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Mayock down on TE crop at Combine

Above: Jake Ballard scores against Tracy White of


Above: Jake Ballard scores against Tracy White of the New England Patriots in the second half. (Nov. 6, 2011)
Credit: Getty Images

One of the glaring needs for the Giants in this offseason is tight end. They'll probably be without Travis Beckum and Jake Ballard for the majority of the 2012 season -- both underwent ACL surgery last week after suffering injuries in the Super Bowl -- and Bear Pascoe is the only other guy on the team who has played the position.

So how's it looking at the Combine? Not very good at that position, at least according to NFL Network's Mike Mayock.

“The tight end class is a bad class," he said on Sunday. "That’s not good given [Rob] Gronkowski and [Aaron] Hernandez, and what we’ve seen in the NFL – everybody is looking for that next guy. I don’t have a first-round grade in the tight end class, I have three second-round grades and then I have kind of an abyss. The tight end class is a rough one.”

Because so many college teams use a spread offense, there simply aren't a lot of tight ends to look at. Some of the best ones played (or at least focused on) basketball in college, not football, like Tony Gonzales, Jimmy Graham and Antonio Gates.

Last season Giants tight ends coach Mike Pope spoke about having to piece together tight ends like they were "transformers" and molding them into what you want. The found Ballard that way. He was underused as a receiver at Ohio State, the Giants liked his blocking, and whattaya know it turned out he could make some catches. Maybe they'll find someone like that again this time near the bottom of the draft.

Because if Mayock is correct, there probably won't be a lot of options at the top of the draft.

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