What he can add to a passing game, however, very few in this class can.

*I’ve been on this kid since the fall of 2015. His size and movement jumped off the screen and I followed him very closely throughout 2016. I won’t sit here and tell you he is going to be a good blocker, but I will tell you I think he will be good enough. The reason for drafting someone like Njoku is fully because of his ability to create mismatches as a receiver. He is an incredibly gifted athlete that has shown more than enough skills to warrant high first round draft pick. This kid has some special in him, and I really mean that. He would be the ideal fit for NYG because thy can ease him in to blocking roles while creating the matchup problems from a position Manning loves to throw to.

Upside Pro Comparison: Antonio Gates - LAC



2 – Evan Engram – 6’3/234 – Ole Miss: 84

Summary: Three time 1st Team All SEC tight end and the program’s all time leader in receptions and yards at the position. Ended his career with a 1st Team All American honor. Engram fits the mold of a hybrid tight end/wide receiver that can be moved around in to different starting positions to keep a defense on its heels. His quickness off the like and near-top level ball skills will make him a quarterback’s best friend on third and reasonable. While his blocking impact may not be as high as some of the others, he is no slouch. The two time team captain leaves it all out on the field each week and his weaknesses can be somewhat hidden in most situations.

*Durng the grading process, I thought there was a legit shot Engram would finish atop this list. He was close and to be honest, these two may be back to back on the overall big board. If Njoku is gone and Engram ends up being the pick, I wouldn’t be disappointed one bit. Engram is essentially a top tier speed WR that weighs 234 pounds. While he is a notch or two below as a blocker from most of these guys, he still got the job done in the SEC against linebackers consistently. In terms of what his role would be long term, think of how the Redskins use Jordan Reed. He has that kind of ability, if not more.

Upside Pro Comparison: Aaron Hernandez - JAIL



3 – OJ Howard – 6’6/251 – Alabama: 82

Summary: Former top tier high school recruit that has been starting since his freshman season. Tools-rich, hard working player that comes from a pro-style offense that saw plenty of time blocking and running routes. Howard has the physical ability and upside to excite anyone and everyone. He poses as a matchup nightmare for defenses because of the size and speed, but also showed flashes of being a capable blocker. He was often overlooked by the Alabama offense and lacked the consistent dose of opportunities to shine. If he can gain strength and power, ultimately leading to an increase in confidence as a blocker, Howard could be a rare weapon in the NFL.

*I’ll likely go in to draft weekend with the same thought I’ve had for awhile, NYG is going to take Howard if he is there. But he’s visited with a few teams in the top 15 and I’d put the odds at 50% or less of him being there. He is a more traditional TE, yes. The size, speed, experience at Alabama are all plus marks. But I have always thought this kid was a bit of an underachiever, like he just didn’t play at the level you would assume he could. I feel this way as both a blocker and receiver. That said, I still have a 1st round grade on him but I’m not sure he will be in my top 23 overall. Upside is there. Talent is there. But does he play like he really wants it? I don’t think so.


Upside Pro Comparison: Travis Kelce - KC



4 – Jordan Leggett – 6’5/258 – Clemson: 78

Summary: Fourth year senior. First Team All ACC in 2015 and 2016, respectively. Mackey Award Finalist in 2015. Leggett leaves Clemson has one of the top tight ends in the storied program’s history. He is a more-than-solid all around player that can offer presence as both a blocker and receiver day one. His strength is currently more present as a weapon in the passing game with his blend of size, speed, and ball skills. The blocking remains a work in progress, but the tools are there and he did show a good amount of improvement over the past year. High ceiling prospect.

*If someone told me Leggett was their top TE in this class, I wouldn’t dispute it. He has the dream tools, the experience, and has made a ton of plays against top tier competition. I’ve always left the Clemson games wishing he had shown more, however. He doesn’t move guys as a blocker despite weighing just under 260 pounds. He has below average strength and presence and simply seems like a guy that doesn’t really get after it. He shows a high ceiling as a pass catcher though. I just can’t shake the thought of Jace Amaro when I watch him.

Upside Pro Comparison: Kyle Rudolph - MIN



5 – Adam Shaheen – 6’6/278 – Ashland: 76

Summary: Fourth year senior that has split his time between two different Division II schools. Shaheen began his career as a basketball player but one year in he transferred to Ashland to play football. Over his final two years, he set several school and national records for the tight end position. He ended his career with a 16-touchdown season. Shaheen has a dream body that moves exceptionally well. He truly does look like someone that came right ff the hardwood. His physical presence and blocking abilities are a step behind, however. He has a tremendous learning curve heading his way but this is a kid that can get you excited.

*I wasn’t turned on to Shaheen until late in the year but once I saw him play once, I got pretty excited. He looked like Gronkowski with his dominating size and soft hands. He was so good at catching the ball in traffic that it didn’t really matter if he could separate or not. Now, that may be a different story in the NFL but the baseline here is higher than almost every TE. If he can develop, he will be a stud. Guys like this are hard to find.

