The Giant Insider Online

How Many Tight Ends Will Make the Giants Roster in 2018?

The New York Giants have had a long tradition of great tight ends, one that could continue with second-year player Evan Engram. But the unit the new coaching staff wants to form here is a versatile, physical and productive one.

The team usually keeps three tight ends on the roster and they could do that again this year since they have so many options in camp this summer.

Evan Engram

You can’t talk about tight ends in this league any longer without mentioning Engram’s name. He has worked his way into the conversation after just one season in the NFL. Yes, he’s had the dropsies (a league-leading 11 in 2017), but he also showed flashes of what he could become — a dangerous weapon in the passing game.

Head coach Pat Shurmur has said repeatedly that Engram will be used as both an in-line tight end and a slot receiver. The Giants are excited about having him in the same offense as running back Saquon Barkley, and wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepard. He can be both a seambuster and a vertical threat as he possesses a rare blend of size and speed.

The Giants will use him traditionally as well, just to keep defenses honest. The Pro Bowl is within reach for him this season.

Rhett Ellison

A traditional blocking tight end that handles himself in a professional manner. Ellison is a top-notch blocker who will be asked to handle the football more this year in Shurmur’s offense. The Giants want defenses to account for every eligible receiver on the field so they can get mismatches with their speedy stars.

The Giants want to get tough in the trenches and Ellison fits that role very well. They especially want to beef up their efforts in the red zone, where they only scored a touchdown on just 48.7% of their trips last season (26th overall).

This is where they believe Ellison, who played all 16 games last year, will help them improve in 2018.

Jerell Adams

Just because Adams was a draft pick back in 2016 doesn’t give him the inside track on a roster spot, but he was only a sixth round pick and he has yet to distinguish himself with a breakout game. He has been roster bubble fodder since he got to the Giants and will once again be on the spot this summer.

This year, Adams will need more reps in training camp to stand out from the competition. He may not get them. He has looked more refined in organized team activities (OTAs) and in mini-camp, but there’s only one football and he may have to prove his worth on special teams to stick on the 53.

Shane Smith 

Smith is the only fullback on the Giants’ roster and is technically listed as a tight end. He won’t be used that way as far we can tell. Shurmur likes the idea of having a fullback in the offense and since Smith is the lone one in camp, we’re assuming he makes the team.

“I like the use of a fullback,” Shurmur said earlier this offseason. “I think there are ways that you can use him strategically, whether it is the grouping that he is involved in or how you get him the ball. I think when you have a fullback in there you always have the element of seven-man protection, which is good for the quarterback.”

Smith played in 11 games as a rookie last year and did not touch the football once. He was used predominantly as a blocker and on special teams. That could change this season as Shurmur likes everyone to be able to handle the ball.

Others in camp

Also is camp are Kyle Carter, Ryan O’Malley, Garrett Dickerson and Scott Simonson.

Carter, a former Penn Stater, spent his first two seasons with Shurmur in Minnesota mostly on the practice squad. Simonson was picked up from Carolina, general manager Dave Gettleman’s old team, and played in Super Bowl 50.

O’Malley played one game for the Giants last season and they are bringing him back for another look this year. Dickerson is a local product who played his college ball at Northwestern. He impressed the coaches at his tryout and they are giving him a shot this summer.

Realistically, the Giants will be keeping Engram, Ellison and Smith and will likely cut the rest. One or two could end up on the practice squad.

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