Why the NY Giants’ rebuild is further along than the Jets’

NY Giants vs NY Jets(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
NY Giants vs NY Jets(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) /
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NY Giants
Evan Engram (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

Tight Ends

The NY Giants have the advantage of having one of the best tight ends in the National Football League when Evan Engram is healthy. Unfortunately, health has been a concern for the young tight end since the 25-year-old was drafted in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft by the GMEN.

During his three year career, Engram has played in a total of 34 games. Despite missing such a large chunk of time, Engram has been able to average 4.5 catches per game for just under 52 yards per game.

Engram presents a major matchup issue for opposing defenses, mainly because of his elite speed. He posted an official time of 4.42 seconds in the 2017 NFL Combine. In addition to his excellent speed, he also has great hands and solid route running abilities but struggles at blocking due to his smaller 6’3″ 235-pound stature.

Due in part to the injury to Engram last season, the NY Giants were in need of depth at tight end and claimed San Francisco 49ers rookie Kaden Smith off of waivers. The 23-year-old Smith showed promise for New York, catching 31 passes for 268 yards and three touchdowns in just six games. At 6’5″ and 250-pounds, Smith possesses solid pass-catching and blocking skills.

After veteran Rhett Ellison retired following the 2019 season, Big Blue was in need of a blocking tight end. They were able to address that need in a big way by signing the gargantuan 6’8″ and 270-pound Levine Toilolo. The 28-year-old provided solid blocking for both the Atlanta Falcons and 49ers prior to signing a two-year $6.2 million deal with the NY Giants.

The Jets felt the found a steal in the fourth round of the 2018 NFL Draft when they selected Christopher Herndon out of the University of Miami.

In 2018, he would have 39 receptions for 502 yards and four touchdowns as a rookie. However, the 24-year-old would deal with injuries that kept him out until the Giants game, where he suffered a season-ending injury that limited him to one catch and seven yards on the season.

Veteran tight end Ryan Griffin filled in admirably for the injured Herndon last season. In 13 games, the 30-year-old would catch 34 passes for 320 yards and five touchdowns. It was his best season since 2016, where he had 50 receptions for 442 yards and two touchdowns for the Houston Texans, who drafted him in the sixth round of the 2013 draft.

Advantage: NY Giants

The NY Giants have the advantage due to the elite abilities of Engram when healthy, the ability of Smith (who is seven years younger than Griffin) to be a solid backup, and the excellent blocking skills of Toilolo.

Herndon could still materialize into a very productive tight end for the Jets. However, the fact that Engram is easily a top-5 caliber tight end when healthy, tips the scales in favor of the Giants at the tight end position.