Upside Pro Comparison: Jermaine Gresham - ARI




6 – Jeremy Sprinkle – 6’5/252 – Arkansas: 76

Summary: Fifth year senior that had to wait his turn to really shine, playing behind current Chargers tight end Hunter Henry on the depth chart until 2016. Sprinkle proved to be a very solid prospect himself, especially over the past two seasons. His unique combination of tools give him an upside very few at the position possess. Sprinkle’s size alone make him a friendly target to throw to. Add in the dependable ball skills and long strides, he is a threat that defenses will have to plan around. The blocking is a developing plus.

*I came in to the 2016 season with Sprinkle at the top of my board for the position. He jumped off the screen almost every time I scouted Henry last year with his length, speed, and ball skills. I was hoping for more progression than what he showed, however. Sprinkle has tools but still has a ton of awkward, unbalanced movement to him. He also didn’t always catch the ball with his hands, too often trapping it against his body. All in all I still see the upside but he won’t warrant anything more than a 3rd or 4th round consideration.

Upside Pro Comparison: Martellus Bennett - GB



7 – Bucky Hodges – 6’6/257 – Virginia Tech: 75

Summary: Fourth year junior entry. Originally signed with the Hokies as a tight end, but made the full time move to tight end during his redshirt year. Despite being listed by most at tight end, Hodges essentially played a wide receiver type role in 2016. His experience as an inline blocker is limited and doesn’t grade out well. However what he can do with the combination of athletic ability and size can be a major difference maker in the NFL. He is a potential matchup nightmare for opposing defenses that needs a specific role.

*I’ve been in the discussion with a few of you over the past few months on whether Hodges was a TE or a WR. Things like this happen every year, and what I do is grade the player at both spots and take the higher one. I graded Hodges as a 74 at WR, and a 75 at TE. He has tremendous ball skills and any defender could be in a bad spot for having to cover him. However the fact that he hasn’t lined up with his hand in the dirt at all and that he had trouble blocking cornerbacks, I had to give him the minimum grades when it came to the physical part of the position. The frame is there to improve, but he simply is a guy that doesn’t like contact. The receiving ability is very good though.

Upside Pro Comparison: Ladarius Green - PIT



8 – Eric Saubert – 6’5/253 – Drake: 75

Summary: Fifth year senior that went from an overlooked 185 pound, under-recruited high school senior to arguably one of the top size/speed specimens at the tight end group in this draft class. Saubert, a two time FCS All American, has matchup problem written all over him. If he can learn to hone in his concentration and clean up some technique, his impact will be felt on the passing game. In addition, his approach and effort are already there for the blocking game, just needs to get stronger.

*Saubert may need more time than some of these other prospects in terms of strength and skill development, but his upside rivals everyone above him on this list and I mean that. He can really run and track the ball well. His consistency isn’t there yet as a pass catcher, just dropping too many balls in traffic. That will have to change as does his strength in the trenches. He didn’t stand out in that department among college kids that won’t ever play pro football. Now that he is making the move to playing against grown men, it’s gonna be a lengthy ride to a starting position but he can do it over time.

Upside Pro Comparison: Gary Barnidge - CLE




9 – Jake Butt – 6’5/246 – Michigan: 74

Summary: Four year contributor that found himself on the 2nd Team All American squads in both 2015 and 2016. The team captain was an every down player that is coming from a pro style offense. The torn ACL may delay the start of his pro career, but not by much. Butt’s frame and toughness make him an every down threat once he gets back on the field. While he doesn’t exactly grade out at the top of any particular category of the position, his above average level across the board will get him on the field early and keep him there. Low ceiling, but a higher than normal floor prospect.

*The injury was very unfortunate for Butt, obviously. I think he was heading towards being a top 50 pick. That said, I never had a high grade on him. Without the injury Butt may have been a few spots higher than this, but he wouldn’t have been with Engram/Njoku/Howard. He didn’t impress me as an athlete in space, nor did I think he was plus blocker. When I charted him, he almost always came out with negative blocking scores and for a guy that is considered an every down player and that being one his strengths, that bothered me. I think he is serviceable and will likely fit in somewhere as a 1B type tight end, but I don’t see a very high upside with him.

Upside Pro Comparison: Jack Doyle - IND



10 – Gerald Everett – 6’3/239 - South Alabama: 74

Former basketball player that spent just one year in high school on the gridiron. He spent year in community college before getting noticed by UAB where he had a promising first season with the school. When the program shut down, he transferred yet again to South Alabama where he took off, earning 1st Team All Sun Belt honors two straight years. Everett is a dynamic athlete that is at his best running up and across the intermediate portion of the defense. He catches the ball on the move exceptionally well and can make things happen with the ball in his hands. He is undersized and very raw as a blocker, but he will pose as a threat to any defender covering him right away. High ceiling prospect.

