The 2014 NFL Draft is fast approaching and on the minds of most New York Giants fans is the need to address one position and one position only: tight end.
With the Brandon Myers experiment going down as an epic failure and only a mediocre blocking tight end in Kellen Davis added through free agency thus far, the need at the position is unmistakable. Though the G-Men have four tight ends on the roster (Davis, Adrien Robinson, Larry Donnell, Daniel Fells), none appear to be starter quality.
As a result, a large portion of mock drafts have top tight end prospect Eric Ebron tabbed to the Giants in the first round at No. 12. The fit’s a fantastic one. The athletic freak is cut in the mold of Vernon Davis and would seemingly be a perfect candidate for Ben McAdoo’s new offense.
But what if the Giants look to go elsewhere in the first round? Or Ebron is gone before they’re slated to pick? Top prospects like defensive tackle Aaron Donald and offensive linemen Jake Matthews, Taylor Lewan and Zack Martin are all also intriguing possibilities for the Giants. Luckily there’s a mid-round option that may be a better fit with head coach Tom Coughlin that would allow the G-Men to address other needs with greater value in the earlier rounds.
Iowa’s C.J. Fiedorowicz is a guy who is rapidly gaining traction as an interesting and enticing mid-round prospect at the tight end position. The former Hawkeye was not highly productive during his collegiate career, but that had more to do with the offense he played in than his play-making capabilities.
Still, he caught a career-high six touchdowns in 2013 and earned All-Big Ten honors for his efforts. Though he does not possess the rare athleticism Ebron has, Fiedorowicz is actually the most well-rounded tight end in this year’s class. He reminds me a lot of former Giants Kevin Boss and Jake Ballard, as he is just as capable in blocking situations as he is as a receiver down the field.
The 6-foot-5, 265-pound tight end shows soft hands when catching the football and is a surprising threat to make a play down the field with deceptive speed. Fiedorowicz’s hard-working attitude will certainly be a bonus with head coach Tom Coughlin, who has always loved his blue-collar players. Ebron, meanwhile, has a penchant for dropping the football and he seemed far more concerned with showboating at his Pro Day than proving he could catch the football consistently.
Fiedorowicz isn’t flashy like Ebron or Texas Tech’s Jace Amaro, but he may be the draft’s safest bet at the position. He’s a reliable pass catcher with great instincts in pass protection. His instincts as a run blocker could get better, but he would already be an improvement over what the Giants currently have on the roster.
Unlike Myers, Fiedorowicz should be a dependable, sure-handed threat over the middle. He should have no issues excelling regardless of the offense he plays in, and based on his tenure at Iowa, will be happy to do whatever is asked of him. His ceiling as a receiver will never be as high as Ebron’s.
However, Fiedorowicz would offer the G-Men a low-risk option with great potential to develop into one of the better all-around tight ends in the NFL as an integral piece of an offense expected to utilize the tight end often.