The New York Giants have a very solid tight end in Larry Donnell. The tight end position is very important to the West Coast attack that Ben McAdoo is establishing. According to his stat page on ESPN.com, Donnell was targeted 92 times this season. It may behoove the Giants to seek more production from the tight end position. The Giants may want to find a tight end to pair with Donnell in a two tight end offense.
There are several advantages to running a 2 tight end base offense. 12 personnel (1 back, 2 TE) is a very flexible personnel package. With two tight ends on the field, you can line up in just about any formation. You can have your tight ends on opposite sides of the line of scrimmage, have one flexed out in the slot or one in the backfield.
The tight end has become what a Queen is on a chess board, the position that can be moved any way you want. This is why a 12 personnel base offense is so effective and why it marries so well with the no huddle offense. Keeping the same players on the field, you can quickly line up in a bevy of different looks and dictate matchups across the board.
I think a no huddle offense behooves Eli, he seems to be better when he just plays and is spared the overthinking and time process of the huddle (Though my disdain for the huddle in the modern age of football is another article entirely).
There are a couple more bullet points to drive through before we begin looking for Donnell’s partner in crime at the tight end position. The tight end is really an interesting position because its a hybrid role. The tight end is often asked to block like a tackle but also goes out to catch passes. The tight end is too big for defensive backs and too quick for linebackers.
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12 personnel gives the options of 5-8 man protections, which can come in handy for a team that struggles in pass protection. There are so many experiments with unbalanced offensive lines that can be explored with two tight ends (a great way to enhance the run game).
The tight ends often become reliable inside targets for their quarterback which frees up some room for the receivers on the outside.
Now we have to find another tight end. We have the traditional tight end in Donnell, now lets find a versatile and dynamic second tight end. Free agency is a great way to fill little pieces of the puzzle. While it would be exciting to grab a big name like Julius Thomas from the Denver Broncos, the Giants don’t need to break the bank.
A few sensible options that would work well with the Giants could be in Charles Clay, Zach Miller or Virgil Green. If the Giants wanted to spend a bit more (which is not necessary) they could go after Jermaine Gresham or Jordan Cameron.
Clay would be my first choice. With the Miami Dolphins, he has become a jack of all trades. The Dolphins have lined him up all over the place and he has produced. He had 127 receptions in the past two seasons and is an accomplished blocker as well.
Miller is a reliable veteran and because he is a little older (30) he may come at a better bargain. Green is more of a blocker but has receiving ability. The 2015 NFL Draft is another route the Giants could take to help fill this role. A decent number two tight end can be found in the middle rounds of the draft and would pay dividends for the Giants in the future.