*Everett is very well liked by a lot of scouts. Coaches will see him run routes and catch the ball and start to salivate over what he can be. I’ve seen him 10 times now and I still can’t shake the notion that he is simply a poor man’s Evan Engram. That’s not necessarily a bad thing but when you compare the two, Everett doesn’t do anything on the same level. They aren’t in the same league. What I do like with Everett is that he as moved around a lot in college and he was asked to block often. So there is a baseline to work with there, but I simply don’t see him being more than a situational pass catcher.

Upside Pro Comparison: Jordan Reed - WAS



BEST OF THE REST


11 – Jonnu Smith – 6’3/248 – Florida International: 71
12 – Michael Roberts – 6’4/270 – Toledo: 71
13 – Cole Hikutini – 6’4/247 – Louisville: 71
14 – George Kittle – 6’4/247 – Iowa: 71
15 – Phazahn Odom – 6’8/250 – Fordham: 69
16 – Anthony Auclair – 6’6/254 – Laval: 68
17 – Hayden Pinke – 6’4/264 – UTEP: 67
18 – Blake Jarwin – 6’5/248 – Oklahoma State: 66
19 – Pharoah Brown – 6’6/255 – Oregon: 66
20 – Cethan Carter – 6’3/241 – Nebraska: 66



NYG APPROACH

The biggest hole at the NYG skill positions is at tight end. The receivers are solid, the running backs can get by, and the quarterback shouldn’t be worried about for this season. The lack of talent at tight end has made it a much simpler process to game plan around Beckham. There is no threat of someone bursting up the seam, splitting the safeties, and coming up with a big play. They have been trying to piece together the production from this position with a handful of mediocre talents that simply never sacred anyone. With what they have in-house right now, this team should absolutely draft one of the top guys if they are available. Njoku and Engram would present proper value at 23 and a case could be made for Howard as well. The difference those guys could make in the passing game far outweighs some of the struggles they may have as blockers early on. What I think they should avoid is spending another late pick on a developmental player because they already have Adams here for that. So basically…round 1-2 or avoid the position altogether.
Hahahaha  
robbieballs2003 : 4/13/2017 2:52 pm : link
Quote:
Upside Pro Comparison: Aaron Hernandez - JAIL


So, if his upside is JAIL then what is his downside?
Thanks Sy, still reading through it.  
Keith : 4/13/2017 2:57 pm : link
Curious though, if Engram is a lot like Reed and you expect him to be used like Reed, why wouldn't his upside player be Reed? Curious how you come up with the upside player. Thanks again.
RE: Thanks Sy, still reading through it.  
Sy'56 : 4/13/2017 2:58 pm : link
In comment 13427257 Keith said:
Quote:
Curious though, if Engram is a lot like Reed and you expect him to be used like Reed, why wouldn't his upside player be Reed? Curious how you come up with the upside player. Thanks again.


I think he is better than Reed. Much faster and more quick twitched
And regarding upside comparisons  
Sy'56 : 4/13/2017 2:59 pm : link
Don't put too much in to it...Sorta meant to give you guys a rough visual of who these guys are.
Interesting.  
Keith : 4/13/2017 2:59 pm : link
Reed is a major weapon.
I've been very high on Engram this entire time,  
shockeyisthebest8056 : 4/13/2017 3:06 pm : link
but there's no way I would put him ahead of Howard. (I also don't understand how Howard can be hard-working, yet questioned for "wanting it enough".) Howard's upside is of an elite EVERY down TE. Sure he can be more consistent as a blocker, but there's certainly enough film to see he can do it. Engram, for the purposes of the Giants, is a guy who would have to be used in conjunction with Adams. IMO, he's not a guy who could be an inline TE even on a semi-regular basis.

A few days ago, Nick Saban basically tossed Lane Kiffin under the bus (again) over Howard's lack of statistical production.

While Gerald Everett isn't the athlete that Engram is, I think there's more of a chance he can be at least a passable inline TE.
While not star prospects  
Pep22 : 4/13/2017 3:24 pm : link
mid rounders George Kittle and Scott Orndorff to me are guys with well developed games as 2 way (block/catch) TEs.
Engram  
Pep22 : 4/13/2017 3:27 pm : link
What is interesting to me is the perception that Engram is a receiving only threat as a TE (and not an inline blocker). But if he was thought of as a WR, being a more glamorous position, at 6'3" 230 and sub 4.4 speed and tremendous skills, production and football character, he'd be universally regarded as the best WR and likely top 10 pick in this draft.
RE: I've been very high on Engram this entire time,  
Sy'56 : 4/13/2017 3:35 pm : link
In comment 13427278 shockeyisthebest8056 said:
Quote:
but there's no way I would put him ahead of Howard. (I also don't understand how Howard can be hard-working, yet questioned for "wanting it enough".) Howard's upside is of an elite EVERY down TE. Sure he can be more consistent as a blocker, but there's certainly enough film to see he can do it. Engram, for the purposes of the Giants, is a guy who would have to be used in conjunction with Adams. IMO, he's not a guy who could be an inline TE even on a semi-regular basis.

