Prospect Spotlight: 2019 NFL Draft/Tight Ends

 

By Michael Stewart  @golferbad

Introduction: The New York Giants could be in the market for a tight end come draft day in 2019. Currently; the Giants have four tight ends on the roster (Engram, Ellison, Dickerson and Simonson) with Engram being the only one who is projected to return in 2019. Ellison could be a casualty cut for cap space and Dickerson and Simonson are still unknown and unproven. The Giants could look for a traditional type of tight end who is equally effective as a receiver and a blocker and possibly tinker with the notion of converting Engram into more of a wide receiver. It’s no secret that the Giants would like to return to the old traditional way offensively with the emphasis of a running game. In order to do that, adding a solid blocking tight end into the mix would be a good start.

  1. Noah Fant (Iowa) 6’4/232: Fant is currently ranked 1st overall among the tight ends in the 2019 NFL draft. Fant is basically a wide receiver playing at the tight end position. Fant has exceptional speed; which helps him average 6 yards after the catch. Freakish athlete with the ability to be a threat anywhere on the field.
  2. Caleb Wilson (UCLA) 6’4/235: Wilson is currently ranked 2nd overall among the tight ends in the 2019 NFL draft. Wilson is a very gifted tight end and could end up being the best college tight end by the end of the season. Wilson has great hands and runs great routes; and is fearless going over the middle. An injury in 2017 limited his production, but he is fully healthy and projected to have an outstanding 2018 season.
  3. Albert Okwuegbunam (Missouri) 6’5/260: Okwuegbunam is currently ranked 3rd overall among the tight ends in the 2019 NFL draft. Okwuegbunam has a very unique blend of speed and size which makes him a great option in the open field and in the red zone … Has breakaway speed from the TE position and also has great leaping ability to snag the ball high above smaller defenders
  4. Kaden Smith (Stanford) 6’5/252: Smith is currently ranked 4th overall among the tight ends in the 2019 NFL draft. Smith is very deceptive with his speed and always seems to beat most one on one coverages. Smith is equally effective as a blocker as he is as a receiver and is expected to be featured a lot more in 2018; which could increase his ranking.
  5. Tyler Petite (USC) 6’4/250: Petite is currently ranked 5th overall among the tight ends in the 2019 NFL draft. Petite is not flashy or will he be the best athletic on the field. However; Petite is very reliable in both the running and passing game and will give 100% effort on every play.
  6. C.J Conrad (Kenturcky) 6’5/252: Conrad is currently ranked 6th overall among the tight ends in the 2019 NFL draft. Conrad is very similar to Tyler Petite in the style of play and will give everything he has on the field. More of a possession tight end with good hands and a sound blocker.
  7. Tommy Sweeney (Boston College) 6’5/255: Sweeney is currently ranked 7th overall among the tight ends in the 2019 NFL draft. Sweeney is a traditional old school tight end who can block and make the tough catches in traffic. Doesn’t the speed compared to some of the other tight ends on this list, but is an effective weapon and his stock could rise with a productive 2018 season.
  8. Irv Smith Jr. (Alabama) 6’4/240: Smith Jr. is currently ranked 8th overall among the tight ends in the 2019 NFL draft. Smith Jr. is extremely versatile and can line up anywhere on the field. Smith Jr. can make the big plays and stretch the field if needed.  Smith Jr. blocking skills are above average and runs well after the catch.
  9. Alize Mack (Notre Dame) 6’4/245: Mack is currently ranked 9th overall among the tight ends in the 2019 NFL draft. Mack is extremely versatile and can line up anywhere on the field. Mack can make the big plays and stretch the field if needed.  Mack’s blocking skills are above average and runs well after the catch.
  10. Kendall Blanton (Missouri) 6’6/260: Blanton is currently ranked 10th overall among the tight ends in the 2019 NFL draft. Blanton is a big time play maker with a combination of size and speed. Blanton blocks well to go along with his offensive production; especially in the red zone. Missouri arguably has the best tight end duo in the country with Blanton and Okwuegbunam.

Final Thoughts:  As the 2018 season progresses, we should have a clearer picture of what the Giants may do in the off season to address the tight end position. I don’t expect the Giants to look for a tight end in the first three rounds of the draft, if they intend on drafting one. GM Dave Gettleman can go in many directions to add a tight end, whether it’s through free agency, trades or the draft. One thing is clear and that is the Giants need to improve their running game and having running back Saquon Barkley is a good start. However; adding more pieces to the offensive line along with a tight end who can block effectively and catch the ball would be essential.

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