NY Giants: GM Jerry Reese Options on TE in the 2017 Draft

By Michael Stewart

Round 1

TE-O.J Howard-6’6/249 (Alabama): It’s understandable to be overlooked at Alabama with all the talented players on both sides of the ball. However, TE O.J Howard is slowly catching the eye of many NFL teams as a possible 1st round selection. His career stats will not blow you away as he was not featured as much as other players were. However the 6’5/250 TE showcased enough ability and talent to warrant another look. Howard is an explosive athlete with breakaway speed, lateral agility and balance and is projected to be a tight end/hybrid slot receiver (similar to the way that the Seattle Seahawks featured former All-Pro Jimmy Graham).

TE-David Njoku-06’4/245 (Miami): Njoku had 43 catches for 698 yards and 8 TDS and would have had better numbers if Miami s QB Brad Kaaya was more consistent.  Njoku could be the best of the TE’s in this draft, despite O.J Howard getting all the ink. Njoku has the potential be a receiving threat in the NFL and also a solid run blocker.

Round 2

TE-Gerald Everett-6’4/240 (S. Alabama): Everett recorded 43 catches for 648 yards with 4 TDS in 2016. Many scouts have compared him to Redskins TE Jordan Reed. South Alabama plays under the radar in the state of Alabama with the Tide understandably getting all the headlines. However; make no mistake that Everett is the real deal and could be every bit as good as O.J Howard.

 TE-Evan Engram-6’3/235 (Ole Miss):  Engram showcased himself well in 2016 with excellent games against top competition (Florida State and Alabama). He caught 65 passes for 926 yards and 8 TDS. Engram is more of a big WR than a small TE and that is how the team who drafts him should use him. He is fast and runs great routes, but lacks as a blocker. In the situation and setting (New England or Atlanta as examples), Engram would excel at the NFL level.

Round 3

TE-Jordan Leggett-6’5/250 (Clemson): Leggett had solid numbers in 2016 (46 rec/736 yards/7 TDS) as the third offensive option on the National Champions Clemson Tigers. Leggett looks the part and has the ability be a 3-down TE in the NFL as he can block equally as well as catching the ball.

TE-Adam Shaheen-6’6/277 (Ashland):   Shaheen draft stock is on the rise as Scouts have compared him to All-Pro TE Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots.  His rare combination of size and speed to go along with his freakish athleticism; makes Shaheen a very intriguing prospect. Shaheen could be a versatile tight end to create mismatches in the passing game. Shaheen caught 57 passes for 867 yards with 16 touchdowns in 2016.

Round 4

TE-Jake Butt-6’6/248 (Michigan): Butt finished the 2016 season with 46 rec/546 yards/4 TDS as the 3rd option offensive target in Michigan. As a 4th round projection currently, Butt could be a steal in this year draft as he is solid receiver and blocker in the Michigan pro-style offense. His transition into the NFL should be easier than most TE’s in this draft because of the offense style in Michigan.

TE-Bucky Hodges-6’7/245 (Virginia Tech): Hodges had 48 rec/691 yards/7 TDs in 2016 and was a terror in the red zone for Virginia Tech. At 6’7, Hodges could easily put 15-20 on without losing his effectiveness as a receiver. The added weight will help develop into a better blocker; which is only reason why he isn’t considered the top TE in this draft. Many scouts have gone as far as to compare Hodges to NFL TE Jimmy Graham.

Round 5

TE-Cole Hikutini-6’5/248 (Louisville): Hikutini amassed 49 catches/656 yards and 8 TDS on a team that featured around QB Lamar Jackson for the most part. Hikutini is not known for his blocking, so that needs to improve as he develops as an NFL TE. However; all of the ingredients are there for Hikutini to be a serious weapon anytime on the field.

TE-Jeremy Sprinkle-6’6/255 (Arkansas): Sprinkle caught 33 passes for 380 yards and 4 TDS on a team that rarely utilized his talents. Sprinkle is an ideal prospect that could be a sleeper as he goes all the little things well. Sprinkle will never be mistaken as a flashy and dynamic TE, however; he has the potential to be a solid starting TE in the NFL for many years with the right team.

Round 6

TE-Sean Culkin-6’6/250 (Missouri): Culkin is a beast when it comes to blocking and has shown some flashes of his receiving abilities with 24 catches for 282 yards in 2016. Many scouts believe he will improve offensively and become a reliable TE at the NFL level.

 TE-Tyrone Swoopes-6’4/249 (Texas Tech): Swoopes is relatively new at playing TE as he was a QB at Texas. Many scouts do view him as a TE in the NFL as they believe he is athletic enough to pull it off.  Swoopes has great hands and runs well for his size, however; he needs to be more physical as a run blocker.

Round 7

TE-Pharaoh Brown-6’6/250 (Oregon): Brown missed some time in 2016; which could push him into the 6th or 7th round. His 33 receptions and 426 yards with 5 TDS is not too shabby for his limited play. Brown has deceptive speed and good size and looks the part. Brown could be another sleeper if he can stay healthy.

 TE-Josiah Price-6’4/252 (Michigan State): Price was rarely featured as their primary target offensive at Michigan State as he only had 38 catches for 387 yards and 5 TDS. However; he is an exceptional blocker and many scouts believe that he is better as a receiver than his stats indicate.

Final Thoughts:  Many mock drafts has the Giants selecting a TE in the 1st round; which would totally contradict GM Jerry Reese draft history as the Giants GM (earliest TE drafted was in 2009, Travis Beckum). Despite the possibility of O.J Howard and David Njoku being available when the Giants select; I still see GM Jerry Reese keeping with tradition and filling a need at another position. Also the recent resigning of TE Rhett Ellison (4 years) and having Will Tye, Matt LaCosse and Jerell Adams all under contract would also support my case that a TE will not be drafted by the Giants this year.