A few days ago, Nick Saban basically tossed Lane Kiffin under the bus (again) over Howard's lack of statistical production.

While Gerald Everett isn't the athlete that Engram is, I think there's more of a chance he can be at least a passable inline TE.


This is not meant as an insult...so please don't take it that way. But have you ever played? I have known several guys that work their tails off...always playing hard in practice, always getting their lifts in, always watching film. Paying attention to details...

But when it comes down to mentally turning it on and really getting after it...putting everything you have in to a block, they just weren't there. It's actually quite common
RE: Engram  
Sy'56 : 4/13/2017 3:36 pm : link
In comment 13427320 Pep22 said:
Quote:
What is interesting to me is the perception that Engram is a receiving only threat as a TE (and not an inline blocker). But if he was thought of as a WR, being a more glamorous position, at 6'3" 230 and sub 4.4 speed and tremendous skills, production and football character, he'd be universally regarded as the best WR and likely top 10 pick in this draft.


I've been told teams have a top 10 grade on him. We'll see.
Thanks, Sy, another great review!  
TC : 4/13/2017 3:39 pm : link
I couldn't disagree with anything, though some of the guys up top are so close that it might be argued you could shuffle them around. I was originally down on Njoku for his blocking, but watching more, I was simply wrong, he's usually more than adequate.

I'm glad that you snuck in Roberts and Plinke, two guys who should get a chance to play in the NFL who might surprise. Plinke is a try hard guy who can catch passes, and Roberts looks to have substantial unrealized talent. (Which sometimes STAYS unrealized.) He is big and strong and a quick twitch athlete. And if the Combine can be believed, has the biggest hands I've heard of on a TE at 11 1/2" Wow, nearly a foot from pinky tip to thumb! That's a target!
the obvious 'upside pro comp' for Shaheen ...  
Torrag : 4/13/2017 3:47 pm : link
...is Gronk.
I think they should draft one early  
David B. : 4/13/2017 3:47 pm : link
and possibly again late or sign an UFA. Every TE in this class is probably an upgrade over Will Tye.
RE: I think they should draft one early  
robbieballs2003 : 4/13/2017 4:01 pm : link
In comment 13427385 David B. said:
Quote:
and possibly again late or sign an UFA. Every TE in this class is probably an upgrade over Will Tye.


I think that would be overkill. They like Adams. They obviously like Ellison. An early draft pick would make the team so that would be 3 right there without Tye. They also like LaCosse. Now, if there is value later in the draft then I am open to it but keeping 4 TEs may be tough unless they list Ellison as a FB and therefore open up a roster spot.

I also think we have a lot of holes to fill with OL, RB, DT, another pass rusher, TE, possibly QB, corner, safety, and LB. I don't think they are going to use 2 picks on TEs.
First, thanks Sy. Always look forward to your write-ups.  
Watson : 4/13/2017 4:15 pm : link
For the reason you cited, I'm hopeful that the TE position gets a major upgrade this year. Although I'd be ecstatic with any of your top three, I am totally fascinated with Njoku.

Question: I've seen various posters refer to Njoku as clumsy. Other than perhaps still needing to grow into his body, I don't see that at all. Appreciate your comment.
I've been driving the Engram bandwagon for a while, now.  
Klaatu : 4/13/2017 4:18 pm : link
Thanks for justifying my faith in the kid, Sy.
I'd be ok with O.J. Howard  
PatersonPlank : 4/13/2017 4:23 pm : link
He looks like a complete package. Ellison can then be a fullback, H back, or a 2nd TE for specific situations.
I'm  
AcidTest : 4/13/2017 4:25 pm : link
inclined to say jus skip the whole position. We added Marshall and Ellison, and still have Adams. There won't be enough balls to go around. Focus elsewhere.
Great job once again Sy  
Jay on the Island : 4/13/2017 4:28 pm : link
I know you disagree but I would prefer to take a TE in round 3 out of Shaheen, Leggett, Butt or Saubert.
I don't think there's enough talk  
Peppers : 4/13/2017 4:34 pm : link
on how talented Howard, Njoku, and Engram are. We could be talking about this TE class for years to come.
Engran  
KWALL2 : 4/13/2017 4:35 pm : link
Agree he could be TE He's a much faster Reed and hat has a lot of value.

Really like Leggets game. He looks a lot more athletic than the workout numbers. Very talented but the talk about him not liking the work is a big concern.
RE: I'm  
robbieballs2003 : 4/13/2017 4:35 pm : link
In comment 13427476 AcidTest said:
Quote:
inclined to say jus skip the whole position. We added Marshall and Ellison, and still have Adams. There won't be enough balls to go around. Focus elsewhere.


