With the exception of a solid all-around season by Martellus Bennett 2012, there's not been much to write home about when it comes to the New York Giants and their tight ends in recent years. It's for that reason the level of concern at the position is at an all-time high entering 2014 — a level of concern that was essentially topped off when the team decided to forego drafting a tight end in the NFL Draft.
But, perhaps, there's a light at the end of the tunnel.
In addition to the arrival of USC tight end Xavier Grimble, who signed as an undrafted rookie free agent (UDFA), Big Blue does also have 2012 fourth-round pick Adrien Robinson — once dubbed the "JPP of tight ends" — on their roster. And after a shaky start to his career, the matured Robinson now seems to grasp what it takes to succeed at the next level and is approaching 2014 as if it's his last chance to make a serious impact.
"It's just a huge opportunity. They laid a huge opportunity in front of me. I just have to go take it, make the most of it," Robinson said. "I do feel that pressure. I know it's my third year. Like you said, 'it's now or never.' That is my mentality that I'm taking every day."
Robinson admits he's made some mistakes early in his career, most notably not going the extra mile when he's away from the team. He also admitted he let his weight get a bit out of control, ballooning up to 285 lbs. last year before, ultimately, being lost for the season due to injury. But he's now back down to 270 with a goal set at 265, and he's hoping his new attitude towards health and success will yield results on the field.
"I wasn't working out as much myself off the field, doing extra stuff. So my weight went up," he said. "Getting older and stuff, now it's something I have to focus on."
However, Robinson isn't the only one eyeing the starting job at tight end. The aforementioned Xavier Grimble has come in with a chip on his shoulder, ready to prove to all 31 other NFL teams that they made a mistake in passing him up.
"While I was at USC, I think that was one thing we always focused on, was being an all-around tight end, which seems to be sometimes lost in the game," Grimble said. "I want to be the guy who can block and catch passes, have an all-around game."
Grimble added that he has always been coached "if you don't block, you don't play" — something that is certain to make head coach Tom Coughlin a happy man.
With any luck, these two will push each other and the remaining tight ends on the roster to perform well above early expectations.
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