Is (tight) end in sight for the Giants in draft?

New York Giants general manager Jerry Reese speaks

New York Giants general manager Jerry Reese speaks to the media during training camp on July 27, 2013. (Credit: James Escher)

Everyone thinks the Giants need a tight end. Everyone but the Giants, that is.

So although it seems like a perfect match of player, need and availability -- the draft day trifecta! -- for the Giants to be considering tight end Eric Ebron of North Carolina with the 12th overall pick Thursday, there's a good chance they are looking elsewhere.

Because though history has shown that the team and quarterback Eli Manning are at their best when the tight end is productive, the front office generally does not extend itself very far to procure one.

The last time the Giants used a first-round pick on a tight end was 2002, when they selected Jeremy Shockey. That at least solidified the position for a few years, but since he was traded to the Saints in 2007, the Giants have gone through almost a half-dozen replacements.

The Giants pride themselves on consistency and stability, but they've had four different starters at tight end in the last four seasons -- with a fifth different one coming in 2014.

"We want a competent tight end," general manager Jerry Reese said, a description that shows the Giants are happy to shop for the position off the discount rack and not in the first round of the team's most important draft in a decade.

"We think we have a couple of young tight ends that have been here for a couple of years that we want to develop, and we'll continue to look as we move forward."

Right now, that group includes Adrien Robinson -- the last tight end the Giants drafted, a fourth-rounder in 2012 who rarely has gotten onto the field in two seasons -- plus Larry Donnell and two veterans who were added this offseason: Kellen Davis and Daniel Fells.

The four of them totaled six receptions in 2013, but it's that type of lot from which the Giants drew Kevin Boss and Jake Ballard in recent years.

Perhaps there is another player with unrealized potential in the group. Perhaps one whom the Giants will select in later rounds in this draft.

A year after getting burned by paying big money to free agent Brandon Myers and seeing him disappoint in the passing game, it's unlikely that the Giants will be willing to risk that kind of price tag for a luxury position.

All the flashy new offenses in the league seem to have that former hoopster-turned-touchdown-maker such as Jimmy Graham or Rob Gronkowski, who are redefining the tight end position. The Giants seem content to stick with the old definition.

"It's the same thing all over the league," Reese said. "Everybody wants those guys. I guess they've coined them as H-back kind of guys and receiving tight ends. We'd like guys who are big and fast and can block and can catch at that position."

Besides, who's to say the Giants will even need a prominent tight end? With new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo promising to mold his new system around the Giants' personnel and not the other way around, perhaps the Giants will use more multi-receiver packages than tight end formations.

"Everybody needs a playmaking tight end," Reese said. "I think every team wants a Pro Bowl-style tight end, they want a couple of Pro Bowl wide receivers, they want a Pro Bowl running back.

"Sure you'd like a big, strapping tight end. Sure."

The question is, how badly do the Giants want one?

Peyton: Eli is progressing. Peyton Manning gave a quick update on the rehab of his brother Eli on Sunday morning.

"Eli feels good," Peyton told reporters while spending the day at Yankee Stadium. "He was doing some light throwing the other day. Obviously, just upper body. He's disappointed he has to miss some of the OTAs, but it's better than missing some of the games during the season . . . He's getting better every day."

Eli Manning is three weeks removed from an arthroscopic ankle procedure. In a marketing interview released late last week, he said he has begun to do some light running.

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