One could argue the Tight End position is the most underrated in football. Rob Gronkowski and Travis Kelce helped their respective teams form dynasties with a rare dynamic: being too fast for linebackers, and too big for secondary players.

The history of the New York Giants exemplifies this. Mark Bavaro was a tough All-Pro caliber player during the Giants first two Super Bowl runs. Jeremy Shockey was a dynamic mismatch for defenses one of Eli Manning’s most reliable weapons early on. In both Super Bowl 42 and 46, Giants tight ends Kevin Boss and Jake Ballard made unprecedented steps forward to help make an impact on offense during their championship runs (Kevin Boss had the longest offensive play in Super Bowl 42).

However, the Giants have been missing this element in their offense for a long time. Darren Waller has been a major disappointment, and Jake Bellinger has not developed into much of an impact player.

The Theo Digits:

With the 107th pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, the New York Giants selected Theo Johnson, a tight end out of Penn State. Theo is originally from Canada and went to high school in Ontario. At a height of 6’6, and weighing in at 259 lbs, Theo has a near perfect size for a tight end. His 40 yard dash time is 4.59, which is faster than both Gronkowski and Kelce’s combine times. Theo’s athletic ability is likely his most eye-opening trait. He exceled at the combine in multiple measurables.

Based on the Relative Athletic Score, he has the 9th best athletic profile amongst tight ends since 1987.

On the field, he is notably talented in three areas: cross routes, flat routes in the red zone, and screen plays. All three of these are areas of struggle for the Giants. Much of his production came from cross routes, including impressive plays against Utah and Michigan that led to touchdowns this past season. For screen plays, not only is he very good at making screen plays happen when he has the ball, he also is great at blocking and setting up screen plays for other players. Lastly, he has had some highlights in the red zone and on the goal line in flat routes where he catches the ball in the flats and extends over the goal line. Theo Johnson has displayed tremendous potential at Penn State.

Needs Improvement:

Areas of weakness for Theo include a lack of productivity and poor blocking. He only topped 50 yards five times while at Penn State. While he racked up 7 touchdowns, he only had 341 total yards in receiving. For comparison, Kelce had 722 yards at Cincinnati in his senior year, while Gronkowski had 1146 yards in his last year at Arizona. It would be ideal if he was a greater contributor to Penn State’s offensive production in 2023.

Additionally, his blocking is not great. While it is not important for tight ends to be elite blockers, they need to be able to hold blocks for several seconds and not be revolving doors.

Despite these negatives, Theo has potential to be a great NFL tight end. His lack of productivity could be a of Penn State’s offensive scheme and play calling, and not due to an inability for Theo to get open or catch balls.

Time will tell how good of a tight end he becomes for the Giants. But Giants fans have good reason to be excited about this pick.

My grade for the pick: considering the round he was taken and how he can address areas of weakness for the Giants I give it an A-.