After losing tight ends Jake Ballard and Travis Beckum due to injury, the New York Giants immediately addressed that need in free agency by signing former Dallas Cowboys tight end Martellus Bennett to a one-year deal. However, the long-term situation at tight end is very much up in the air. Ballard has had both knees injured during his career and is an unknown moving forward. Beckum showed flashes of what he is capable of last season but has never lived up to expectations. It is likely the Giants will draft a tight end to compete for a job with Christian Hopkins and Bear Pascoe.
The best fit, in my opinion, is Michael Egnew from Missouri. Egnew is a pretty large man at 6-6, 250 pounds. He will probably need to add some weight to adapt to blocking in the NFL but his frame can certainly take on that extra weight, especially in the legs where he is small. Egnew is a natural receiver, using his soft hands to haul in passes away from his frame. In 2010 he caught 90 passes for 762 yards and last season caught 50 balls for 523 yards. He runs his routes precisely and uses his speed (4.62 40-yard dash) to get past the linebackers and into open field beyond. He doesn’t possess elite speed for the position but he certainly matches up well against many linebackers and can make something happen after he makes the catch. His height should make him a nice target in the red zone for quarterback Eli Manning and he isn’t afraid to cross over the middle of the field.
Because of the style of offense Missouri ran Egnew was seldom asked to line up as an inline tight end so there isn’t much knowledge out there about how he could handle blocking from that position. His lower half is skinny compared to other tight ends so he might not ever become a dual purpose tight end who can catch and block on the line of scrimmage.
Egnew might not be in the class of Coby Fleener from Stanford or Dwayne Allen from Clemson but he is certainly one of the better pass-catching tight ends in this draft and he could be available in the third or fourth round for the Giants. Fleener and Allen could be gone by the time the Giants pick in the second or third round so Egnew might be the best available tight end in the draft when the Giants decide to address this need and he isn’t such a bad consolation prize.