With the NFL Draft still 26 days away, the New York Giants have had a frenzied off-season thus far. Free agent signings on both sides of the ball have added depth to high-priority positions, including tight end.
Although the recent signing of Kellen Davis, a six-year NFL veteran, adds some brawn to the current roster, the Giants may still look to draft a young tight end. However, they may not look to do so until after the first round.
This year’s draft class holds a plethora of talent at this position, with big names like Eric Ebron most likely leaving the board in the first round. Among the names that are projected to come off the board in the second round is Troy Niklas, the former defensive end/outside linebacker out of Notre Dame.
Although he has only been playing tight end for the past two seasons, he has quickly shown his potential value for a team like the Giants. Niklas started working in the tight end position during his sophomore year, but spent much of his time in the shadows of Tyler Eifert (the Cincinnati Bengal’s first round pick in 2013).
As a second target in most instances, Niklas was mainly a blocking specialist. Paired with his experience on the defensive side of things, this makes for an extremely physical presence. Not to mention his size, standing at an impressive 6’7 and weighing 270 pounds, and aggressiveness.
However, his statistics in his only season as a starter show that he can also develop into a receiving tight end. In 2013, Niklas started all 13 games for Notre Dame, and had 32 catches for 498 yards, and five touchdowns. He was ranked third in receiving on the team.
Although he has been criticized for his underdeveloped route-running skills, as well as his raw and rugged type of athleticism, Niklas could be a promising choice for the Giants in the second or third round.
His ability to block, and catch, make him the kind of complete tight end the team needs to further their depth at the position heading into the 2014 season.
Alexis Celluro | Featured Columnist