It isn't about enough balls to go around. It is forcing defenses into certain sub packages and taking advantage of that. It is all about mismatches.
Sy - questions for you  
allstarjim : 4/13/2017 5:01 pm : link
On Michael Roberts, can you give us some of your thoughts on him? I've only watched his film against Appo St, but from the tight ends I've watched he looks like the best blocker of them all, and man oh man, 11.5" hands. My thought is that he's slow in and out of cuts, but once he gets the ball in his hands, he'll be not a fun guy to tackle.

As for Howard and Njoku, I'm sure you realize that you are against the mainstream thinking on this one and I'm sure after doing this for so long you don't care. But I wonder if you could imagine Howard in that Miami offense with Kaaya throwing to him as opposed to Jalen Hurts. Don't you think you would've been able to see more wow from him?

Also, are you unconcerned with Njoku's reported 8 drops over the past two seasons (11%)?
Sy  
Joey in VA : 4/13/2017 5:05 pm : link
Outstanding again and yet again another contrarian point I agree on, and that is O.J. Howard. He could end up being another Derek Brown, every single tool, every single check mark but he doesn't appear to play with that urgency that makes the very very top TEs have. He sort of just plays which is fine but something is missing.
I'm pretty excited about this class  
santacruzom : 4/13/2017 5:07 pm : link
Obviously I'd like one of the top 3, but even 4-10 would almost surely be a huge improvement over what we've got.
RE: I'm  
chuckydee9 : 4/13/2017 5:16 pm : link
In comment 13427476 AcidTest said:
Quote:
inclined to say jus skip the whole position. We added Marshall and Ellison, and still have Adams. There won't be enough balls to go around. Focus elsewhere.


I agree.. TE is one of the least important position on offense.. and we've already spent a decent amount of money in Ellison.. I won't mind skipping the position unless the best prospect left is a TE.. I won't include it as a position of need.
SY  
Earl the goat : 4/13/2017 5:17 pm : link
Great job as always

Did u see my post from 11.18am this morning

I hope they take Njoku. He's going to be a difference maker in this offense
I may be in the minority here  
Jay on the Island : 4/13/2017 5:34 pm : link
but I would be very happy with 2 TE's selected in the first 4-5 rounds. If the Giants came away with Howard, Njoku, or Engram in round 1 and a guy like Saubert or Sprinkle in round 4 then I would consider that a huge win. I think the Giants will choose to go with 4 TE's on the active roster and no FB's. They will use Ellison at times in the backfield. Then the TE group would be inexperienced but talented with Ellison, Jerrell Adams, and the two draft picks.
Engram is a great receiver  
Torrag : 4/13/2017 5:42 pm : link
...but the best thing you can say about his blocking is he's game. 'A' for effort, C- for results. The thing is he'll always be light in the pants so I don't think you can count on that changing. So he is what he is, a big, fast, talented receiver.
Howard  
Big Rick in FL : 4/13/2017 5:42 pm : link
I've been saying the same thing on Howard for a while now. He's physically got everything, but everytime I've watched him I'm like why isn't he doing what a guy with his numbers say he should be doing. That scares the hell out of me. People want to blame his lack of TDs/production on the offense or QBs, but every year there are a few guys who out produce him. Most of the years it's been guys who'll be late round picks if they are drafted at all.
RE: Engram is a great receiver  
Klaatu : 4/13/2017 5:46 pm : link
In comment 13427611 Torrag said:
Quote:
...but the best thing you can say about his blocking is he's game. 'A' for effort, C- for results. The thing is he'll always be light in the pants so I don't think you can count on that changing. So he is what he is, a big, fast, talented receiver.


I watched him stone 253-pound Ryan Anderson during the Senior Bowl practices. I'd say that's better than a 'C.'
Not enough balls to go around?  
KWALL2 : 4/13/2017 5:48 pm : link
That is not the right way to look at it. Or to build an offense.

First of all, Marshall is not a young player. He may have a year or toe left. Maybe nothing but an 800 yard guy next season. We have to look for more to help Eli and Beckham. A tight end with speed can do that.

The offense needs more playmakers. More players who are tough to defend and give you a matchup advantage. This draft has several outstanding prospects at TE. Adding one of these TEs could be the biggest improvement to the team this year. It's also one of the easiest and low risk ways to improve this football team.

Ellison is not the guy. He's ok. That's it. He won't change much for this offense.

Adding a TE who can threaten more as a receiver would have a big impact. This is the year to get one.
One last thing  
KWALL2 : 4/13/2017 5:49 pm : link
None of these guys on the roster are good enough to pass up a talent upgrade with a draft pick at TE.
'I'd say that's better than a 'C.'...  
Torrag : 4/13/2017 5:55 pm : link
Nah. C- is about right. One non live rep against a non-elite prospect that might not even become an NFL starter doesn't change his college tape.
RE: 'I'd say that's better than a 'C.'...  
Klaatu : 4/13/2017 5:58 pm : link
In comment 13427639 Torrag said:
Quote:
Nah. C- is about right. One non live rep against a non-elite prospect that might not even become an NFL starter doesn't change his college tape.


