For as impressive of a haul the Giants have made so far in free agency, the position they have yet to address is perhaps one of the most glaring: tight end.
With the exception of Jimmy Graham (New Orleans) and Dennis Pitta (Baltimore), both of whom were kept away from the market, the veteran free-agent tight end class really wasn’t overwhelming.
Some veterans who remain on the market include Owen Daniel, who was cut by the Texans, Baltimore’s Ed Dickson, Green Bay’s Jermichael Finley and Carolina’s Ben Hartsock.
Of that group, Finley might be the most appealing, but there remain questions as to when he’ll be cleared to return following the neck surgery he had last year.
While a majority of Giants fans would probably rejoice if North Carolina's Eric Ebron landed with the Giants, that would probably have to happen in Round 1, a scenario I don’t think happens given the unsettled state of the offensive line.
Instead, the Giants will look at getting a tight end on the second day of the draft; a prospect they might be eyeing is Notre Dame’s Troy Niklas (6’6”, 270 pounds).
As I noted in my most recent mock draft (which has since been blown to smithereens thanks to the team’s free agency activity), Niklas has exceptional size for the position and, per NFL Draft Scout, has experience playing multiple roles.
If new Giants offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo is looking for versatility, Niklas, a former defensive player and nephew of Hall of Fame offensive lineman Bruce Matthews, would be a perfect fit given his ability to fight and win many of his one-on-one matchups.
Another Irish prospect that could fit the Giants is offensive lineman Zack Martin (6’4”, 308 pounds), who lined up at left tackle in college but projects to left guard in the NFL.
Although the Giants signed Geoff Schwartz to fill the left guard spot, as I previously noted, the offensive line is far from being settled.
While there is optimism left tackle Will Beatty “should be ready” for the start of training camp (per Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News), that remains to be seen.
If Beatty is not ready, the Giants will need to move their line around. A likely scenario could see Justin Pugh sliding over to left tackle, a position he played at Syracuse, and Schwartz moving to right tackle, a position he played for the Panthers during the 2009 season.
If the Giants were to grab Martin, who appears to have the tools to be a Day 1 NFL starter, he would probably project to that left guard spot.
If Beatty turns out to be ready, the selection of Martin would be a nice fallback plan should right guard Chris Snee’s comeback attempt fall short. In that instance, Schwartz could move to right guard with Martin still stepping in at left guard.