The New York Giants have always prided themselves on being a blue-collar football team. While their passing game posted historic numbers in 2011 under quarterback Eli Manning, the team finished dead last in rushing and that is something Tom Coughlin and Jerry Reese will absolutely look to change.
Part of the struggles of the offensive rushing attack come from a flux at the tight end position. The team added former Dallas Cowboys TE Martellus Bennett who is expected to grab a starting job, but fact remains that behind him, Jake Ballard and Travis Beckum might not become available until mid season … if at all.
This brings us to the NFL Draft. Despite being considered a "need," don't expect the Giants to invest in a tight end early on in the draft. Guys like Stanford tight end Coby Fleener or Clemson's Dwayne Allen represent the "sexier" options early on, but LSU tight end Deangelo Peterson might be worth a look for a team looking for blue collar guys in a late round.
Peterson was primarily a blocking tight end at LSU, as they were a run-first team. He stands at 6'3" 243 and was a three-year starter at LSU for Les Miles. He is a fine blocker who would not have maintained his starting role in LSU's offense if he did not excel at that.
Fact is, quarterbacking and offensive philosophy held his receiving game back a bit at LSU, and his career high in receptions in only 18. He and his old coaches believe there is more behind that though.
“I think I’m an unbelievable route runner,” Peterson said. “I think I can catch the ball. I think I can do the same thing they’re doing.”
Those are traits his high school coach, Mickey Joseph, saw early.
“Good hands and he ran good routes,” said Joseph, now the head coach at Langston University in Oklahoma. “It just happened that LSU asked him to do something for the team and the kid did it for team. I think when they work him out and they put him outside, they’re going to see he can play outside.”
Ironically enough, one of his "old coaches" just happens to be Lunda Wells, formerly an assistant offensive coach with LSU and now a quality control coach for the Giants.
If Peterson has the skills to be an NFL tight end, no one knows that better than Wells. With scouts as thorough as the Giants, they will look into a guy like Peterson who could potentially represent incredible value in a late round at a position of need.
Behind Bennett, the Giants would need a guy who has a blocking mentality anyway. If Peterson can't pick up the passing game out of the gate, he still has a role.And roles are important for the Giants. Late round picks like Tyler Sash and Jacquian Williams were brought in to play roles in their rookie season and thrived despite being late round selections.
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