Giants bring in Matt LaCosse: An Un-drafted Name To Know

By Adam Nadelli | Contributor

66 players funneled through Giants rookie mini-camp, with some of them having their roster spot all but locked in (Flowers, Collins, etc.), while others’ football careers were unknown beyond the second weekend of May.

The un-drafted free agents make up most of the players that come into rookie mini-camp with a high degree of uncertainty, but these players were still invited for a reason.  The Giants coaching staff sees some level of talent in those that go un-drafted, and want to see if 31 other teams made a mistake by overlooking the respective prospect.

Matt LaCosse was one of those un-drafted free agents that showed the Giants they didn’t waste an invite on him to rookie mini-camp.  The 6’6 250 pound Tight End out of the University of Illinois stood out as arguably the most impressive prospect of the un-drafted free agent group, displaying his ability to both catch the ball along with promising blocking abilities, a combination not often found in Tight Ends in recent years.

LaCosse has versatility in terms of where he lined up at Illinios as well, sometimes putting his hand in the ground as an in-line tight end and at other times lining up on the outside.  His fluid release from the line of scrimmage along with his speed that allowed him to get past safeties down the field at Illinois show why he stood out in his pass catching abilities at rookie camp.

While he showed flashes of effective blocking ability, LaCosse needs to get stronger in his lower body in order to be able withstand bull rushes and generate force in downhill blocking.  His large frame along with NFL level coaching should be able to progress his blocking skills into a definitive strength of his game.

His skill set clearly has its advantages, but the elephant in the room is “well why didn’t he get drafted?”  Per, LaCosse’s Tight Ends coach at Illinois Alex Golesh offered his explanation, arguing that the presence of an All-American receiver and a running back that led the nation in receiving yards noticeably diminished LaCosse’s production and scaring teams away.

He’s also a willing special teams player with experience having played on all phases of the special teams crew at Illinois.  The latter is why LaCosse has an even better chance at making the roster allowing him to polish up his Tight Ends skills early in his career while contributing on special teams as a reserve player. 

LaCosse chose to sign with the Giants as un-drafted free agent because he felt he had the best chance to compete for a roster spot and to make an impact.  Based on his successful rookie mini-camp, LaCosse should be around through training camp at minimum, but could be a nice depth addition to the Tight Ends group behind Larry Donnell. 

The others ahead of him on the depth chart  who isn’t a long-term answer at the position, and Adrien Robinson who has never panned out.  If LaCosse can continue to develop his receiving skills and improve as a blocker, he could add a new dimension to the offense having two viable threats at the position. 

Although it’s nice to dream and project, the reality is that he is still an un-drafted rookie who only caught 38 passes during his entire career at Illinois, however, the Giants have a great record of making hero’s from un-drafted players.  LaCosse can make this team and contribute…just ask the Super Bowl winning Tight End, Jake Ballard.