The Giants selected Jerell Adams in the sixth round of the draft this spring, and he immediately became the most decorated tight end the team has.
There are others who have started for them, including Larry Donnell and Will Tye. And Matt LaCosse has caught three passes in the NFL (which is second-most among the position group).
But none of them was drafted by anyone.
All of that means the position is wide open and anyone who is able to make an impact in the summer – including undrafted rookie Ryan Malleck – could wind up as the starter in September.
Donnell is the most experienced of the group. Despite some troubles hanging onto the football and a propensity for summersaulting awkwardly over defenders, he was starting to emerge as a weapon the Giants could count on in the passing game last season when a neck injury ended his campaign. There was some question whether he would ever play again, but he was cleared to participate in spring workouts and appears ready to play this upcoming season. Neck injuries, however, can flare up at any time, and the Giants will keep a close eye on Donnell’s medical state.
Tye, who played at Stony Brook University, stepped in for Donnell last year and wound up leading all rookie tight ends in the NFL in receptions.
The Giants were very high on LaCosse last year, signing him as an undrafted free agent (ahead of Tye, who was signed after a tryout at last year’s rookie minicamp). He had a hamstring injury and the Giants waived him two days into training camp. LaCosse showed up briefly in Jets training camp but was cut. The Giants wanted him back but had to wait before signing him per the rules regarding waived players re-signing with a team that waived them. Eventually he was added to the practice squad, and late in the year was promoted to the active roster.
Adams, unlike his competition, is considered a better blocker than a receiver. That was what the Giants liked about him when they drafted him.
They spent most of last season without their best blocking tight end, Daniel Fells, whose career was ended in October by a case of MRSA. Adams wasn’t the most adept pass-catcher this spring, but once the pads go on in training camp the Giants should get a much better picture of his blocking abilities and be better able to determine his place in the offense.