Yeah...go with that. If that's all you've got then I'd say Engram is a safe pick.
This is probably,  
Doomster : 4/13/2017 6:03 pm : link
the most anticipated pick for me in the draft.....

Somewhere along the line we need to draft a blocking TE, that can grow into a pass catching TE.....

Too many times, the last two seasons, Eli has not had options on third and short.....

I've said this before....I drool in anticipation, at the thought of Eli, having this scenario:

Third and short.....drafted blocking TE on the right side....Ellison in the backfield with Perkins or Vereen.....Eli scans the defense and calls an audible....Ellison shifts to TE on the left side.....Eli can now call a run play left...he can call a run play right.....he can call a play action pass, to his RB, and go to multiple options on the passing routes, with the TE's giving chip blocks to help the OL, if necessary......depending on how the defenses line up for this, Eli will have numerous options, where before he only had one or two....

So drafting a TE that can block will do wonders for this offense on third and short, and even fourth and short.....and if that TE CAN catch, there won't be enough tissues....
This is why I love to read Sy's reviews.  
Ira : 4/13/2017 10:16 pm : link
Very few draft experts would rank Engram over Howard, but Sy doesn't care what the others say. He calls it as he sees it and has a way of being right.
RE: I'm  
djm : 4/13/2017 10:32 pm : link
In comment 13427476 AcidTest said:
Quote:
inclined to say jus skip the whole position. We added Marshall and Ellison, and still have Adams. There won't be enough balls to go around. Focus elsewhere.


This makes no sense to me. Eli spreads the ball around as well as anyone. I'll say it again our crap TEs caught over 70 passes last season. Imagine a TE with talent catching those passes. And what if (when) guys get hurt?

The TE position is sorely lacking in talent. If a guy is there you draft him.
Sy  
jayg5 : 4/13/2017 10:33 pm : link
Love your work.
But isn't it fair to say Howard underachieved because Bama didn't use him the right way? I feel that's just unfair comment.
RE: First, thanks Sy. Always look forward to your write-ups.  
Sy'56 : 4/13/2017 10:54 pm : link
In comment 13427454 Watson said:
Quote:
For the reason you cited, I'm hopeful that the TE position gets a major upgrade this year. Although I'd be ecstatic with any of your top three, I am totally fascinated with Njoku.

Question: I've seen various posters refer to Njoku as clumsy. Other than perhaps still needing to grow into his body, I don't see that at all. Appreciate your comment.


I think he is a kid that is still growing in to his body. He is a better straight line athlete than a change of direction athlete. The balance is there for the most part but sometimes the long limbs can impact that. Not really a worry for me.
It seems that there are 13 TEs that improve the Giants  
George from PA : 4/13/2017 10:56 pm : link
Bottom line, We will get a TE that will make them better.
Sy, are you at all concerned about Njoku's high drop rate?  
yatqb : 4/13/2017 11:27 pm : link
That worries me a lot.
RE: Not enough balls to go around?  
Rjanyg : 4/13/2017 11:46 pm : link
In comment 13427622 KWALL2 said:
Quote:
That is not the right way to look at it. Or to build an offense.

First of all, Marshall is not a young player. He may have a year or toe left. Maybe nothing but an 800 yard guy next season. We have to look for more to help Eli and Beckham. A tight end with speed can do that.

The offense needs more playmakers. More players who are tough to defend and give you a matchup advantage. This draft has several outstanding prospects at TE. Adding one of these TEs could be the biggest improvement to the team this year. It's also one of the easiest and low risk ways to improve this football team.

Ellison is not the guy. He's ok. That's it. He won't change much for this offense.

Adding a TE who can threaten more as a receiver would have a big impact. This is the year to get one.


I have said this here as as well. Njoku, Howard or Engram would be here for 4-5 years and solidify a position and target for Eli's final years. This is a high priority in this draft to knab one of these 3 players.
So  
Phil in LA : 4/14/2017 12:34 am : link
Njuko may actually be the JPP of TE's?
I've watched just about every Njoku game at Miami - he's not Gates  
Eric on Li : 4/14/2017 12:43 am : link
he's a lot more Vernon Davis at this point. Extremely explosive and makes a lot of vertical plays, but does not have the box out game that made Gates unique. Njoku will drop some easy ones from time to time and certainly isn't a polished route runner (yet), but he is a vertical threat and dangerous with the ball in his hands. I've seen less of Howard but I'd probably take him over Njoku.
rjanyg  
KWALL2 : 4/14/2017 1:04 am : link
There are outstanding options after the top 3. Its a loaded draft at this position and we need an upgrade at the position.

I expect a TE to be drafted. I'd be fine with the those 3 in round 1 but guys like Leggett, Hodges, Sprinkle, Kittle, Shaheen, and Butt may turn out to be better than the top 3.

