Many offenses over the years have had their passing games defined by their tight ends. From Kellen Winslow Jr, to Mark Bavaro, to Shannon Sharpe, to Tony Gonzalez, these tight ends were the face of their respective team's passing game for years.
The Giants' passing game seemed somewhat anemic down the stretch this past season; perhaps a big ticket tight end could provide the spark the team is looking for. Several teams in this upcoming draft seem to be targeting receivers, such as the Jets, the Ravens, the Colts, the Bears, and the Vikings. By the time those teams select, Michael Crabtree and Jeremy Macklin may very well be off the board.
With that in mind, the value at the receiver position just may not be there for the Giants at the 29 slot. On the other hand, Brandon Pettigrew is widely considered the best tight end in the draft, as well as one of the best overall players.
Despite that, his draft stock has not been that high based solely on his position, but his body of work speaks for itself. In 47 games at Oklahoma State, he caught 112 passes for 1,450 yards and nine touchdowns.
Aside from the statistics, Pettigrew is one of the most powerful blockers at his position; he towers at over 6’5”, uses his body very well, and has very soft hands. He could instantly compete in the NFL with his physicality, and team up with Kevin Boss for a very dangerous two tight end set in the red zone, which just happens to be a problem area for the Giants.
Another intriguing option should the Giants go in a different direction in the first round is James Casey out of Rice. He can be had with the Giants' second round pick and possibly their third rounder, but provides great value in those respective spots. In 2008 alone, Casey had 111 catches for 1,329 yards and 17 touchdowns.
He lined up everywhere on the field and provided matchup nightmares for opposing defenses. He is a legitimate down-the-field threat and once again, in a two tight end set, he could help the Giants' run game with the respect he draws from the safety and can provide match up nightmares with safeties and linebackers which will greatly help out Eli Manning.
The Giants' main issue down the stretch this past season was the lack of respect that their receivers merited, and thus an extra safety would come down to the line of scrimmage to stymie the running game. This can be fixed right away with a quick and powerful tight end which can cause teams to go into nickel and dime sets, as well as demand the respect from the safeties that the receivers do not.