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Matt Lacosse has good skill set at tight end

Matt LaCosse of the Illinois Fighting Illini celebrates

Matt LaCosse of the Illinois Fighting Illini celebrates a touchdown against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Memorial Stadium on Nov. 22, 2014 in Champaign, Il. Credit: Getty Images / Matt Hickey

When he played at Illinois, tight end Matt Lacosse's role changed a lot.

As a junior, he was lined up in the slot and wing, sometimes even playing fullback. As a senior, he was moved to more of an in-line position and asked to be more of a run blocker and pass protector. By the end of that final college season, though, he was back split wide and catching passes.

With the Giants, he'll be asked to do all of that at once.

Lacosse is one of the six players the Giants signed as priority free agents after the draft and was one of the standout players at this weekend's rookie minicamp. The 6-5, 261-pounder showed proficiency at both receiving and blocking, a balance the Giants have been wanting to see more of from the position for several years.

Larry Donnell emerged as a strong pass catcher last year, but the Giants have been concerned about his blocking. Adrien Robinson, a fourth-round pick in 2012, has yet to show any of the promise he held when the Giants selected him. Daniel Fells is a veteran who was out of the league for a full season before the Giants signed him last year.

The Giants have had difficulty finding and keeping a tight end since they lost Kevin Boss to free agency in 2011. Jake Ballard seemed promising, but had a career-ending knee injury in Super Bowl XLVI. Martellus Bennett had a strong season, but left in free agency after just one year. Brandon Myers never seemed to fit in.

Perhaps Lacosse will be the long-term answer they've been looking for.

It's why he signed with the Giants rather than any of the half dozen other teams that courted him.

"I thought this was the best chance for me to compete in camp," he said. "I thought it presented the best situation for me."

Lacosse said the tight end he's tried to model himself after is Greg Olsen of the Bears and Panthers. He is a dual-threat too. While some of the more prolific tight ends in recent years have been catch-first guys, such as converted basketball-types Jimmy Graham and Julius Thomas, Lacosse is more of a throwback to the do-it-all player.

That doesn't mean he is a perfect balance, though.

"I feel like the best part of my game is being a vertical threat," he said. "A seam-bender. I think that's something I excel at. The pass game is definitely what I think I'm better at, but I think I can also block pretty well."

If that's true, he could find a home with the Giants and a role in the offense pretty quickly.

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