It's the deepest group of TEs that I can remember. I really think it can be an all timer type of draft group for a position. I can see several of the TEs being impact players.

And this wildcard TE/basketball player Derrick Griffin can be a great pro if he gets his head out of his ass.
Hodges  
Dragon : 4/14/2017 2:57 am : link
In the third round would be a steal for me can't see Howard or Njoku not going in the top 25, just not sure they have better upside than Hodges. Hodges has the size of Howard and more speed than Njoku and the frame to add 12-18 more pounds very easily. He is the best route runner of the three right now and his stats are very close to Howard. Will he be a great blocker maybe never but how many TE's in today's game are great blockers and receivers two or three? Hodges will be a nightmare match up anywhere on the field slotted inside or outside.
RE: Sy  
Sy'56 : 4/14/2017 8:11 am : link
In comment 13427984 jayg5 said:
Quote:
Love your work.
But isn't it fair to say Howard underachieved because Bama didn't use him the right way? I feel that's just unfair comment.


You could say that...but I try not to get in to that stuff unless I have credible information about the program.
RE: Sy - questions for you  
Sy'56 : 4/14/2017 8:12 am : link
In comment 13427553 allstarjim said:
Quote:
On Michael Roberts, can you give us some of your thoughts on him? I've only watched his film against Appo St, but from the tight ends I've watched he looks like the best blocker of them all, and man oh man, 11.5" hands. My thought is that he's slow in and out of cuts, but once he gets the ball in his hands, he'll be not a fun guy to tackle.

As for Howard and Njoku, I'm sure you realize that you are against the mainstream thinking on this one and I'm sure after doing this for so long you don't care. But I wonder if you could imagine Howard in that Miami offense with Kaaya throwing to him as opposed to Jalen Hurts. Don't you think you would've been able to see more wow from him?

Also, are you unconcerned with Njoku's reported 8 drops over the past two seasons (11%)?


Here is my summary report on Roberts

Strong Points: Well built, athletic frame with a pair of the biggest hands in this entire draft class. Carries his weight with ease and knows how to use it. Physical player that will rip through arm tackles after the catch. Multiple knockdown blocks where he drove defenders on to their back. Naturally a very powerful kid. Catches a lot of contested balls. Confident and borderline dominant in traffic.

Weak Points: Shows some stiffness when changing direction. Can get heavy footed. Needs to do a better job of in-line blocking. Doesn’t attach himself to his man, instead going for the knockout blow. Doesn’t adjust well. Unplanned movement is tough for him.

Summary: Four year contributor that started to turn it on in 2015 before really breaking out as a senior. Roberts was sixth in the nation, and first among tight ends by a long, in receiving touchdowns with 16. He was the go to guy on 3rd down and reasonable. His size and hands alone give him advantages in traffic and he moves more than well enough. He may be NFL ready sooner than most with a starter’s upside.
RE: Sy, are you at all concerned about Njoku's high drop rate?  
Sy'56 : 4/14/2017 8:15 am : link
In comment 13428015 yatqb said:
Quote:
That worries me a lot.


I've seen every Njoku drop. I hate to sound like an apologist but many of them were him trying to turn upfield before he brought the ball in. I didn't consider them bad handed drops if that makes sense.

I will say Njoku is a slightly bigger gamble than Howard.
One of these TEs early and  
Jimmy Googs : 4/14/2017 8:31 am : link
maybe another RB late. And with any luck a rookie OL that surprises and wins a job and improves this line.

championship...
I see Howard as the cream of the crop, a guy who  
yatqb : 4/14/2017 11:35 am : link
could be a HOFer some day. He's got it all. A can't miss prospect who will go in the top 10 in the draft.

I see Njoku as more of a developmental guy, with huge upside and AA but nonetheless with less physical ability than OJ. As you say, more of a gamble pick.

I'm also concerned that for a team like the Giants, with their weak OL, Njoku would be a negative in the running game. He'd thus be more of an asset on teams with strong OLs than with our team. I don't have that same concern with Howard -- not that you are reviewing these guys with the Giants in mind, Sy.
RE: RE: Sy - questions for you  
TC : 4/14/2017 11:38 am : link
In comment 13428125 Sy'56 said:
Quote:
In comment 13427553 allstarjim said:


Quote:


On Michael Roberts, can you give us some of your thoughts on him? I've only watched his film against Appo St, but from the tight ends I've watched he looks like the best blocker of them all, and man oh man, 11.5" hands. My thought is that he's slow in and out of cuts, but once he gets the ball in his hands, he'll be not a fun guy to tackle.

As for Howard and Njoku, I'm sure you realize that you are against the mainstream thinking on this one and I'm sure after doing this for so long you don't care. But I wonder if you could imagine Howard in that Miami offense with Kaaya throwing to him as opposed to Jalen Hurts. Don't you think you would've been able to see more wow from him?

Also, are you unconcerned with Njoku's reported 8 drops over the past two seasons (11%)?



Here is my summary report on Roberts

Strong Points: Well built, athletic frame with a pair of the biggest hands in this entire draft class. Carries his weight with ease and knows how to use it. Physical player that will rip through arm tackles after the catch. Multiple knockdown blocks where he drove defenders on to their back. Naturally a very powerful kid. Catches a lot of contested balls. Confident and borderline dominant in traffic.

Weak Points: Shows some stiffness when changing direction. Can get heavy footed. Needs to do a better job of in-line blocking. Doesn’t attach himself to his man, instead going for the knockout blow. Doesn’t adjust well. Unplanned movement is tough for him.

Summary: Four year contributor that started to turn it on in 2015 before really breaking out as a senior. Roberts was sixth in the nation, and first among tight ends by a long, in receiving touchdowns with 16. He was the go to guy on 3rd down and reasonable. His size and hands alone give him advantages in traffic and he moves more than well enough. He may be NFL ready sooner than most with a starter’s upside.

Thanks for the review on Roberts, as I've been interested in him too. And while he may be able to contribute early, I think he still has a lot of development needed/possible, and if he were able to fully realize his potential could be one of the top TE's in this class. He's a naturally powerful kid who can be a go-to guy if he puts it all together.
Great stuff Sy  
ryanmkeane : 4/14/2017 12:02 pm : link
do you actually think Engram is in the discussion at 23 if Njoku/Howard are gone?
RE: rjanyg  
Rjanyg : 4/14/2017 12:09 pm : link
In comment 13428074 KWALL2 said:
Quote:
There are outstanding options after the top 3. Its a loaded draft at this position and we need an upgrade at the position.

I expect a TE to be drafted. I'd be fine with the those 3 in round 1 but guys like Leggett, Hodges, Sprinkle, Kittle, Shaheen, and Butt may turn out to be better than the top 3.

It's the deepest group of TEs that I can remember. I really think it can be an all timer type of draft group for a position. I can see several of the TEs being impact players.

And this wildcard TE/basketball player Derrick Griffin can be a great pro if he gets his head out of his ass.


I hear ya. I don't look at Hodges like a TE though. No good at blocking in line at all and seems to fall down after the catch a lot. I think Njoku is better there in both areas.

Plus I feel Njoku is a high ceiling guy and can put on a little more muscle without sacrificing speed.
For Klatuu  
Torrag : 4/14/2017 12:36 pm : link
NFL.com: Move tight end only who lacks dependability as a blocker.

Lance Zeirlein: He will appeal strictly to teams looking for a move tight end who can be deployed as a chess piece in a matchup-based passing attack.

SI: The glaring negative is that he doesn’t block like a tight end, at least not to the point where an NFL team would want to lean on him in the run game. He has athleticism and willingness but probably has to be used more in a non-traditional role than as a true tight end.

Charlie Campbell: Weaknesses: Not a forceful blocker, will never fill the Y-blocking tight end role, undersized as a true TE prospect.

PFF: Engram offers little as a blocker, so until he bulks up and cleans up that aspect of his game he could struggle to see the field in an in-line role

Just a few scouting snippets relevant to Engram's blocking ability at the NFL level.

I like the young man's competitive fire and I agree he's up to battle. The problem is his size and anchor, they don't and won't holdup at the LoS. He'll need to play away from the trenches to be effective. I think he can do that. Just let's not give him credit for a part of his game that was a weakness in college and will be a glaring weakness in the pros.

RE: Great stuff Sy  
Sy'56 : 4/14/2017 1:22 pm : link
In comment 13428487 ryanmkeane said:
Quote:
do you actually think Engram is in the discussion at 23 if Njoku/Howard are gone?


I do. The athleticism he brings to an offense that needs it would be huge.
Sy'56: your opinion on the big, fast, light TE prospects?  
Ivan15 : 4/15/2017 11:20 am : link
Can any of them (Engram, Everett, Hodges) be developed as big WRs, using them in the slot or H- back role for a year or two, instead of trying to bulk them up and refine their inline blocking as TEs?

In the Giants case, would any one be a replacement for Marshall?
RE: RE: I'm  
santacruzom : 4/15/2017 10:17 pm : link
In comment 13427574 chuckydee9 said:
Quote:
In comment 13427476 AcidTest said:


Quote:


inclined to say jus skip the whole position. We added Marshall and Ellison, and still have Adams. There won't be enough balls to go around. Focus elsewhere.



I agree.. TE is one of the least important position on offense..


Most experts seem inclined to disagree strongly, calling TE one of the most vital and versatile chess pieces you can deploy to help both your run and pass game.
Im really starting to key in more on Evan Engram  
blueblood : 4/15/2017 10:31 pm : link
His route running ability and speed is the best of all the TE's in this draft. They have a blocking TE and Adams shows ability as a blocker as well. Engram creates the mismatches against Safeties and LB's that stress a defense.
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